My name is Delia and I arrived in the US on November 12, 1992 from the Philippines. There was a US consulting company who interviewed IT professionals and when they like you enough, they offer you a working visa. The deal was they’ll first find you a job in US and once the job offer is made, they’ll send for a plane ticket. But me, as soon as I got my working visa, I didn’t wait for them to send me a plane ticket. I sold some stock options and bought my own.
My first impression of the US wasn’t so great. I looked around, I said to myself, “This is America? Why, all their trees are dead!”
A week after I arrived, I got the job offer. So, the problem was this company that I was to be working for was located in the suburbs in New Jersey. All my friends were working in Manhattan. So now I had no place to stay. Luckily, my friend knew somebody--a Filipino family who had an extra room. Their son was away in college, so I rented out his room. Now, my next problem was this town didn’t have any form of public transportation. So, my landlord had to drive me everyday and when I had to work overtime, my boss drove me home.
So, within two months I had to learn how to drive and I bought myself a used car. I was a new driver in a winter of about seventeen snowstorms. And because I was so nervous, I drove to work early in the morning, like six o’clock in the morning, and I leave from work around eight o’clock at night just to avoid traffic. The first time it snowed, I didn’t even own a snow brush or a shovel.
One other thing I remember from my first week in the US was when I went to the store, examining each coin before handing them to the sales clerk. She was looking at me funny and when she said, “You still owe me a nickel,” I just stared at her. I didn’t know what she was talking about.
During the first year here, I spent most of my holidays with my brother and his family and his friends. And on long weekends, I spent it with my friends and we traveled a lot. We visited most of the tourist spots in DC and then we went to Disney. We went to Niagara Falls and a lot of touristy things in New York.
Now fast forward twenty plus years later, I still live in the suburbs of New Jersey. I’m now happily married with two daughters. I now enjoy all the four seasons. I don’t use coins anymore to pay; I use plastic. I don’t travel as much, but I’m home.