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Lesson Learned

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When I was in high school, my parents put me to a private school run by nuns and had to wear a uniform. My parents chauffeured me back and forth to school. As a teenager, my parents did not allow me to date boys. I rebelled. I became pregnant at the age of 18. When my belly started to grow, my parents told me that I was not allowed to leave out of the house. I didn’t see the sun. I was not able to go for walks or exercise. I did not see any doctor. When the time came that I was ready to deliver my baby, my mother said I had to wait until it gets dark to make the trip to the hospital. I did not have anyone with me except my mother when I delivered my first baby, Rachel. It was not a celebration. I was determined to leave the Philippines from then.

Canada was my new world. The learning curve was so high at the beginning. I had to make new friends, learn how to drive a car, learn how to live and dress in cold weather climate, learn new style of cooking. I came to Whitehorse, Yukon in March of 1995. I had 3 small children then. I was determined to raise a family different from mine. I wanted to get the best of both worlds. Sundays in the Philippines means 20 members of family gathering around the dining table. I tried to recreate this in Canada, but it is never the same as we were only a total of 5.

When my oldest child Rachel became a teenager, I shared my experience and told her my story. I had a hard time at first, accepting that she was going to have sex before marriage. It turned out to be one of the best conversations I have ever had with my daughter. When my second daughter became a teenager, I gave her lots of support, love, and guidance. She is turning 19 in a few months. She has been accepted to the Engineering program in McGill. She is going to Antarctica to do some research with world-renowned scientists. My youngest, Sean is turning 15. I did talk to him openly about sex but he reminded me that he already went through sex education in class. I told him when he is ready that I am always here.

I feel I have accomplished my goals. My family in the Philippines is very proud of what I have accomplished in Canada. Whenever I visit them, they take me around and introduce me to all their friends and acquaintances. They speak highly of me. Above all, I feel good about myself.

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