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Interview with Herminia

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by

Keith Estiler

on 11 December 2012

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Transcript of Interview with Herminia

INTERVIEW
WITH
HERMINIA
ESTILER Background Petitioning Process Life in NYC - May 17, 1978
- Born in small village called Salandanan Santa Cruz, Davao Del Sur.

- Eight siblings: five brothers and two sisters.
- She is the youngest in the family. Connection/Disconnection
with Homeland -In social community with Filipino groups . . .
Some Filipinos are snobbish and some of them are downright malicious. I hardly go to any filipino communities because sometimes the gossip mongers are rampant. I'd rather stay home or hang out with my family, at least we know each other better.

- How do you connect with the philippines? TV Shows, phone calls, filipino markets, etc?
Since we live in the 21st century, I connect with the internet and social networking. Seeing your relatives, in skype is awesome. However, the 12hr time difference in skyping can be a pain in the ass.
I'm updated with the news in my country through television via satellite.
For my mom to see the latest telenovelas is sick! New Place, More Hardships Hardships At Home - "Our living condition was not entirely bad in the Philippines, but we surely struggled. We made sure that we can eat three meals a day and we did our chores. Birthdays and holidays are not a grand celebration, we just went to church and lit candles to indulge in prayer.
As for work, I tried helping my mother do odd jobs.
She used to cook desserts, and harvested avocadoes which we sold at the market. We bartered some of the merchandise to acquire rice or dry fish. "

- My mother became the father figure when my father was in NY. She strenuously provided for us. She went to the mountain with her cousins to obtain fresh vegetables and fruits in order to sell and make profit at the village market.

-We went to school with no allowance, and we worked hard in school as well as helping our mother at work or at the house. However, some of my brothers were not keen of going to school. As for my father, he rarely sent money. When my mother called him he had an excuse up his sleeve and said that, “money does not grow on trees.” When we received money, my mother made sure that we have enough rice. If there is a little bit of money left over, she bought us clothes. Life was very difficult in the Philippines, but we are happy. Life is simple, but sometimes we want to live comfortably. - Her father was born in Stockton, California. He processed our papers so we can come to the United States. The petitioning process was long and tiresome. We had to wait about seven years in order for the papers or as they called it, your “priority date.” Then the petitioner would have to finalize the papers, pay the visa fees, and gather all the information to send it to NY. - Difficulties: to be away from your familiar place, to start anew, to learn a new language, and school.
-"Catching the vibe in your surroundings is hard to grasp when you are not sure how to communicate."
-The people are different in attitude and mannerism.
- In the Philippines, people are laid back, and very cheery.
- Here, you get cursed at if you just look at them. - - NYC is extremely fast paced. Continued . . . -First arrived in 1991
-Worked as a newspaper girl with her brother.
- Woke up at 4am, and went to school after.
- Also worked at a Filipino/American Store when she was sixteen, hauling heavy canned and dried goods.
- Woolworth's as a cashier - $4.10/hr
- "For me that was a humongous deal. I was able to help my mother with groceries or anything she needed."
- Life revolved around two things: work and school.
-Went to Hunter College, but dropped in order to work and help pay the bills.
- Changed tactics: She went to Mandl School of Allied Health College. Obtained an Associate's, and took on Registered medical assisting. It took me about a year and a half. Graduated with 4.0 average and passed the licensing test. What do you think of the Philippines in its current state?
The job market is not as good in here in U.S.A. The population is bad. No family planning and mostly, they are a lot of corruptions in the government. However, the current government is trying to righten the wrong of the previous president. I have hope that in the future Philippines will start prospering so that our fellow filipinos will start living comfortably. Would you ever go back to live in the Philippines?
I'm not sure. I've grown accustomed to this fast city life, but it wouldn't hurt to go back to that "laid back" state.
If my lotto numbers pull through this week, I may just go back and retire there. The Good Life A good life is having the ability to help your family when they need you and most of all, to be able to own a house. As for now, the humble life of eating three meals a day with a job that gives you good benefits, and pays you enough to keep the bills less intimidating is satisfying.
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