You never wanted to be a nurse. Never.
Gasp! Well, don’t scream yet. Read on.
First off, a background.
I was expecting a public crucifixion when I wrote my last post, but I didn’t. Surprisingly. I was expecting to get nagged by the most bitter, angriest people for telling the truth. It was still blasphemous for some, but I got kinder remarks from a lot more. I was happy. It even brought tears to my eyes. Finally, I stood up for myself.
I was in the lowest state of my life. I prayed. And I prayed and I prayed. I finally surrendered. I finally did what I haven’t done in a long time — I tried honesty. I was in denial for a long time and finally just sat down and reflected on my life. I became honest with myself. That’s why I wrote that post.
My older brother, my hero, graduated high school and (surprise surprise) he got nagged by my father to take up nursing. Diligent, steady, brave — he refused. Hell broke loose and he got kicked out of the house. He literally was out of the house for four months!
He lived in his friend’s dorm room. Everyday I stopped by and gave him a big part of my allowance. He had nothing, he needed it more than I do. I was crying for four months. My family was falling apart. Every single day he would hug me and say, “I’m sorry for doing this to you, little sis.”
I would always give a faint smile and say “It’s okay big bro, it’s gonna be okay.”
When my turn came, turned 16 and graduated high school. Daddy dearest told me to take nursing. I said “yes, daddy.”
I love my family.
I always loved my family, I will never stop loving my family. Christmas 2009. My dad broke down in tears. My aunt (who was a pediatrician in the Philippines for 20 years but now works as a nurse in Las Vegas) calmly and meticulously explained to my father the real situation of the nursing world.
“I’m so sorry my dear, Ambria. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay, dad…”
My brother (I always thought he was smart), flunked every subject he had just to prove to my father that he can’t be controlled. Everybody called him a failure. He failed at first. Then he failed a lot. A hell of a lot more.
He found his true calling. He had always been a natural at computers. Everything was easy for him. He grabbed a programming book at national bookstore and started his adventure — just for fun. He now has his own condo, living comfortably with his online work as a web programmer for five different outsourcing companies. He pays for my culinary school.
I never lied to anybody. But I have a secret. I got my 10 year tourist visa a long time ago. 2009, I lived with my aunt in Vegas for six months. Ask me anything about Vegas, I’ll tell you about my six months stay there. How the Bellagio fountain is spectacularly beautiful. How Penn and Teller is the grandest comedic show but Mac king is a lot more funnier. How the Blue Man group will shock and stupefy you all throughout. How sunset park is so beautiful. How my hubby loved fishing in Lake mead. Ask me anything, I’ll tell you all about my stay there.
If you’re curious, I’m not rich or anything. This lady beautifully perceived how I got my visa. For the shorter story, somewhere along the way in my mind-numbing call center job, my hubby and I decided to save up. We saved half our pay every month and two years of hard work later, we were able to present our “show money” to the embassy and decent amount proofs, paychecks that we are doing fine in the Manila and won’t overstay our welcome. Stamped. Approved. And on our way to Vegas.
The Experience Abroad.
Here’s the hard part — explaining to people the reality. I’ve met nurses there. A whole lot. Is America really the land of milk and honey?
I’ve met dozens of nurses there. They were all stumped. I’ve notice their tired, weary faces “life abroad, hayyy.” They were empty, hollow voids. Filling a big hole in the lives with shopping, get togethers and farmville.
Don’t get me wrong, their lives are still a million times better than ours (I wasn’t born rich, so yeah, better than mine).
But still… something’s missing.
I’ve interviewed a lot of them (more like interrogated). Different choices of words, but here’s where most parts intertwined:
- The first time you receive your visa – you are the happiest person in the world. You jump for joy. You feel like you could jump over the pyramids.
- The first six moths – “The hang-up phase.” You will buy all your hang-ups, the stuff you never got to buy before. A nice car, nice clothes, nice everything. You will get into little debt, but still manageable. No worries, you’ll get it all back with overtime. Lots of it.
- A year later – You start to burn out. You shrug it off, thinking this is part of real life.
- Two years, a house, a car, a family later – You get stuck. 30 years mortgage and a college fund for your kid — you’ll be there for the rest of your life.
