The global pandemic has affected us in different ways, including the loss of livelihood and income. But in challenging times like these when our resilience is tested, many of us still manage to turn things around for the better.
We first heard of Roxane Geronimo-Manguera, 31, when SmartParenting.com.ph featured her story in 2019. She was then working as a public school teacher in Tarlac and had to bring her toddler to school one day just so she wouldn’t miss work.
A couple of years later, Roxane is now a high school English Language Arts (ELA) teacher in Alaska, USA. What’s interesting is that she was able to land the teaching job in the middle of the pandemic.
How did she do it? Through sheer determination and hard work. “I knew it was achievable and possible because I made it so,” she confidently tells Smart Parenting in an email.
The pandemic opens an opportunity
Roxane tells us that she had always dreamed of working in the United States since she was young. She started applying for an ELA teaching position in 2016, after being inspired by acquaintances who were successful in finding jobs there.
“I spent most of my free time searching all possible teaching vacancies in all states and forwarded my intent to almost all schools with vacancies,” she shares. However, she had difficulty finding a position since she was also working full-time as a teacher in Tarlac.
When the quarantines started in March 2020, Roxane saw it as an opportunity to finally start fulfilling her dream. “I had all the time in the world to attend interviews for possible job offers,” she recalls.
With the help of a friend, she was able to meet with a superintendent, principal, and coordinator from a school district in Alaska. She was offered a job and was scheduled to leave the country in July 2020. However, she eventually had to give it up since she was unable to fly out due to the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines.
Roxane could’ve taken it as a sign to give up her dream, but she didn’t. She went to interview after interview, got another job offer from a senior high school in Texas and lost it again due to some restriction.
“Still, I didn’t lose hope. I showered the heavens with my prayers,” she says.
On November 12, 2020, she received a message from a friend to attend another job interview with another school district in Alaska. She passed it easily and got a job offer.
Since her papers were all ready, everything else followed smoothly. Roxane passed her embassy interview, received her visa, got a CFO (Commission on Filipinos Overseas) sticker, and booked a flight.
“My life [felt] like it was sort of planned out already,” the mom shares. “I left the Philippines last week of December. Hello there, USA!”
While it’s only been three months since she left, Roxane admits she already misses her husband, Mar Chan, and her 3-year-old daughter, Atarah.
"Homesickness almost killed me."
“I was always an introverted person. I would enjoy staying at home with my husband and daughter than hanging out with my friends. But when I left, I suddenly became an outgoing person so I could forget I was missing home,” Roxane shares.
“Homesickness almost killed me, but the support of the people around me made it easier to bear,” she adds. “Thanks to technology, I still get to see my loved ones back in the Philippines regularly.”
Roxane has been teaching for a decade now, but since she’s in a foreign country, everything feels new to her. “From uncovering the diverse behavior of the students to building rapport with new colleagues to adapting to the cold weather, these are all very challenging and yet fulfilling on my part,” she says.
“I believe that if you are passionate about what you do, you will never get tired of doing it. You will not see it as a job but an opportunity to turn over a new leaf!” she exclaims.
Follow your dream
Apart from wanting to give her daughter the best future possible, Roxane also believes she was meant for something bigger. Working abroad also means she can help more people with her earnings.
“The primary motivation why I decided to find work outside the country is to give my family a better life while I pursue my own dream as a Filipino teacher on American soil,” she says.
"Work hard, do something about it, and make it yours!"
By sharing her story, she hopes that moms like her will also be inspired to never stop dreaming. “It took me a while [to realize] but big dreams do come true and it’s worth the wait!
“Sometimes we think that God doesn’t listen to our prayers, and we even end up comparing our blessings with what others have. But what we’re not realizing is that the reason why He’s not blessing you with what you want is because it’s not what’s best for you,” she shares.
At the same time, if you really want to achieve your dream, you have to put in the effort to make those dreams come true.
“I am not really a believer of ‘if it’s meant for you, you’ll have it,’” she says. “What if something is not meant for you but you truly love it? Work hard, do something about it, and make it yours!”
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