What brought me to New York

Degani F.A. has stirred a lot of inspiration in my mind to write about things I had put in the backburner. 

In June this year, I would’ve been in the United States for 5 years now.  I came to the United States under a K-1 or Fiancee visa.  Alan and I were hoping I could join him on a tourist visa, but with the tendency to see more denials than approvals, we couldn’t take the chance.  A denial for a visa applications means you can only apply again after another 6 months.  We found ourselves deeply in love and being 10,000 miles apart was torture on a relationship we felt was for keeps.

So after renewing ties on September of 1999, we decided in December of that year we would get married.  Alan filed for the visa petition and brought his family home in February 2000 to do the “pamanhikan” which is the traditional way for a man to ask for a woman’s hand in marraige. 

Our petition was approved by March 22, and my interview with the US Embassy in Manila was set for May.  After undergoing the required physical exams and filing all the additional paperwork, I underwent my interview towards the end of May and left for New York on June 29.  As required by the United States, we had to get married within 90 days from my arrival.  On August 19, we said I do — not even a year to the date Alan walked into my life anew.

I’m sure a lot of people will say that I had gambled a lot in terms of turning my back on my life as I knew it in Manila — but I know that to win big, you have to gamble big.  That was what Alan was saying.  He has had his share of bad breaks in the heart department and had felt that for a change, he saw something different in what we shared together. 

I had prayed a lot before making my decision, and in the end, I felt that God had made it clear to me that this was the one for me.  I wanted to be sure but after so many affirmations, I knew the answer to my prayer was to follow my heart.

I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since I made that leap of faith.  I am the perpetual tourist in this country which I have come to consider my home now.  After all, don’t they say home is where the heart is?  That is the reason why I’m here in New York, next to the man I knew I wanted to grow old with and spend the rest of my life with.

Feedback: This comment will take several posts to answer..

From Degani F.A., posted yesterday, April 30, 2005:

Your blogs about yourself Angel and your family life as an immigrant to the States makes interesting reading and I salute the way you cope with your day to day challenges.
I would like to understand how you managed to enter the States and whether finally your brother got his visa.

I have a son in the States who is still struggling with his visa problems. He has been there for over 4 years now doing odd jobs and not a regular job like what you have. I wonder whether you can give some helpful suggestions.

By the way how is Alan employed your blogs do not speak much about his activities there and how and how much his
earnings come to.

In any case I wish you the best of luck and pray that your life comes easy and active and your son grows up to be a useful active and creative individual aamen

My response:  I had started an online journal before blogs became the “in” thing to do but managed to somehow lose most of those postings about my initial year here in the United States.  I guess I should try and “reconstruct” that part of my journal in order to provide the information requested.

I don’t say much about Alan because this is my blog.  Don’t get me wrong — he is a very big part of my life, and my days are devoted to taking care of him and Angel.  One thing I’m very happy and proud of is the fact that although having Angel has impacted our life profoundly and has brought about so many changes, we continue to remain a couple and our relationship has only become stronger with a son to complete our family.

I can certainly relate to what your son is going through, although I was fortunate to have never been in that situation.  I know of people who are, and his situation is not isolated at all.  Coming from a third world country like the Philippines, I know only too well how thousands yearn to come to the United States and make a new life here, thinking only that the dollar is a stronger currency than most despite it’s weakening in recent years — but forgetting that to live and work here requires more than just a dream in your pocket.

Unlike those people, I never really wanted to live in the United States and had always hoped to visit this great country, but never really imagined I would find myself living here.  Mushy as it may sound, I came to the United States because of love.. now let me save that for another post..

By the way, if you go down a couple of posts, Nikky was denied a visa..

Thank you for writing and please e-mail me if you want to discuss anything outside of what I write here.


Feedback: From Misty

I didn’t mean to pass on this one.. just missed it!

On April 24, Misty wrote: wow, your blog reads like a novel-really. maybe because it sounds so familiar. 🙂 i think you are doing a great job for everyone!ur blog reads like a novel-really. maybe because it sounds so familiar. 🙂 i think you are doing a great job for everyone!

My response:  I just want to be able to chronicle the thoughts in my head and the things happening in my life.  I have found entertainment, wisdom and new perspectives from other people’s blogs as well, and I hope that others similarly situated (be they Pinoy or Pinay like me, a mother, a New Yorker, or just a blogger) will find something that can help them through their day.  I have always enjoyed writing, and this has proven to be a very good means for me to indulge a passion.  I am glad to hear it is helping others.

Proprietary rights over what you read here..

.. belong to me.  I have been inspired and intrigued by the trickle of comments, but one particular comment about the post on Maggie just a few days ago caused me to delete it.  I’m trying to be wholesome with the posts here — and as it is my blog, I reserve the right to delete comments which I believe are demeaning or obscene.  If you see your comment on the sidebar or on the Feedback subcategory with a response, congratulations!  If not, be assured I read them, but perhaps your comment didn’t measure up as worth keeping.  It’s the blogger’s prerogative!

Feedback: I like the photos you post on your blog

The above comment was posted by J.Star last April 30 after I posted the photo of the balls of yarn that I am putting away.

My response:  Thanks for the comment on the pictures.  I’ve been trying to be original as far as the headers and the pictures are concerned.  Unfortunately, I am limited in terms of storage space here so I usually upload the pictures onto another website I have and then link them to this blog.  I have always been picture crazy and have great fun with my digital camera.

I’ve taken practically over 3,000 pictures of Angel in his first year, and from time to time, I try to put in snapshots of the things I see around me.  In Paris alone, I must’ve taken around 300 images! 

I just want to give my posts an added touch — just as I would if it were a journal or scrapbook.  Seeing this comment has actually inspired me to try and do a post on the pictures I take.  You’ll be seeing that soon.

