Tuesday, March 24, 2009

For Ada Lovelace Day: My Mom, The Cobol Cowboy

In honour of Ada Lovelace day, we're to blog about the unsung heroes in the field of technology; specifically, those wonder women who are our role models, but just don't get enough credit!

Well, Mom, you are really amazing.

Delia L.

My momma graduated at the age of 20 with a Mathematics degree from Ateneo University, Philippines. She was a smart cookie who taught FORTRAN and BASIC to fellow college students as a T.A.

At the youthful age of 24, she moved away from her family, friends, and sunny tropical home to freezing cold Calgary, Alberta, then Regina, Saskatchwan, Canada. She worked as a consultant programmer and systems analyst there. I don't know much about this time in her life, but I bet it was cool seeing all that snow, the downside being... all that snow.

Luckily, in 1981, she got hired at Teledyne in California as a Senior Analyst/Programmer. She managed to wrangle her boyfriend to move across the world to be with her, and they got married. Hi Dad!

And then she had me. I had a lot of fun as a kid. We went to Disneyland like a billion times. Unfazed by my bouts of febrile seizures and chronic bronchitis, she continued to work as a developer for the government as well as at Honda, often as the sole designer, developer and maintainer on programming projects.

At some point she gave birth to my brother. At home. In her bed. (Ouch?) So, now she had to deal with a mischievous boy ironically named Christian and his jealous big sister who got in trouble at school sometimes.

Unfortunately, life as an immigrant in the US is hard. We moved to Canada, the land of open arms, and Mom had *another* kid, giving him a doubly-biblical name of Abel Jacob, probably hoping it would give him twice the changes of being a good boy.

At the same time, she busted her hump at Telus as a Systems Specialist and project lead and made big bucks. Mom really brought home the bacon, so to speak, even though she doesn't eat pork anymore. We had a huge half a million dollar home with a bridge in it. And she still managed to work, part-time or telecommuting, whatever had to be done, to raise us rambunctious kids right.

We went on tons of trips around the world, including to Austria to see the 1999 eclipse, though we didn't appreciate it at the time.

My mom is a 29-year veteran of Cobol, knows UNIX way better than I do, has mad skillz in database systems I've never even heard of, and even programmed in ASSEMBLER for 2 whole years. That is hard core.

She speaks 3 languages fluently. Her English is better than mine (how come you know more vocabulary than me, Mom?) along with perfect Tagalog and Fookien.

We always thought she was a little nuts, constantly getting suckered into Amway and other pyramid schemes, clicks flashing ads on the internets, and wearing green socks with a red skirt. But now that I'm facing the imminent challenge of starting a family and continuing with a career in technology, I can't help but admire her intelligence, courage and determination.

My mom is a super woman.

Edit: She even corrected my spelling mistake. Oops, thanks proof-reader!

2 comments:

Gail Carmichael said...

Aww, really great post! One of my faves from today for sure!

Angelica said...

Wow, thanks Gail! <3