Taking a step back to look at my family, we may seem like the typical dual-earner family but our journey to where we are now has taken several twists and turns.
Where it all started: Grandparents
After my grandpa asked my grandma’s father for her hand in marriage, they got married when my grandma was 19 and my grandpa was 27. They started their own garment business in the Philippines from scratch, which was difficult because my grandma had to sell all of her belongs (she only kept her wedding ring) since my grandpa used all his savings for the wedding. This was excruciating from my grandma because she did not envision her life like this. They made a lot of sacrifices to make things work out, and thankfully their business started profiting after a couple years. Thus, they were finally able to start their new adventure of a family. My mom noted that she just remembers that her dad was very humble and her mom was optimistic.
My other grandparents did not have an easy journey as well. In the Philippines, they started their sugar and tobacco businesses from scratch. One of the most difficult parts for them was to ask to borrow money from friends and family. However, the businesses started to grow after a couple years and they were able to start paying off the loans. My grandparents sent money for my dad and his siblings for their education and expenses while there were in Manila during the year for school, but they always went back to the province during the summer to help out with the family business. The heartbreaking part about their story was losing everything (their home, business warehouses, hardware) when someone set a fire on one of their neighbor’s house. The fire burned down the entire block because they did not have the same resources – firefighters and firetrucks – to stop the fire. It was definitely difficult for them to watch their home burn down, but thankfully everyone was able to get out safely. They were able to start anew and lived in this new home until they moved to the U.S.
Both of my grandparents had bumpy paths along the way, but their stories exemplify their perseverance. Their perseverance and sacrifices taught my parents a lot of lessons that they would further into their own journeys.