There was once a time when I was a young kid in the Philippines when my family, four of us, lived in a one bedroom, probably no bigger than  a size of a typical dorm room. I remember my sister and I having to wake up early and take a bath outside, early enough, before our neighbors even wake up. But through it all, I never felt poor. I never felt as if I was deprived of anything in my life. We’ve always been a close-knit family and I think for me that’s what mattered the most. We didn’t have much money yet somehow my parents were able to give us things we needed. When my sister and I had to buy school uniforms, when I had to get a new boy scout uniform, they always seem to find ways. My dad, he’s very resourceful and a very hard worker. As far as I can remember, he always found ways to get side jobs. Oftentimes, he held more than one. When we moved to the United States in 1984, my parents immediately took jobs available to them at the local mall in Salinas. Throughout high school, my dad always worked two almost full-time jobs and still found the time to have his own janitorial service and mowed lawns during his time off. They never asked for anything from my sister and I. To this day, they have not asked for anything in return for what they have given us.

It’s times like this, three o’clock in the morning, when I get the time to reflect about my life that I realize how blessed I am. How privileged I am beyond belief. It’s all because of my parents’ sacrifices. Who would have thought I would have the career I have had to this point. I’m happily married to a wonderful partner. We’re enjoying life.

I’ve had challenges in life,feeling like an outcast at times, feeling like I’m not smart enough, like  I don’t belong but frankly, those challenges don’t matter as much anymore. I suppose, I can look back at them and in the bigger scheme of things, they’re trivial. I look at opportunities ahead of me and I’m just excited. Changes are happening and life is good. Life is good. I feel blessed. I feel privileged beyond belief.