My Story

No I’m not a mail order bride and yes I met my husband in the states.  I like to get this out of the way first because most people assume this when they see an inter-racial marriage or relationship especially between Asians and Caucasians.  I don’t blame people for assuming this because it’s a very common occurrence.

Born and raised in the Philippines, I came to the US with my parents May 2000 alongside my little brother and little sister.  I have 5 other siblings and looking back, I adore our chaotic upbringing.  My oldest brother lives in England with his wife and 3 kids.  My two other siblings still lives in the Philippines with their spouses and children as well as businesses they run.

My journey in the US started in Duarte, CA (near Pasadena, CA area) Cinco de Mayo 2000.  I was just under 21 years of age then.  We lived with my kind Aunt Alma for a bit and then we moved in a small apartment.  That’s me, mom, dad and my two little siblings in a 2bed 1bath tiny little apartment.  It was tough but we loved being together.  Nothing else mattered!  I was so bored and home sick so I started applying for a job.  I got hired at Walmart in just 20 days after being in this country- May 25, 2000.  The trick, turn in a resume once a week to keep your resume on top.  That was the fastest job I could get to occupy my lonely beginnings here.  When I first got my first check it was a physical check and I had no idea at that time what to do with it – the system here is very different from the third world country where I came from.  Some coworker told me that I should go down to the local Wells Fargo Bank to see if they could help since I’m a brand new immigrant.  So I did.  While working for Walmart as a checker, for some reason a lot of people who went through my checkout line invited me to their office or place of business to offer me a job.  When I went to Wells Fargo Bank, I asked the manager how to get a job there.  I’ve always wanted to work for a bank.  As I was growing up, I thought it was cool.  The bank manager told me what to do and I got it done by Sept. 2000 (same year!). I started there Sept. 14, 2000 while working for Walmart at the same time.  Yes, I had two jobs for two long years because I had no friends here and I was genuinely home sick.  I worked 10am-2pm at Wells and 3pm-midnight at Walmart.  I remembered coming home from work and staying up until 3am in bed with my little sister Rosie.  We used to dream about home and just start crying.  We were so home sick!

By Jan. 2001 I got promoted at Wells to a full-time teller and dropped Walmart to part-time – 10am-7pm at Wells then 8pm-midnight at Walmart.  Tough but it worked for me because I didn’t have to cry all day.  It kept me busy.  By the way, when I started here I rode my bike to Walmart when I got a shift that got me off work early enough (bike $20 from a garage sale).  The ride was 3 miles each way.  If I had a late shift, I bummed for rides from coworkers and just gave them money for gas.  It’s never an easy process when you’re new to this country.  Credit is king here and when you’re an immigrant, you have absolutely zero credit!  So I worked two jobs until Oct. 2001 and I saved enough money and went home to the Philippines to finish my degree in accounting.  I only had a semester left when I originally left back in 2000.  I finished my degree March 2002, came back to the US and got rehired by Wells June of 2002.  This time as a Customer Service & Sales Representative.  I was on a roll.  Got promoted to Personal Banker 1 after a year then got an offer I couldn’t resist from a small community bank to become one of their Relationship Manager managing business accounts and offering commercial lending to business owners.  This took me to a path that exposed me to small business owning and I absolutely enjoyed crunching numbers for my small business owner clients!  I was selling money and selling money took me to Vegas when all the high rise projects were booming.  Never did any deals there but the competition was fierce and made me a lot of friends.  Very well connected friends.

While on a business trip in Vegas, I met the love of my life at a UFC fight; UFC 52 to be exact at Mandalay Bay.  It was a fight between Chuck “the Iceman” Lidell vs Randy Couture.  A California fighter and a Portland, OR fighter respectively.  This is what brought me to Portland, OR.  Smiles…my hubby grew up here.  I used to hate Portland, OR when I first moved here in 2006 but I simply love it here anymore.  I appreciate the four seasons.

We have 2 boys; Kaden (meaning fighter) born 2006 and Taylor (a feisty little kid born in 2009 3months pre-mature).  After moving to Portland I worked for a couple of Community Banks.  Currently and since 2008, I have become a small business owner.  The worst year to start a small business!  I operate my own Insurance and Financial Services agency and I’m passionately in love with my profession.  I have a huge heart for immigrants because I am one and my profession allows me to help them from a different perspective.  I’ve been sued and lost and I’ve been sued and won before.  I have a blog that I created prior to this blog to help my fellow immigrants but it’s currently on hold due to reasons I am not in liberty to disclose at this time.  I am truly hoping to write a guide one day.  I’ve failed, dusted off and got back up.  Failure is a funny thing; it’s the best teacher there is.  You know how they say failure is not an option?  I hate to tell you that unfortunately, it’s an option; it’s just one you don’t want but I’ve always lived by this mantra and maybe because I’m such a risk taker “You will never know unless you try.  There’s a 50/50 chance to success/failure respectively.  If you’re 1% more successful even annually since business usually has an annual cycle whether fiscal or calendar – you’re now more of a success than a failure.  Transform 1% chance of failure to 1% success at least yearly and consistently and you will be surprised of the outcome.”  With this mantra, I have achieved every goal I set for myself.  Not to say, without failing first.  Sometimes you have to go through the challenges to figure things out and I’ve been there several times.

Thank you for visiting my blog and please feel free to send me an e-mail or message anytime if you have any questions.

My beautiful family.  Photo taken 2012 in the Philippines.

My beautiful family. Photo taken during our family vacation Aug 2012 in the Philippines.


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