Driving on a New Road
Liza Driz-Verayo, 42
Immigrated from Manila, Philippines
“We’ve made America our home now.”
There are many differences between the U.S and the Philippines. For Liza Driz-Verayo, a teacher at Aldama Elementary School, driving is the biggest one. “What really stood out to me when I came to America was how people follow the driving laws.” says Liza. “It makes driving so much less intimidating and scary because majority of the drivers have safety in mind. In the Philippines, particularly in Manila, you must always drive defensively and aggressively on the road in order to survive.” Having immigrated to the United States in 2006, she’s had 13 years to get out of her bad driving habits. She even took a driving refresher course when she first immigrated. Liza told me that back in the Philippines, she had a maid, a cook, and a driver, so she’d never really been taught how to drive. “I had an idea of how things were done, but I rarely had to do them myself for an extended period of time.” Liza explained. She said she felt very dependent on her parents, even though she was an adult and married. Coming to America made her more independent, she noted.
Here, we all know a red light means “stop”. In Manila, for a lot of drivers, the red light is just a suggestion. You should stop, but you don’t have to. Liza came to America for a better job opportunity. But because of her contract to come to the U.S, she had to leave behind her daughter who couldn’t join her until the next year. Coming to America was a big decision for Liza and it meant she had to leave behind all the things she held closest. She didn’t have to immigrate to this new country. But she knew America would provide them with more opportunities. Sometimes we make some decisions we’ll regret later. I asked Liza if she ever regrets coming to the States or if she wished she’d stayed in Manila. “I have no regrets,” Liza said, “I’m thankful for my life here, as well as all the friends I’ve made. We’ve made America our home now.”