Kimberly Diano – ESL Tutor and Receptionist
I am the youngest of 6 siblings… that might surprise you – but in the Philippines it’s pretty normal to have a large family. I’ve got 4 older brothers and 1 older sister. I am so blessed that God has given me an amazing family.
When I was younger, my brothers used to gang up on me – and I mean that literally! They would tease me and make me cry… so I’ll admit they weren’t my favourite people on the planet back then (fortunately we’ve all grown up since and that has all changed!). I remember we used to fight over lots of things – but mostly over the television. In our household we only had one TV and the rule was whoever had their hands on the remote or turned on the TV first was in control of which channel we ALL watched. Because I was physically smaller than the others, I often missed out as I was pushed out of the way when rushing for the TV or remote control. The consequence? Having to sit and watch my brother’s favorite Japanese Anime. That’s when I got smart! I devised this plan where I would go to sleep early so I could wake earlier than anyone else. I would move out to the sofa early in the morning and turn on the TV – and leave it on! I was now the first person to turn the TV on! 😀 My brothers weren’t very happy – but I sure was!
Not a Big Fan of Lizards
Some people hate cockroaches, bugs, and mosquitoes – I, however, hate lizards.
While some people have challenges explaining a phobia or when they developed a childhood fear – I know exactly when and what the trauma was that started my non lizard-fan point of view.
I was watching TV with my brothers one day and a lizard fell from the ceiling right onto my back and ran inside my in-tucked shirt. ARGH!!!!!!!!! That moment was life and death for me. I was so petrified I couldn’t even speak. I just started crying, looking at my brothers and pointing at my back. In between sobs I tried telling them that there was something inside my shirt crawling on my back. And just as you would expect from my brothers, they just laughed and mimicked me, “ARGH!!!!!!” My father, totally bewildered, ran into the room to find me stuttering “Li….za…rd…..” and pointing at my back.
Even now, I’m still terribly afraid of lizards. And of course, this little reptile became one of my brother’s favourit blackmail techniques when asking me for any favours – help me with this or… lizard!
Moving out of Home
Life goes on. We don’t stay young forever and can’t be dependent on our family all of our lives. So, at the age of 16, I decided to attend College in Cagayan de Oro City which is 8 hours away from my hometown.
For the first 2 years of college I lived in my sister’s house with her family, and the following 2 years I lived alone. People tell me that I am a brave and independent person, and that I am so blessed to be free and have my own life. I believe that too, and I’m most grateful to my parents for trusting and supporting me enough to live my own life.
My view on being independent isn’t about spending time just hanging out and only doing things you enjoy… you still have responsibilities. This was the stage of my life when I began to save money to support my own school projects rather than asking my parents for money. And I was fortunate enough to be given a half scholarship during my studies.
I believe you can always be proactive and solve problems if you focus on moving forward and improving. I’ve always walked home or to school and worked part time jobs. I even volunteered to be the Boarding House Cleaner, and in compensation I was given food by our landlady. I must admit though, there was a moment when I was in tears… I was scrubbing the dirty yellowish toilet bowl at the Boarding House and thought “why am I here?”, “why am I cleaning other people’s dirt?”. This is something I never imagined I would experience. But, when I took time to think of the bigger picture, I was grateful. I am grateful to my landlady for that humbling experience, and it helped me save money for food and eventually graduate college. I hold a degree: Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management, by the way! So it was all worth the effort. 🙂
Right after college, I worked as a secretary for a Korean Clothing Business. My tasks included updating orders, checking emails, answering enquiries, doing some marketing, and serving walk-in guests. You might consider these tasks to just be basic things that any secretary would do – but initially they were very challenging. Why? Because I was working for a Korean company with a strong Korean work ethic. Work needed to be completed ‘before’ deadlines, tasks had to be completed quickly and efficiently, you needed to finish your work before having a break, and work a lot of overtime. I came to adopt these processes and they became second nature, but I can imagine someone with little knowledge of Korean culture being overwhelmed if they were suddenly dropped into that position.
This is something I’ve always wanted to do since I was at Primary School. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and my family was converted into the faith through missionary work. Because of the many blessing I’ve received in my life, especially in my family (yes, even my brothers! 🙂 I had a desire to share the same happiness and blessing with others too. On January 11, 2016 I got called to serve in Korea. I was sent to Provo, Utah Missionary Training Center to learn Korean and trained for 3 months.
When you think of Korea, what pops up in your mind? Kimchi, Korean cosmetics, Kpop? Yes, I’m the same… but I also flash on wonderful memories I experienced with Koreans. I have grown to love them so much!
You might be wondering what I did while I was in Korea. Well, as a missionary, our main purpose is to “invite others to come unto Christ”. We worked everyday from 6:30am to 10:30pm for 15 months. We had daily schedules, set daily goals, planned, evaluated, made appointments, taught English, attended District and Zone meetings, and interacted with the beautiful people of Korea. We talked to them on the street, on the bus, on the subway, … pretty much everywhere we went!
Being assigned to Korea, I had the opportunity to learn Korean. I can read, write and converse in Korean. And I am still continually learning more. Korea was my home for one and half years. There were life lessons that I only learned through my time there. Being in the country, socializing and experiencing the Korean culture has given me an opportunity to see beyond the horizon, broaden my perspective of life, appreciate the people around me, learn to be diligent, and set life goals higher than I ever thought I could achieve. I love Korea!
The Real Life
My mission was over, and now back to the real world…
The month after I got home, I started to look for a job and was hired by a Japanese Company, teaching English online. I’ve enjoyed helping people improve their skills and gain confidence in their ability to communicate.
During this time home I have also noticed something else… as I’ve been out and about I’ve realized that I love to see foreigners – especially Koreans! I love to stop and chat with them – even on the street. I feel this strong desire to help these visitors experience the warmth of our Filipino culture, so I can’t help but give them a big, warm smile.
At this moment in my life I’m also experiencing insights into my growth as a person – from a weakling to a strong individual. I feel this drive to work diligently, retain and improve on my Korean skills, as well as travel to different countries and understand other nationalities and cultures.
I do not want to be stagnant. I want to keep growing, push myself and accept challenges. I believe with my whole being that “Who you are tomorrow begins with what you are today”… I’d be grateful to create the TOMORROW with you TODAY.
For a copy of Kim’s resume please click here.