It is almost a year to this date when I got home from a wonderfully surprising trip to the US of A.  I couldn’t help but remember all the realizations I brought home with me.  I was the other half to an exchange program between coaches for our client partner. 

My counterpart shared how shocked she was with the poverty and the urban “crowdedness”.  How it almost physically choked her everywhere.  From the tourist sites, to the wharves, to the mall.  She was amazed to know that our big boss, who invited her over to his place one time, did not have a washing machine and instead had a housemaid who did laundry by hand.  Traffic in Manila was overwhelming to her and while Cebu was more tolerable she did find herself homesick for most of the 6-week stay.  After seeing Reno myself, I couldn’t blame her. 

I, on the otherhand, was shocked how similar we are.  Having grown up with all the Western influence through the tv, movies and internet, I at least have a preview of life in the US.  However, working and being there was so different.  My impressions from the tv and movies were almost the opposite of what I actually experienced.  They are warm, hospitable, educated people.  Well those that I’ve met at least.

Just like us, Americans are hard working people, with the same joys and worries like ours.  Jobs(or the lack of it), money(or the lack of it), family and friends.   But while we all fuss about almost the same things – survival and success, I think Filipinos have more fun at it.  No amount of stress or problem will drive a Pinoy to a shrink.  Maybe only to the nearest Videoke Bar. 

I believe that as a people, we are innately fun-loving and carefree.  We are also very grounded on family and community, our support system during hard times.  Put these together and you will never break the spirit of even the poorest Pinoy.

Visiting the US only served to make me appreciate the people and places around me more.  That regardless of dire economic situations, I still find our nation, my family, myself truly blessed.  As I look back on the year after that trip, I can only be thankful for my family and friends who stick it out with me through thick and thin.  I may not be living in a 1st world country but I find myself amazingly happy and content.  True, things will never be perfect, but with them around, it will always be OK!


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