January 04, 2013

FINALLY, My Hard Work Paid Off: I Naturalized !

Yes, you heard me right, I am now a naturalized Pinoy! HAHAHA. Recto Street Naturalized anyway! It was my last day in the Fraud Unit. I have had the opportunity to work with ALL four of the units in the Consular Section during my time in Manila and I find myself not wanting to leave each of them when the time comes. Today was no different. I have made some really GREAT friends along the way.

Today WAS different because not only was I given a surprise goodbye party last week, but I was given two more today! (NIV had a surprise party for me too, but they had it on a day that I was out doing an investigation in the Province so I was not even there! HAHA).  Last week was Pizza with the staff when I thought we were leaving on 2 JAN.
 But I was able to work throughout this week so we had another party in the morning. SUGAR RUSH PARTY to the MAX! Plenty of laughs to go around. 
Us doing the "Ric J"! We have to tease one of the guys on the team because whenever we take a photo we are all paying attention but him.
Then when 4pm rolled around and we were all getting ready to leave they again gathered around my desk and I was given my Naturalization party. Complete with one of the Local Staff swearing me in as a joke using the exact words that I use at the window with applicants  “Did you read this? Is it true? Do you have questions?” He even used the Tagalog grammar I use (which may or may not be correct but they are too nice to correct me and the applicant is too nervous to care) We all had a great time with that.

Then they presented me with a Naturalization certificate and a flag (that was taped to a chopstick!) Just a background, one of the things we see in Manila often are fake documents and they usually come from and infamous street called Recto where you can purchase ANY kind of fake document (kind of scary I know) So them giving me a fake Naturalization certificate was hilarious. They even gave me full head of dark brown Filipino hair!

I was excited because not only did it have a memory attached, but it showed that they really thought I was part of their group. And it is a group I am proud to be part of. All the local staff here in Manila have been so kind and loving to Lady Hiva and I. It will be hard for us to leave.

They also gave me personalized notes from all of them which Lady Hiva and I read together when we got back. These fellow co-workers are true friends. We got a kick out of some of them…one of them said, “Dust, I learned a lot from you, I did get scared when you were angry, but I learned a lot!” Oh, boy. My poor staff. Lady promptly said, “SEE! I told you that you scare people!” Oops. That is not what I intend to do.

So many memories over the past few years here in Manila. As I said before we have made some GREAT friends. I am proud to say that I worked alongside all of them day by day. Thank goodness for Facebook and other technological advances so we can still stay in touch after we all depart our separate ways!

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