Luckily, I stumbled upon a newspaper ad where a company was looking for a secretary. I phoned and asked if I could drop off my resume. Since it was close to my parents’ place, I brought my daughters along, dropped off my application and then went to my parents for a visit. As soon as we were about to go home, I received a call. The woman told me that the manager was calling me in for an interview the next day. My family, kids and I were as excited as we could imagine. The next morning I asked my mother to look after my children while I went to my interview. When I arrived to the address that the lady gave me, I was surprised to find myself in a residential area with old Spanish vintage houses. They stood around me with their beautifully designed eight-foot high gates with crafted loops on top surrounded by seven-foot high white-coated 2x2 foot large brick walls. These houses were like the ones I saw in the movies where the gang leader lived! Oh my God, it was so creepy. At that point I thought I misunderstood the address, so I thought I might as well ask if I had the right place. As I approached the gate, a shiny black 1987 Bluebird tinted car gave a quick honk at the gate and a security guard opened it. When the car drove past, I peaked inside and saw a long driveway with a cream painted veranda and big mahogany doors, thick and etched nicely but I could not figure out what design was on there.
All of a sudden the back window rolled down and the man in his 30s said, “You must be Annie, come on in!”
I was stunned and said, “Yes.” I followed the car and the security man stopped me to sign in and leave my identification. I deliberately handed it to him and signed the visitor’s book. I saw a lot of names listed as I quickly browsed the logbook. He must have taken many interviews beforehand, but I was the first on that day.
I looked at the guard and asked, “Who was that man?”
He said, “He is Mr. Tamara, the owner of this company. What is your purpose here? Would you please indicate on the reason column.”
I replied, “Ah I see, so I’m not lost then. I have an interview with him.” I signed and he guided me to the front door. Once inside, I was surprised to see rows of tables and chairs of the same colour and style, and people were doing different things at each table. I recall seeing approximately 20 people and everyone was busy. I quickly scanned the area and saw one person on the phone, others talking to the person next to him, one was heading to a white coloured photocopy machine in the corner, and some were working away.
As we walked pass them, we went through a sliding door and the guard asked me to wait on one of the small couches. Then he approached a lady with a short bob hair cut with a portion of her bangs teased up that you see in the 80s. She was wearing a solid pink blouse and navy blue slacks, he spoke to her, gave me a grin and left.
She looked at me and said, “You may come in now for your interview.”
I stood up and composed myself. “Thank you, Miss.” I went in and saw the same man from the car sitting in his chair with his arms leaning on the largest table I have seen in my life. His head was bowed over my application. I did not wait for him to greet me, instead I said “Hello, Sir. I’m Annie”.
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About the Author
Annie Chua was born in the Philippines and today she is a proud citizen of Canada. She is a mother, grandmother and entrepreneur. She enjoys curling and deeply appreciates living in Edmonton, AB. This is her first book
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite Domestically Yours by Annie Chua sets out to show one woman’s experience of the Canadian Care-Giver Programme, after changes were implemented to include non-Europeans, giving them the opportunity to obtain permanent citizenship and bring families to join them. Canada needed care-givers; two salaries were required to run a home and the help available had to be both qualified and affordable. The first half of the book explains the circumstances that caused Annie to leave her four daughters with her estranged husband. The second part recounts her experiences working as a care-giver in Edmonton, Alberta, and then the various jobs she had to find to raise money for a home. Annie Chua was born in Paranaque City near Manila in the Philippines into a poor, but hard-working family who gave her the best education they could. Her ambition to be a doctor was thwarted when she fell in love with Bong and married, aged twenty. Following the death of their second daughter, Karoline, Bong started drinking to excess. A reconciliation resulted in the birth of a fifth daughter, but Bong did not support his family. Divorce wasn’t an option in the Catholic Philippines, but Annie’s situation called for desperate measures. Her story is an inspiration to anyone determined to turn their life around for the sake of their children. Domestically Yours also contains a great deal of practical “how to” information, interwoven with Annie’s own battles with bureaucracy. The account of her time in Canada before she is free and financially able to relocate her daughters is heart-breaking at times, but it also paints a vivid picture of a beautiful country.
