Bebot Alert: Lilly Torreliza
I have known Mama Lilly for more than a decade starting when I was graced to cross roads with her at work. She was my favorite co-worker! Not only did she pack homemade meals for lunch hour for me out of her generous heart, but it is her exemplary leadership at work that inspired me to be a better professional. She is also the reason behind my very special sisterhood with her loving and kind daughters. Naturally young at heart, she can throw down in the kitchen like nobody's business, she is a picture of unshakable faith, and one of the selfless human beings I know. From a co-worker turned mentor to a friend turned Mother. I am so excited to introduce to you a beautiful woman through 5 questions. Here's to We Are Bebot's first Bebot Alert: Lilly Torreliza.
1. What is one struggle you have overcome and how did you overcome it?
I will tell you the story of my journey as a single mom with two adopted girls. I migrated to USA with my daughters without relatives here in the US. My girls at the time were 9 and 10 years old and it was a major risk for me. Our first destination was in Seattle, Washington State. My first priority was to look for a school to work. I worked as a temporary employee at the University of Washington as an Accounting Clerk. We ended up staying in Washington for a year without any knowledge that with 2 kids, the financial struggle was a big load to bear. Through this struggle, it encouraged me to teach my kids to be responsible even in simple house chores like cleaning the kitchen and toilet, and how to do the laundry. It was a major change for them because growing up in the Philippines, a Nanny (equivalent to a Maid) is always by their side. I had to explain to them how we handle our resources and always stick to our budget.
After a year, a friend encouraged us to move to Orange County, California. I worked in an Orange County facility for a year as their payroll. I was so worried in staying in Orange County because my youngest daughter was getting bored at the local school. The school system insisted they take English as Second Language (ESL) classes resulting in one of my daughters to say, "I am not in kindergarten." I explained to them that ESL was a requirement as a grade-school immigrant. Communication was always a priority with my girls because it was the best key to attain our goal as a new family here in the US.
Another day, my daughter said, "School is boring, I don't want to go to school anymore." My heart immediately broke when I heard her statement and pushed me to find another city where my girls would be happy and challenged. After a year, we transferred here in San Diego. My first priority was to look for a school for my girls. I needed to find a good school academically, but also needed a good environment for my girls to learn. They did not like the first school I enrolled them in and I agreed because the environment was not great. Until one day, I transferred them to the Bonita School District where they graduated in elementary and high school. It was easy for them to get involved in many events and associations with the community.
During my kid's high school years, we had one car. My eldest would drop me off early in the morning at my work, then take her sister to school, then go to straight to her job at McDonalds. We did that route for years, until the time my eldest finally saved up to buy her own car.
As teenagers, my daughters did not really know what career path to take. So as a Mom, I kept on motivating them to study and get as much education. I encouraged them to define their goals, and most of all I encouraged them to be responsible women. I always reminded them that no matter how small the task is, always put your heart in it and be responsible. Surely, they decided on a college and graduated with degrees. My youngest graduated from the San Diego Art Institute with a Bachelor's in Arts, and my eldest graduated from University of Phoenix with flying colors and graduated with a Bachelor's in Health Services. When they graduated, I felt as if I am the luckiest Mom on earth because they now have their own capital in life, their knowledge. Both are professionals now. My youngest is married for 4 years but no grand kids yet. My eldest works for the County of San Diego.
I am 71 years of age, retired at 67, and still a single Mom. Happy and proud.
2. Describe your perfect Saturday.
Eating a delicious heavy breakfast specifically any kind of omelet, then go-go shopping!
3. What did a past relationship (romantic or platonic) teach you?
I believe that before you have any type of romantic relationship, love yourself first by finishing college. If you know how to handle your life physically, spiritually, and financially, then you are ready for a relationship.
4. Describe what makes you feel like a Bebot.
I feel like a Bebot when I am around young people in any kind of event. I feel young at heart especially with the friends of my daughters. I cook for them, play games with them, and have fun.
5. What advice can you give to today's generation of women?
We women can dream BIG, if the man can do it, the more we can do it. Love yourself first then you can achieve your goal in life. Work hard on your dream, hunt for the job that will challenge you so you can grow. Be a team player for success.
My first job in the Philippines was a teacher (I had a Bachelor's in Elementary Education). Before the end of the year, I was teaching other teachers in Modern Mathematics. Even though teaching is an important job, sadly, it pays very little in the Philippines. I still taught for 4 years then I went to Manila with my grandmother. One day, we visited Subic City because there was a mass hiring in the Public Works Center. I applied as an Accounting Clerk and they hired me. I loved the job and it had great pay although I told myself that I don't want to be a clerk forever so I enrolled in school again and graduated with a Bachelor's in Accounting. I started as an Accounting Clerk, then a Budget Clerk to a Junior then Senior Budget Analyst. With more hard work, I reached my goal to be promoted as a Budget Officer.
Women, find your skill because we are powerful in our own skills. You can do it. If the men can fly, we fly higher!
Thank you for having my sister and I every Thanksgiving holiday with no invitation needed. Thank you for being our Mom when we needed it most. We love you and we can't help but praise the Creator for a job well done in you.
Always w/ Love, Your Favorite Daughter