The Other Side
Edilberto Ilas, 78
Immigrated from Metro Manila, Philippines
"...The grass is greener in the neighbor's place..."
It was for good reason that my grandfather, Edilberto Ilas or rather his wife, my grandmother, Deanna, decided they must leave their home in the Philippines, search for a better life, and help create a more auspicious one for their then, two year old son, by moving to the United States. In the Philippines, at the time, work was hard to come by, and it was even harder to save up money. By reason of their two year old son, who was constantly getting sick, their savings were constantly being drained by medical bills from treatment of his illnesses. Not only that but the situation just wasn’t ideal. They wanted to immigrate, for the prospect of prosperity, and abundance. So, they did.
Finding work wasn’t a simple task for my grandfather, seeing as the U.S. was not in as dire need of factory workers as they were of nurses, like my grandmother. Racial discrimination was also an evident factor in his struggle to find work, along with his lack of higher education, due to the subordinate level of education in the Philippines, which required him to self-study to meet the level of majority of the population.
He eventually did find work, though, and even resided at his second job in the U.S. for thirteen years. “You know the saying,” he said, “the grass is greener in the neighbor’s place, that’s the way it is.”