It's A Hard-Knock Life.
Lucy Bayubay, Philippines
Interviewed by Tiffany Bayubay
"If living in the Philippines was tough for me, I assumed that America would be more tougher."
Everyone experiences something difficult once in their lifetime. Well for me it was already difficult at a young age. By the time I was 10, I already had a job. We had a family business that belonged to my grandfather. This business involved plenty of fish because the town I grew up in [Navotas, San Roque, Philippines] was always surrounded by fish. Sometimes two trucks would be carrying fish and it would always cause a scene in the town because the people would always steal the fish for their lunch and dinner. I’d be working all day and end up being exhausted by the end of the day. So I didn’t have a normal childhood unlike the rest.
During my childhood, I was always surrounded by my family. I have a big family, I grew up with four sisters and one brother. All my sisters have a different personality but for my brother, he stood out from the rest. He would always do the family’s errands even if my sisters and I couldn’t do them just because he was the only boy. What I loved about my childhood was school, I loved school, it was really inviting, I thought of it as the most interesting part in life. Since school was such a huge impact on me, my ambition in life was to become a great journalist. But my parents told me that they didn’t want me to take that course because my mother said no money was coming from that job, and money was such an issue back then. So I never became a journalist, even though it was my life goal. What I didn’t know was, my life in America had big plans for me.
Now immigrants always struggled moving to America because everything was different. It was hard for me because for one thing, I missed my friends especially my boyfriend at that time. I got home sick and I told my mother I wanted to go back to the Philippines but unfortunately the company I was working for in the states didn’t want me to. My only opportunity to go back was only visiting them for a short period of time. My thought of America was that it’s easy to earn money unlike the Philippines because America had plenty of jobs to apply for. I worried a lot about getting my first job in America because I thought I was going to have to wait for a long time waiting for a job opening but I was very fortunate I got the job on my first month in the states. Now I’ve been living in the states for over 30 years now, and living here in America has introduced a new life to me.
Since living a new life in America was difficult for the first few months, I was excited for new things to come, like finding love. I’ve met my husband through a friend and she asked me if she could refer me to Lito [my husband]. I thought it was alright since I was waiting for that one special person to show up in my life. Lito would always call me and we would spend hours on the phone just talking and then he would take me to dinner and he began courting me. After one year of dating we both decided to get married. Finding that right person took half my life but after 44 years of searching I was finally blessed with one daughter named "Tiffany", who is the only child we have together. I was at a late age of having a child and it scared me because my doctor told me that it was very risky to have child at that age, they had told me that my child could be born with disabilities and it was scary experience I had to go through but luckily my daughter was born with no bad conditions. I am currently 59 years old and since I was so worried of finding a job in America, I am now working as the head cook at Atria Daly City which is a job that involves doing the menus, supervising, and calling orders. Cooking is one of my passions so I’m happy one of my hobbies is included in my job. I’ve found America different from the Philippines but there was never something wrong living a new life.
The Philippines was completely different than America, but similar things happened here and over there. If living in the Philippines was tough for me, I assumed that America would be more tougher. But I realized that half my struggles and some of my best moments occurred in both places. There is no place that is plain easy or difficult for anyone, and I’ve learned to realize that living in two different countries. From my personal experience, I’d have to say that I would love to turn back into time but the life I’m living in right now would never be the same.