By Vanette Colmenares
New York City — My experiences in New York helped me realize I am getting the best of both worlds. From one in which I have been born into with familiarity and comfort, and another one of struggle and significance.
Having come from the Philippines, I was used to being the boss. My jobs were mostly upper level management. We owned a bakery and a furniture export company. I was also an investment consultant as well as an administrative consultant for a national company with branches all over the country. Everything about my job was cerebral.
Fast forward many years after being in the business world, the Philippines experienced economic chaos after the 9-11 bombings of the World Trade Center in New York. I had been so stressed out with the uncertainty in the business industry, that I just stopped and said, “No more.” That was when I left the country. I just needed a change of scene.
My first job was at a call center in Ohio, at a time when call centers were non-existent in the Philippines. But soon I realized that sitting behind a desk was no longer my cup of tea so I joined my brother in California at an assisted living facility. This was where I started being in the service and care industry.
From there, I went to places for other jobs, met people and became part of their families. I did not need to be in business and earn oodles of money to be on top of any game. I just had to be ‘available’ where and when I was needed. I did not have to be famous or be important to be validated. For as long as I touched one life in my lifetime, then I felt fulfilled.
Yesterday, I had a chat with a friend and I was relating to her my NY experiences. She surmised that I probably will not go through a midlife crisis since I am so enjoying my life. She gave the term ‘educated companion” as opposed to ‘caregiver’ since this job lets me in to an experience very few will be privileged to witness and that of taking care of an icon, and I am grateful for that.
I also do ‘personal cheffing’ where I can create with my passion in cooking and enter other people’s homes to serve my concoctions.
New York is the haven of foodies because it is here where one can taste epicurean dishes from different cultures. So it is here that I love attending food shows and be part of events. But just a week or so ago, I had the opportunity to be on both sides at a venue. I am a buyer, and at the same time a brand ambassador for a product that is made in the Philippines (more on this later).
Yet my feelings were no different which side of the world I was on. For as long as I am content with what I am doing, it’s a win-win situation for me.
In a few months, I will be going back again to the Philippines for a visit and to welcome a new member to the family. From a world of pampering and serving others in a foreign land, I will once again take refuge and be pampered in my own. How does this make me feel? I am blessed! I have best of both worlds!