Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The New Immigrant Checklist

October 20, 2009
Malacanan Palace

You've waited your whole life for this. You blame God for bringing you in this world too early. You've watched them all leave, cousins, aunt, uncles, your siblings, parents, your friends, people you know, even that kid who used to pay you to make them their English paper back in High School. All gone. Except you. Then, after you've put that petition in the back of your head, after refusing countless marriage proposals because of your petition....ITS HERE. YOU ARE COMING TO AMERICA.


Finally Uncle Sam has allowed you to join the rest of us in America to share in our misery....yey!

You've waited, paid an exorbitant amount. Passed the interview, got a plane ticket. THAT'S THE EASY PART. The hard part? What to do in the first few days of your new life in the US of A. How to live? What to bring? For those and more....

Here's a checklist. Print it. Love it. Live it.

- Do I need to tell you again? ABSOFREAKINGLUTELY no Balikbayan boxes. Why? read here

- I know you wanna be nice and all but really, no canned food as pasalubongs. No Century tuna caldereta, adobo, menudo, lechon paksiw or whatever flavor it comes in nowadays. If you guys don't know yet, everything you guys have in the Philippines, we can get here in the States. Not as cheap yes, but we have it. Now if you are going to be able to smuggle something like lanzones, or atis, or siniguelas...I'LL TAKE IT. Otherwise, it's ok. Save your money.

- If you're a smoker, quit. But if you can't, bring cigarettes. Bring as much cigarettes as you can to last you until you get your first paycheck. It's 6.50 a pack here in California, where your 80 dollars of pocket money can only buy you approximately 12 packs or so. That will only last you for like what a month? There's nothing more depressing than you in the cold, in a strange place, with no job, homesick, and you can't even buy a damn cigarette. Now that's sad.


- Control yourself. So you're in the party to celebrate your arrival in to the United States. Then you mingle, and unfortunately you come across Mang Berting, the know-it-all-ispokening-inglis-been in the States for 30 years and he starts talking about what you need to do to survive in the USA. Then after 3 seconds of listening to him you realize that he's a fucking idiot. You say to yourself, how in god's green earth did this guy get here? How did he pass the immigration interview. There's a lot of his kind around here, don't be shocked. Now do you tell him to shut his trap and you're better than him? No. Everyone knows he's a jerk. Keep it to yourself and don't try to engage. YOU WILL NOT WIN. Smile and be polite, oh and always say thank you. Americans have an obsession in saying thank you. Thank you for jerking me over...thank you for being an asshole, thank you for making me realize how much of a sorry ass life I've been living in the Philippines. No matter how much its killing you inside, try to stay in his good graces because he might slip you a 50 dollar bill or so and.....

- Network. You know Mang Berting? That dude is going to help you get your new job. That's the most important thing this a1 a-hole can give you. Since he's been here the longest, he knows people, and as we all know everyone needs friends in high places to get to anywhere you want to go. The more people you know, the more chances you get to contribute to your Social Security the fastest.

- Pack light. Remember I said no canned stuff right? For a number of reasons. It saves you from pulling a muscle or breaking a bone, and it gives you much needed space on your suitcase, and it avoids cluttering the house of your relative who you are going to stay with, who I bet lives in clutter already. You will soon discover how easy it is to accumulate junk in america. Why do you think you got two electric vegetable choppers in the LBC cargo? Bring the essentials: toiletries, underwear (and lots of it), oh and of course clothes.

- Clothes that you can wear for a job interview and not the purple parka from ukay ukay. There's a reason why you got it from ukay ukay. We don't want it back in our shores. And unless your going to ALASKA, or the EAST COAST in the middle of winter, please, I'm begging you..no leather JACKETS. On second thought, even IF you're going to ALASKA or the EAST COAST no LEATHER JACKETS. Leather jackets are totally unacceptable in any aircraft. FAA rules. Unless of course you are headed to SAUDI Arabia........which in that case, a mandatory gold chain is a must to be worn.


- Learn how to drive. For this reason alone, you do not want to use public transportation in the United States. Besides buses are not readily available, and there are no tricycles, pedicabs, padyaks or the like to take your lazy fat ass a few blocks like you were used to back in the Philippines. But more importantly, after all the hullaballoo and excitement of your arrival in America has died down, no one in their right mind will be willing to drive you to your 4th trip to Salvation Army on a perfect Sunday afternoon.


- Establish credit ASAP. The only ones who do not have debt are infants, or drug dealers unless you count their debt from the dope growers or manufacturers. For better and for worse, America is being run by credit. Your whole existence depends on how much credit you have or can get. So your first paycheck, forget about that cologne someone in the Philippines wants you to get them. Get a secured credit card and maybe with that you can get that cologne, or sunglasses or whatever the heck you promised someone back in the islands.

- Just because you worked at a call center does not give you the power to flaunt your "American accent" around these parts. Especially kung tinatagalog ka na. Kung sa Pilipinas eh elib na elib sila sayo, pagdating dito , maiirita sayo. Believe me, nothing more gets to people's nerves than listening to someone who is trying so hard to get the American accent down. Because you know what, you might be able to fool someone for a few seconds, but lalabas at lalabas den yan. As long as your grammar is ok, (you dont even have to be scholarly) you'll be fine.

- GET A J-O-B.
Eventually. You just got to. I don't even have to put this on the list this really.

(Sgd.) President of the Philippines.

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