What city did you leave the Philippines from?
My home was in Quezon City, Q-U-E-Z as in Zebra-O-N City, which is a suburb of Manila.
What city and state did you arrive in the U.S.?
I arrived in Minneapolis, but lived in St. Paul, Minnesota. Cool. And then the project is about immigrants first days in the United States.
What do you remember about your first day in the United States?
I was met at the airport by the vice president of Macalester College and his teenage son, which was my age, college. And my first impression was they brought me to a cafeteria for lunch and I didn't know what a cafeteria was. And I ordered almost everything and the vice president of the college said, Sally, you must be hungry. I said, no, I just don't want to embarrass them by not, you know, they were offering me the food, cafeteria, and I didn't say no, I just said yes. Just being polite. that at the end you know because my tray was full then we returned some of them when the vice president's wife found out what I was doing.
Do you remember anything that like surprised you about the United States when you got here? The price? Yeah, like any cultural differences?
Yeah, everything was very inexpensive. You know, food and... But I was a scholar. I was very poor, so I didn't have anything. I didn't have any money. So I remembered the food was, there was so much food and so good. And it was cold. Oh, in Minnesota? In Minnesota. I was shivering. I think it was 50 degrees. Oh no, yeah. Or no, maybe something more, you know. I thought I was going to die of freezing. And it was only 50 degrees. Did you, did you arrive in the U.S. uh in the fall? Yes, well it was the end of August. Oh, okay. So it was like heading into fall. Mm-hmm. With the fall semester. I was only in my teens. I was 16. Yeah, that's young.
Where did you stay the first night you were in the US?
I couldn't afford the dorm, so I lived with a Jewish elder family, a husband and wife, and I did like housework for them for free board and room. Did you like them? Yeah, they were very nice. That's good. See, I came from a family that had servants, so I think like that. Yeah. What's a good interview question? And they ate hot dogs. It was beef hot dogs because they were Jewish. Mm-hmm. And they did, I don't remember if I liked them very much. I mean, it was the first time I was eating beef hot dogs. Ask if she had a roommate. I think I liked them.
Did you have a roommate in the dorm?
When I first was in the dorm, I had two roommates. I couldn't afford my board. I had two senior roommates, and they paid for my board. The first year, it was just the board. I had to go get my food at the cafeteria. Were your roommates American? Yes. They were both seniors. They made room for me. It's supposed to be a room for two people, but it was a huge room. So I was the third. So I don't know how I paid for it. Maybe they let me stay there for free. I don't know. I was so poor when I came to the States. Is it all just about the first day? Yeah, it's all supposed to be just about the first day. Do you remember anything else about the first day you were here? Yes, it was cold. I was so shivering. I had a coat but it wasn't very warm and it was only 50 degrees and I was shaking and my teeth were chattering. I didn't have a winter coat. The Westminster Guild, which is a women's organization, sponsored me as a scholar, so they had to bring me to shop for a coat and warm clothes and shoes, boots. I didn't have any boots.
Was it your first time seeing snow?
I was trying to eat [snow] it. I mean, you can eat snow. It just doesn't taste very good. Falling down so it was sticking my tongue out. It was really cold in Minnesota. What were you going to university for? I was going to get my BA, but I didn't know what, you know, I thought I wanted to go into religious education. Oh, sociology actually was my major. Oh, theology? Sociology. Sociology. That's cool. That's what Connor is doing. That's fun. How long was the plane ride over? I don't remember but I was just a teen, you know. Yeah. I was kind of scared but the man that was next to me was a Korean older gentleman and he was really, really nice and tried to make me as comfortable as possible. That's good. Yeah. He thought because I was Filipino I didn't like Japanese. Oh yeah. He came and sat next to me he said I'm Korean. That's funny yeah. Because it wasn't so long ago for World War II, you know. Yeah, and Koreans also don't really like the Japanese that much. So he saw I was very young. So he said, he told me his name and that he was Korean. I asked what time of day she got there. Maybe her first day was, maybe she got there in the evening, so her first day was in February.
Do you remember what time of day you got to the U.S.?
No, it was during the day and it was fall. And I remember it was 50 degrees. Mm-hmm. and i was all i had a cold but it is not what warm enough so i was chattering and shaking yes i kept saying quote it's so cold and it was fifty degrees yeah everyone else is like was warm people i remember miss mcfee she was a lawyer she was one of the my sponsor one of my sponsors, which is the women's group from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, she said, this is not cold. Wait until you come to winter. That's cold.