Postcards From Home: Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas!

I am Rosemarie Ybanez, 28, a Special Education teacher here at Clark County School District in Las Vegas.

I'm currently teaching kids who are severely emotionally challenged.

If you look it up, it's a condition where kids or generally people in any given age are unable to control their emotions and behavior, which prevents them to fully function in the classroom and society.

You would not have heard so much of this in the Philippines because I think, culturally we Filipinos are very resilient.

When life throws us durian, we make candies or ice cream out of it! 

That's what I am very proud of being a Filipino! Yes, we are overly emotional, but in the end, we laugh it off and go on with our lives.

I had dreams of traveling the world someday and I didn't realize that it will be teaching that will jump start this dream.

You see, I was happy being a public school teacher in our homeland, I loved seeing kids learn and be able to find their passion in life.  But I always had that nagging feeling of wanting to try the ways of the bigger world or else I will regret not being brave enough to act on my dreams.

Everything about home is just...home to me. 

I missed the noise.

Yeah, I know that's unbelievable but living here for almost 6 months now, the silence gets to you.

You won't hear a sound from your neighbors and I came from a village of Karaoke lovers; where mahjong players stay up till dawn waiting for the last piso to be spent. Where I don't need my alarm clock coz my dad's roosters are there to wake me up.

When it gets too silent, that's when you have so much time to think of what and who you miss the most, then you start looking up promo tickets and dream of the day you get to go home (to eat kasag, inun-unan, siomai and ginabot!)

I was scared I wouldn't be good enough where I would be going.

I guess I just felt scared that when the pressure gets to me I will start cracking up and I am alone facing the wolves. Char lang.

But I realized, I earned my degree and worked so hard to get to where I am right now so I deserve to be here.

Sometimes, that's the greatest fear that people have which holds them back from pursuing their dreams: the fear of not being good enough and you end up failing. 

But hey, you'll never really know if you can do it unless you've tried it. So take deep breaths and go make that leap of faith!

I also had that feeling where I did not want to become a traitor to my motherland and go work somewhere else. I also felt like I did not want to be labeled as one of those people 'finding greener pastures.' But what the heck, I just got to let it go and follow my heart!

So when I got here, I waved our flag and I want to make my country proud! Wherever I go, I always carry our name proudly and amaze them with my Filipina charm and wits. (chareets!)

Oh yes, people really think that it is easy and glamorous to be here working overseas. 

They fail to see that being away from all the comforts of family, friends and all that's familiar to you is like stripping you mentally of all the things that reassure you that you have a fallback place.

Here away from home, you fend for yourself.

You cook, you eat, you do your laundry, you sleep, you cry on your own. And you feel apprehensive about telling your family way back home about your struggles coz you don't want them to worry. So you remind yourself that ginusto ko to bes, so be strong. Laban lang.

Since I am in Vegas, everything that happens here pretty much stays here but who am I kidding?! Hahaha! (wink! wink!)

I love the shows that are in Vegas---from classical artists to contemporary ones. They end up coming to visit here and they are pretty much affordable! There's a big Filipino community here as well who pretty much becomes your family away from home.

I have plans to work here for a long time but I would still choose to live in my beautiful country the Philippines. Having seen what my new workplace has to offer, I still believe that home is where my heart will always be and where I will be really happy!

Parting words for people who want to embark on the same journey?

Do it now! If you keep on saying I'll do it later, later is never going to happen! Just like how you told your Mom you will water the plants later but you fell asleep! So the best time is always now!

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