Feedback: Your blog re laduree

Cross posted on pinayfrancophile.blog.com

A comment from a fellow Pinoy:

Just a quick note to let you know I came across your blog and thoroughly enjoyed reading about your experience at Laduree.  Next time, if you really have a craving and don’t want to stand in line forever, try the one on the Rue Royale (close to the one on the Champs Elysees) or the Rue Bonaparte (further away) — there aren’t as many tourists and the selection is equally tempting.  Did you check out any of the other big patisseries — Dalloyau, Cador, and my favorite, Pierre Herme?
Please let me know if you’ve found a place in NY that carries Paris style macaroons!  I’ve been described by some as a pastry fanatic (I guess using pastry shops as landmarks in foreign cities will give you that reputation).  I live in Los Angeles but am in NY quite often.  You would think Payard or Celi-Cela would have them but alas, they don’t.   Which NY patisserie is your favorite?  Have you been to the new one across from Jacques Torres in Brooklyn (Amandine or Almondine … something like that)?
My response: 
Manny —

Thank you so much for taking the time to write.  I saw some other branches of Laduree but had saved it for the last day as I wrote.  And yes, we had tried Dalloyau which was also recommended by some of my husband’s bosses for their chocolate selection, and we
sampled some of the pastries of Pierre Herme which were the featured dessert when we ate at 1726.  A colleague of my husband’s took us to that fantastic restaurant one of the evenings we were there.  He took pains to explain to us that Pierre Herme was one of
the more distinguised pattiseries of Paris, because some of the pastries offered were on branded paper cups.

Unfortunately, I have yet to find Paris-style macaroons even in the French bistros/restaurants here.   I will keep an eye out for them and give you the heads up should I get lucky.  The thing is I keep away from the sweet shops here in New York, so I think I’d learn more from you.  My husband tries to steer me away from the pattiseries and bakeshops, and he only indulged my sweet tooth in Paris because it was Paris.   I will check out the ones you mentioned given the chance, except that I am never in Brooklyn.

Thanks again for taking the time.  If you ever feel like it, tell me more about your favorite spots here in NY.

Feedback: I enjoyed your BLOG! :-)

Here’s a comment I received early April:

Your blog has tempted me to respond briefly.
I was doodling this afternoon, a bit bored, decided to check out blog.com and started to check out the latest additions, and then I found your blog.
It is now in my Favourites.
Now I am wondering if you get many people contacting you to let you know how much they enjoy reading about your life?
I read a book years ago, “The Kitchen God’s Wife” by Amy Tan.  Your blog reminded me of that book.  Amy’s other book “Joy Luck Club” was made into a movie I think.
Anyway, you might find it interesting that someone out in the middle of Australia found your blog and loved it.
I started a few blogs a couple of years ago, but I never really stuck with them.
Vonda from Down Under in Australia
My response:

Thank you so much for writing..=)  It’s just 10:46 AM here in New York (Monday) and you made me smile during an otherwise crazy morning back at work.

You are the second to write me, and it makes me feel good to actually see people reacting or “talking back” to my “blabbering” on line.

I have always enjoyed keeping a journal and actually went into blogging as a means of just finding a channel of expression.  I love to write as you can see.. and I think it helps me see my thoughts more clearly.  It helps me plot where I’m going, and most importantly, it helps me keep my memories around my greatest passion to date vivid: what else?  Motherhood.

Again, thanks for writing and please feel free to do so anytime you feel like it.

Feedback: On Duplo

I received this e-mail in March in response to a post on Duplo, a chocolate brand I picked up in Paris, France:
I was searching for Duplo on-line this am and discovered your blog.  I’m not a chocoholic, but I developed a serious addiction to Duplo during the four years I lived in Germany in the 80’s.  I revisited Germany in the fall (my teen-age son was an exchange student in Muenster) and brought back a suitcase of German yarns for knitting, Knorr products that you can’t get in the states, and DUPLO.
The only store I know in the US that carries Duplo regularly is Parker’s in Savannah, Georgia.  It’s actually a drive-thru gas station and gourmet grocery store/deli combined, only in Savannah!  My daughter is a student at SCAD so I clean out the store when I visit here.  There are a few places on-line you can order, although I haven’t done that, and I think there is a large German store in Texas that carries them.  You have to be careful, however, the shelf-life is short on duplos.  Another thing you can get in Europe that you can’t get here that I really like is lemon white chocolate kit-kat. I’m sure in NY you could probably find Duplo at a gourmet grocery that caters to European tastes.
No what foreign country or US town I’m visiting, I always visit the local grocery stores, prefer that to malls anytime.  But visiting Galleries du Lafayette in (East) Berlin was a real treat since I had not visited Berlin since the Wall came down.  And if you ever get to Berlin, KaDaWe is a must, second only to Harrod’s in size.
Huntsville, Alabama
My response:  Cindy, Thank you so much for sharing this bit of information!  I am so surprised people actually stumble into my site.  I will definitely keep these in mind.  And yes, like you, I prefer to visit the small local stores whenever we visit some new place and I try to see what’s “local” to the area..

A Week Until Angel Turns 1

It was a muggy and wet Saturday in New York today.  Still, Alan and I took advantage of the opportunity to do some errands and get a few things for Angel’s birthday party next week.  I got some crayons for the goody bags and a few small items I can give out as prizes.

My mother-in-law was asking how many people were invited — I’m counting around a dozen to 15 kids, actually.  And around the same number of adults.  It should be a nice small party, yet something special to mark my baby’s first birthday.

He has grown so much I can’t believe it’s been only a year.  He continues to look more and more like his Dad which is just remarkable.  My baby will soon be a year old..