My Stateside Stories part one

AFTER TWO WEEKS OF LIVING in Uncle Sam’s land, I started to think seriously the impacts of economic recession in my daily lives especially in my future professional world.  The financial crisis affected the market at the middle of 2008 worldwide and that time I was still on my critical stage of my thesis. Actually, my research topic’s findings/results somehow affected by this recession considering that my study focused on property market/urban regeneration which is the primarily sector that directly crashed by this economic crunch.

I’m not saying that I don’t care about the consequences of this economic downturn, but looking back then, the crisis did not change my outlook in life. It is because I still have the resources to support my lifestyle and family back in the Philippines. But later on towards 2009, I started to feel that my savings are draining.  Being optimistic, I decided to renew my residency in the UK towards my submission of my thesis despite the fact that I need to do part-time work to support myself considering that my scholarship grant ended at the last quarter of 2008. Even though I was tutoring some classes at the university and working part-time in a food chain, it was not enough to pay for my house rent, food and other bills from my trips. Having generous Irish friends, I survived for another year and then two weeks ago, I left Northern Ireland for a while! It was the hardest decision not to renew my residency and flew to America – undecided what to do, except that I want to refocus and concentrate with my thesis revision and hopefully submit it before October 2010.

IM VERY CONFIDENT THAT GOD HAS PLANS FOR ME and He allowed me to come in the US. I’m very sure that He wanted me to think and feel seriously the economic crunch which has a direct influence to my future professional career as well as my financial commitments.  God loves me by providing all the resources and means to live comfortably abroad despite the fact I don’t have a regular work as an international postgrad student.  It is easy for me to travel from one place to another and even now taking a long vacation here in the States. God also helps my cousin to establish herself as a nurse and this is the reason why I don’t have a problem during my visit. God prepares everything for me, and the only thing I will only do is to finish my thesis; consequently find a permanent job elsewhere (Asia/Australia is my preference at the moment). One thing more, it is the right time to know HIM better –learn His words and teachings!

HONESTLY DESPITE THIS TRUST ON HIM, I still have fears and doubts in my decision to visit the States. Maybe for most of us Pinoys, our ultimate dream is to visit/and work abroad to support our families. I am sure you will not believe that I don’t want to work/live permanently abroad and I still prefer to go back to Pinas for good!  This is not my first visit to the US but it seems that this place is not for me.  I feel that I can use my potentials and can enjoy life somewhere. I don’t know but with the encouragements from my generous cousin, I will try my luck and explore all the possibilities/opportunities that God will lay down before my eyes! I starting to believe from Rick Warren’s book that the pursuit of happiness is not what life is about.

I don’t have any difficulty adjusting with the present stateside environment. There are things that I could still do and there are new things to replace the things that I used to do while in the UK. Again, back to the impacts of the economic recession, I’ve noticed that it is MORE EXPENSIVE to live in the States right now than back in Northern Ireland. Why? I do briefly explain to you, including the things that I enjoy doing most at the moment.

I’m a movie fanatic and going to watch films is always in my list. Together with friends, last weekend I watched the third sequel of the Twilight saga, Eclipse for $10 – equivalent to 6.70 sterling pounds or 447 Philippine pesos! Wow, it is expensive because back in Belfast, there is a crazy Tuesdays for 3.50 sterling pounds ($5.25) or 352 Philippine pesos. You see what I mean – almost twice is the cost of watching a film! For regular showing in Northern Ireland, it costs 5.5 sterling pounds, which is $8.25. It seems that I need to control myself watching films now.  Sorry, but I can’t help myself, there is another film coming where Nicolas Cage is the main cast – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice! 

During my first visit to the grocery shop, I already doubted that my $20 in my pocket is not enough to buy my initial supply for the week. Well, my cousin has already left some food for me while they are away for almost two months. For example, I love to eat mushrooms and it is only 1.00 sterling pound per pack in Tesco (UK) but here at Ralps its $2.99 (1.99 sterling pounds), almost 2X higher! With the present prices of commodities, it did not hinder me to cook my favourite Filipino dishes: adobo, binagoongan, pansit at sinigang.

Finally, I was disappointed to find out that pocket books are VERY expensive. I love to read so acquiring books is always in my priority list. I only brought one book (Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones) from UK thinking that it will provide me extra enjoyment during my first month stay, but for less than a week I already finished reading it. With a recommendation from a couple who seated besides me on the plane, I thought of buying the novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Surprisingly, I couldn’t believe that it is $14.99 (paperback) which is almost 10 sterling pounds! Paperbacks normally tag between 4-8 sterling pounds in the UK, and TESCO offers good deals – 4 sterling pounds or 7 sterling pounds for two copies!

I do check regularly with Amazon before buying and usually the price online is quite cheaper (inclusive with postage/delivery) than the bookstores/stands, not to mention the used ones offered by private dealers. In short, I did not buy the book but bought the Kindle e-book version of it from Amazon. This is my first time to purchase a bookseller e-book version, even though that I already collected some e-books copies free of charge from various networking sites. I did not know that Amazon offers e-books that can be read in an ordinary PC/laptop without any e-reader gadgets. You only download the free software from the site itself and it will do the rest. So for the Art of Racing in the Rain, Amazon charged me $6.15 (4.15 sterling pounds).  Ebooks might be the alternative solution to save some extra dollars considering that I will not pack these books and paying thousand pesos to send them by balikbayan boxes to Pinas.

Aside from this e-book copy, I borrowed some books from my cousin’s friend including the inspirational and life-changing book of Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life. Actually, I got my personal copy from my cousin when I visited the US four years ago. But that time I was not ready to discover Warren’s charisma to inspire millions of people around the world about the true essence of living. Maybe, this is timely now to find out why this book is considered as a priceless gift for everyone who wants to know the purpose of their lives and fulfil their own destiny. I will try to come-up with a journal about my personal discoveries and hopefully be able to  inspire other people to embrace the greatness of God!

SO THERE, THIS IS THE FIRST PART of my stateside stories… more interesting events will follow – from my second encounter with the senior citizens inside a care home to my personal struggle to sit down and face my ultimate challenge – revise my thesis! And of course, with the help of my digital cameras, I will tell you exciting stories about my adventures in exploring more stateside areas and meeting kababayans (especially high school friends and relatives) and visiting my favourite clothing shops. Watch out for my first-ever stateside TV interview (not sure yet if the producer will be inspired about my personal life)!

~ by reymos on July 14, 2010.

One Response to “My Stateside Stories part one”

  1. hopefully this chapter in your life would work for the good, finishing your thesis and moving on to greater and bigger things. Times have changed since the financial crisis of 2007 and now threats from Europe – the instability of Greece and Spain is trying to stall the recovery. You seem to be steadfast in your faith and that’s great for you will surely reach the goals you have been praying for 🙂

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