Reviewed by Valerie Rouse for Readers' Favorite Domestically Yours: A Caregiver’s Inspiring Journey is an engaging tale about Annie Chua’s path to a new life in Canada. Annie was always intrigued by the caregiver system of employment. She decided to apply as she wanted to secure a better life for her children. This Filipino native knew what hard work entailed and she did several jobs in order to fund the fees for the application process. She was jubilant when she found out that she was successful in becoming a Canadian caregiver. Annie worked for two years in Edmonton. After this period, she would be eligible to become a permanent resident. Despite the odds, Annie became a permanent resident and subsequently relocated her four girls to Canada. They flourished in this new environment and later became Canadian citizens. Domestically Yours: A Caregiver’s Inspiring Journey is truly inspiring. The self-penned autobiography by author Annie Chua is very interesting and descriptive. I enjoyed reading her account of her experiences as a new permanent resident, which exudes lots of enthusiasm. The language used is colloquial and is easy to understand. I love the fact that the author was able to display her tough spirit. Not once did she throw in the towel and decide to give up her dream of living the good life in her adopted homeland. This tenacity is admirable and the average reader can really learn a lot from this story. In addition, the book has a wealth of information for readers who might be interested in becoming future caregivers in Canada or elsewhere. This novel is a source of realistic inspiration and I recommend it to all readers who appreciate positive stories.
Reviewed by Jessyca Garcia for Readers' Favorite Domestically Yours: A Caregiver's Inspiring Journey by Annie Chua is a story about how one woman decided to leave her family in order to provide a better life for them. Annie Chua, a single mom, left her family in the Philippines for over two years in order to work as a caregiver in Canada. It took three more years after that before her family was able to live with her. She did this because it was the best possible solution in order to support her family. This is the story of her journey and how she made her dreams come true. Anna Chua made a tough decision that few mothers could make in order to give her children a better life. In 2003 she decided to leave them and work in another country for two years. In Domestically Yours: A Caregiver's Inspiring Journey, Chua tells of the steps she took in order to become a caregiver. She also describes what she went through to get her children to come live with her in Canada. I liked that Chua told of her first reaction to seeing snow. I forget that not everyone has experienced snow. This book is more than just Chua’s story of how she became a caregiver; it is also a guide of what to do to become a caregiver in Canada as well. Personally, I never thought of looking in a different country for someone to take care of a family member, much less going to a different country to watch someone else’s family members. I cannot imagine being away from my child for a day. I do not know how Chua made it through five years. I am happy that Chua was able to achieve her dream. I thought that Chua’s story was interesting and very informative. This will be a good book to read if you or someone you know is interested in being a live-in caregiver. This is also a good book if you like to read about strong women.
Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite Domestically Yours: A Caregiver's Inspiring Journey is the autobiographical story of how Annie Chua changed her life, and that of her family, when she made the decision to pursue her dream of leaving the Philippines to become a permanent resident in Canada. She wrote this book to explain the daunting process of application. Her story begins with what life was like for her in Manila – married at 21 to Bong, she had, in time, five daughters. She had achieved well educationally and gained a degree in psychology and was a hard worker who found good jobs. Sadly, one of her daughters died at age two. She and her husband separated and she began her application process to the 24 Months Live-In–Caregiver Program in Canada. This is a way for people to gain entry to the country as child care or elderly care workers. After two years they may apply for permanent residency for themselves and for their family members who have waited in their country of origin. Domestically Yours is not just a guide for anyone wishing to pursue the route of obtaining residency in Canada. While Chua explains the process, the difficulties and solutions at each lengthy stage of the application journey, the book is also a record of her own inspiring determination to find a better way of life for herself and her young daughters. The author explains that the details of the process may have changed since, but this is a book that encourages those who feel the need to aspire to a new life to persevere, find out all they can and begin the process. While plenty of factual information is given, the book is wonderfully honest on a personal level as Annie Chua tells the reader about her doubts, patience, the culture shock and the adjustments she needed to make. I couldn’t help feeling thrilled that after several setbacks and the way she sacrificed five years of seeing her children growing up everything worked out wonderfully well for her and her family. Annie was always a determined and conscientious hard worker (her work ethos coming from her upbringing) and so her eventual starting and running her own business in Canada in order to find further self-fulfillment and meet her family’s financial needs is not surprising. An interesting read that inspires all to follow their dreams.