Living in America, the good things and the bad
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - September 8, 2018 - 12:00am

SEATTLE, Washington — We landed in the paradise of milk and honey, the land of the brave, the home of the free. We acknowledge that indeed, our compatriots living here do enjoy a high standard of living, with food of high quality and affordable prices. There is no rice crisis, they do not eat galunggong, or inject formalin into their marine products. The quality of basic education undoubtedly is world-class, affordable, and even free. The healthcare is fantastic. Even under a president who does not love an "Obamacare'' kind of public health services, people here, including Filipino immigrants, enjoy top-quality medical and hospital services, largely subsidized by the government. Peace and order is almost perfect.

But there are many not-so-good things as well. The people have no time to live except the seniors and infirm. The working class have two or even three jobs to maintain their homes, cars, and lifestyles. They have mortgages and very high taxes to worry about. They have to drive miles and miles to and from work. And the weather here in the northwest is, you might say, anti-Filipino. Seniors and PWDs mostly stay indoor because it keeps raining here, drizzling, if you will, and there are times in the year when snow covers all the spaces. Of course, we Pinoys are used to rains and floods, but the temperature here is extremely cold. It gets worse in December and January.

The crime rate in this part of America is low compared to New York, Texas, Florida, California, Nevada, or Chicago. My youngest brother, Jonathan is a state police officer. He heads a team that makes sure citizens and tourists are safe. The police forces here are manned by highly-disciplined men and women who respect the people. Although we hear of shootings in public schools but those things happen in urban centers and metropolitan cities, mostly in the eastern side facing the Atlantic, and the southern borders with Mexico and other Latin countries.

I am visiting my father who is 94 years old, and my siblings. My father was a veteran of World War II. He figured in many fierce battles with the Japanese and was wounded in hand-to-hand combat in 1942 when he was just a teenager. He was granted US citizenship and all my siblings were petitioned to join him in America. I remained here to take care of our ancestral land and to welcome them whenever they come home for fiesta, Christmas, weddings, or funerals. My loved ones here in the US are living well, working hard, and enjoying a life of peace and quiet. Not to be sour-graping, but I think that life here in the Philippines is more exciting and worth living.

I made my choice but I do not blame my relatives for leaving our country and calling America their home for good.

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