- Another few years of burning out – you’ll start to question. Is this all there is to life? Am I doing things right? Something’s missing…
Something IS missing… Where do you think midlife crisis comes from?
Oh, and did you know that most of your credentials in the Philippines aren’t recognized in the States?
A foreword: Please stop reading this. If you’re easily offended, please stop reading this. I am the only writer in the world that tells you to stop reading her piece… because I don’t want to hurt your feelings…
The Cold Hard Truth.
I will be mean here. Like a mother spanking a child, it’s for your own good.
You never wanted to be a nurse. You just wanted to use nursing to go abroad.
You. I’m talking to you. You, who are about to slap me. I’m sorry, but I’m talking to you. I have to say it.
People want to go and build a life abroad. And nursing will take them there.
Way back when you were young, you wanted to be an engineer, you wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer. You wanted to be a movie star — the most hunkable of hunks or the most stunning of actresses in movie history. Ever.
You wanted to be a stewardess, a young adventurist, flying across the ocean, wondering where the plane will take you next. You travel the world! You could be a pilot, controlling the massive flying contraption, master of the 747. You are 40,000 feet above the sky, everyday, whereas grounded humans only wish they were there.
Point is, we dreamed of becoming doctors, lawyers, engineers, astronauts, cowboys, movie stars, super-models — but nobody dreamed of becoming a nurse someday!
If you did, good for you. I’m happy that you got what you wanted. Seriously.
The Sad Truth.
Calm down, calm down. We’re almost there. I know you want to crucify me right now and put the crown of thorns in my head but — listen.
If 20 years ago, America declared they needed teachers instead of nurses. There would (instead) be a million unemployed teachers, getting a real heart-warming fulfillment every time a student “thanks” them years later (it really is heart-warming). And getting a surge of simple joy when the cutest little pre-schooler hands them an apple.
I’m sorry. But it’s the truth.
You Learned to Love Nursing.
Nursing is your second, third, fourth love. Well, it might be.
My first love is cooking, then blogging, then “coffee-ing,” then movies, then maybe nursing. If nursing gave me comfortable life abroad, then I would be truly grateful for it. And “learn” to love it. Then again, if teaching, cooking, blogging gave me comfortable life abroad, I’d be truly grateful for it. I’m serious.
Blogging is my second love and third is coffee then movies, if I were to own a cafe or work in a movie production somewhere, I would love it but the first and biggest love, cooking, will always be missing.
What’s the Point?
I had a visa, living in Vegas, my aunt offered me an under the table care-giver job — Why, oh why did I leave?
What’s the point? I’ve dreamed of going to the U.S.A. and my dad thought nursing will take me there. I’ve gotten a visa on my own so far (call center agent, who knew?). The whole purpose of nursing was to get me to the U.S., but I’m already there — so what’s the point?
Salary? Lot’s of opportunities there. You could actually do what you love for a change.
Why didn’t I take the caregiver offer? Besides the fact that it would make me a TNT, I know for sure it would make me miserable as hell. I was already there, why not cooking instead?
My hubby, baby boy and I each have ten years tourist visa. U.S.A. is a beautiful place for vacations. But living there? I don’t know, I see a lot of mixed up feelings. A lot of people love it, a lot more are having a hard time. Life’s hard over there (believe it or not), I saw it with my own eyes.
As for me, my cooking will someday pay for our vacation to see Vegas again, then L.A., the off to New York to get pictures at Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty for Facebook. Exclusively for Facebook pictures only.
Then cross those off the bucket list and off to visit France, Italy and Australia. I firmly believe my cooking will take me places. Lots of beautiful places.
Your Dream is a Guarantee.
Why am I really, really, really sure I’d be a successful cook someday? Because dreams do come true.
This is not fairy tales, “the secret” or “law of attraction” thing, this really has a scientific explanation behind it. (Really).
It’s simple. You work harder for it. You work more hours for it. If you’re a receptionist, you would do an okay job and work only 40 hours a week. But when you get home you would spend the remaining countless hours doing your passion (let’s say writing), you would spend countless blissful hours perfecting your writing. Every single word has to be perfect, every letter counts.
