Pesos to Pennies Chapter 4: Arriving in America

Chapter 4: Arriving in America

“There was a feeling of joy and excitement, and my heart was full of hope when I saw America from they sky. Yet, my heart was filled with worries about living with my husband whom I didn’t know really well.”

—-Pesos to Pennies Book introduction

In May of 2009, on a breezy afternoon, I arrived in this country.  My husband was waiting for me in the airport waiting area with a gift bag in his hand and a bouquet of roses on the other. It was a long flight from Manila to Omaha. It was a one-day travel including stopovers. I couldn’t wait to get to my new home to take a shower or rest. But Morse Bluff is another one hour drive from the airport, my husband reminded me.
I liked how clean the roads are. No traffic, no street vendors, no pollution, and the flow of traffic wasn’t that bad. It was a different scene you would see in bustling Manila. What my husband and I did was talk, talk, talk until we were in Fremont. He said there’s a Chinese restaurant at the mall and if I wanted to buy something to take home. We ordered food then we started heading to Morse Bluff, another half an hour drive.

I’d seen fields right after we got out of Omaha until we got home. The green fields freshened my eyes. I love the beauty of nature. I’d seen railroad. We passed small towns. I’d also seen a fast creature that I thought was a goat. I asked him why its owner let the goat ran around. But my husband said that wasn’t a goat, it was a deer. And mother nature owns it!

My appreciation for the new place, the fields, and the beauty of the nature where goat, I mean deer is freely running around were just a few things I knew I would enjoy of being here, right at that moment.

Gladys Starkey


Our weekend

Our busy weekend started on Friday morning. I worked at the library for five hours, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help for reading time. The girls were with me (as always) to join the program and they entertained themselves by playing in the kids’ room and playing games on the computer. We packed sandwiches and fruits for lunch so that we din’t have to spend money on buying something or going home for lunch break. We made ham and cheese sandwiches and the girls brought the dollar “Lunchables” we bought when we did our grocery shopping. And for drinks? A cold bottled water, of course!

Once we got home from the library that afternoon, we stayed home for two hours until the carnival in town started. They were here over the weekend for Old Settler’s Day. Our neighbor gave each girls tickets for carnival rides.

The food at carnivals are not cheap but since we do this once a year, we have a small budget for it. The girls asked for hot dog nachos, and cotton candy. Those three cost $11! It was the girls’ first time to have cotton candy but they didn’t finish eating it. They didn’t like the taste, they said. There was no way for me to eat the rest because, hello, it’s sugar! So we ended up giving it to the girl we know who passed us because, hey, that bag cost us $5!

The girls tried a few rides. They also jumped on the Tiger bounce. The we did the power slide where Olivia sat on my lap because she wasn’t comfortable to go by herself and Marie did.

On Saturday night, the whole family went back to the carnival again. My husband wants to see it. The girls wanted to try the power slide once again, and the three of us did. My husband didn’t want to try any ride. He said just watching us and other people on rides was enough for him! We shared for one funnel cake. Olivia didn’t like it, though. We ended up spending $10 for more tickets so that the girls can have a couple more rides. Then we walked around the park and waited until they start the fireworks that lasted for 15-20 minutes.

The girls were so tired. I carried Olivia until we got home (we’re only three blocks away) because she was too tired to walk.

On Sunday morning, we missed going to church. We overslept that day. We did chores all morning and my husband and our friends fixed the water hose line outside. In the afternoon, my husband and Marie went to watch the parade in downtown. Olivia didn’t want to go so I decided to stay home with her. An hour later, Marie and my husband got back. Marie brought a bag of popcorn with candies in it. They didn’t bring a bag to put all the candies that thrown at them during the parade. Needless to say, the girls were so happy for those goodies!At 6 p.m, my husband and I had a “date night” for the first time in seven years for not having the girls with us (our friend was watching our girls for a few hours). There was traffic on our way to the restaurant, on Dodge street in Omaha but it wasn’t that bad.

We met our friend at china buffet for our advance 9th wedding anniversary celebration. Sunday is the best day to come to that restaurant because they serve all kinds of food including seafood. It’s the pricier time of the week and day but our friend paid for our meal, as a wedding anniversary treat, she said. She also gave us Applebee’s gift card that we’re planning to use on our anniversary day this week! We didn’t get home until past 9 o’clock and we really felt sorry for our friend for arriving later than the time promised. We told him we’d be home at 8 p.m. but we had to give our friend a ride home because there was an emergency happened. We’re glad that our friend who watched our girls understood.

Our weekend was full and busy and I know the next weekend will be busier because it’s Marie’s birthday and advance July 4th celebration!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Gladys Starkey

My 8 tips on writing a book

Happy Friday, everyone! (and gosh one more week and it’s July!)

Anyway, I supposed to write another chapter post for my book today but since I missed blogging yesterday (because I was super busy!), I decided to post what I’ve already started writing last Wednesday night. So I got this one for you.

I’m happy to hear from a few friends that they enjoyed reading my book. Some of them asked how to write a book. They often say writing a sentence or a paragraph isn’t easy for them. With my maiden book writing experience, I’m always happy to share with them how I did it. First I always encourage them to do it if writing a book is one of their goals in life.

My 8 tips on writing a book

  • I encourage you to read more often. It doesn’t matter what genre it is—novel, memoirs, children’s books, self-help, etc. It will give you an idea how the sentences and paragraphs are structured.
  • Start writing. “The journey of a thousand miles begins one step” is one of my favorite quotes. I applied this quote to my writing process. I read stories from famous authors how they did their writing.
  • Do it more often. Doing things over and over becomes a habit. So make writing becomes part of your day.
  • Always write down your ideas, thoughts, etc. Always bring pen and paper with you. Our thoughts and ideas can pop to our head anytime and anywhere. In my purse or in the car or in the house, I always have notepad and pen with me.
  • Set writing goals. John Grisham wrote one page a day. Ernest Hemingway wrote 500 to 1000 words a day. I started writing 300 words a day. Then 500 words a day the following weeks. As the time went by I was writing more and more. You can try to do the same or write one page a day, the choice is all yours!
  • Consistency is the key. Writing a book can be daunting. That’s why some people step back on making it happen. It’s like being a mountain hiker.
  • Take a break once in a while for fresh writing ideas. For me, writing is not boring but if I’m sitting in front of the computer for so long, I feel I need to distract myself from writing. I go for a walk, do chores, go outside for a few minutes just to give myself a break and freshen up my brain for fresh ideas. And lastly…
  • …just keep writing!

Yes, you can write a book!

I hope you’ll have a fun and safe weekend, everyone!