Thelma Nullar

“I arrived here in Belgium in May 1995 as an au pair. I entered as a tourist but was able to get a job as a nanny, as a cleaner; anything related to the household, trinabaho ko ‘yun.”

When I came here, I was so ambitious. My dream is to work abroad and to have a diploma because I came from a very poor family, and my parents did not have the means to send me to school. So I really have to work hard for my own future.

I thought it was a good idea to get French lessons dahil iyon ang way para makakuha ako ng diploma dito, plus the fact that private schools in English are very expensive. In 2005, I had a chance to enter a French school, and I managed to finish my Bachelors in Secretarial Direction in three and a half years.

After finishing school, I took the chance to use my diploma to open a business with my partner. Then I thought, what about a Filipino restaurant? There are no Filipino restaurant in Brussels, and most of my clients are asking if there are any Filipino restaurant in the city. So I thought it is a good idea not only to have a business but also to promote Philippine culture through food. This is how we have Bahay Kubo now.

It is not an easy job, especially for me. Tuesdays to Sundays, I work in Bahay Kubo full time. When it opens, I am here; when it closes, I am in my office as if there is no weekend. But I am still here, and I continue to grow. I hope that most of the Filipinos who will see this will be inspired. Even though you are in a foreign country, you can still follow your dreams with your motivation to get those dreams.

I am proud to be a Filipino because not only do we have a beautiful country, but also because we have a very talented people.

Article lifted from DFA Belgium Facebook Page

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