I work 40 hours a week at a call center, but when I get home, I spend hundreds of hours experimenting new recipes. The buying of fantastic new ingredients is already heart-wrenching delightful. The cooking itself, the smelling of the aroma, the tasting from the pot and the biggest smile from my hubby when he eats it — I feel like I’m in heaven.
That’s how I know cooking is my life. My life, dream, my passion.
I get lower pay as a call center agent working 40 hours a week. How about if I get paid as a chef working a million hours a year?
You Will do Your Passion No Matter What.
When I was in Vegas, I felt like I was close to my previous dream of becoming a nurse. But all that’s in my head was cooking! I dreamed when I get good pay from nursing, I’d use it to buy a nice kitchen, with all the massive variety of ingredients and equipment not found in the Philippines. I dreamed of using my nursing salary to put myself into a nice culinary university.
I was going to be a cook no matter what!
Once I graduated from culinary school, I would’ve left nursing and pursued cooking either way. I was born to be a cook. God made me that way.
My uncle, the best handyman I’ve ever met, is a manager at a hotel in Vegas. On his days off, he makes the coolest carpentry, projects, car restorations I have seen. He’s good at everything! “Why do you do it?,” I said.
“Because I love it.” He replied.
You will do your passion whether you get paid or not. It’s too bad my uncle never turned his life around to fully do what he loved.
You will always do your passion whether you get paid for it or not…
My brother, ever the black sheep — the drop out, the failure — is now our most successful family member. He is a full blown web programmer, and is very, very happy.
My uncle quit his job as an Engineer at a robotics company in California, and open his own car repair shop. “It’s simply what I love to do,” he said.
A family friend, graduated in Electric Engineering. He never pursued it. He hated it so much, he hated his father for forcing him to take engineering. Now, on his own, got a work visa a a programmer for skype in California. He didn’t even go to school, he just learned programming over the internet.
We were meant to do something in this world.
God brought us here for a reason, for a calling. If we were to go against our passion, we would be incomplete. There will always be something missing. You will always find yourself filling a void.
You will never get tired of your passion.
50 years from now, I will still love cooking. Everyday. I might’ve appreciated nursing, but after a few years, I still would’ve shifted to cooking. I’m thankful for my call center job, but I can’t do this for ten more years.
Pacqiuao will have 3 to 4 (?) years left in boxing? But when he turns 60, he will still be watching great boxing events ringside.
Michael Jordan is done playing, but will still be an owner or a part owner of a team when he’s 75.
Imagine where you are now. What are you doing now? Can you do it for the next 40 years?
Our dreams will succeed.
When customers first taste my cuisine (someday), the mouthwatering flavor will rinse through their mouths, exploding flavors will make their eyes close and relish in passion. The perfect mixture of sweetness, spiciness and sourness will rock their whole world.
Why? Simple. It’s because they’ll notice the thousands of hours spent in every recipe. The careful, meticulous passion spent in every meal — They will notice it. They will notice all the hard work, they will like it and come back for more.
Sure there will be trials.
There will always be trials. It will be super hard when you get started but — you will never give up.
When you’re doing something that’s NOT your passion, and get only a few bucks for it — you’ll give up easily. But if my restaurant goes through the whole roller-coaster ride, through ups and downs, I will bleed just to keep it alive. Why? Because I don’t know what else to do. I can’t imagine myself doing something else.
When your passion is cars, you will keep your auto-shop alive no matter what because what else are you gonna do? Cars are all you live for.
I love you.
I don’t know you but I’ve been through the same life beating you’ve gone through. I’ve been beaten, bled out, left to rot in the sun… I’ve been there. All the questions, doubts, persecutions — what am I going to do with my life? Is this all there really is? Am I doing the right thing? Can I do this for the next 40 years? — I’ve been there. You, who went (or about to go) through it — remember, I know how you feel. I love you.
I wrote this down NOT to make you give up nursing, I wrote this down to make you think about “some other important aspects of life.”
Like what I’ve said as my first plan — I would’ve used nursing to buy me a great kitchen, put me in culinary school and later open up my own little food place.
Use nursing, DO nursing but remember — keep your dreams alive.
One final note: If I’ve made you read this 2,700 words article, I may have a future in my second love — blogging 🙂
I am way too busy to make a blog of my own, but for updates on how am I doing so far pursuing my dream, I’d most likely post it here.
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