Coming to America means a lot of different things to different people. For some, it’s a land of opportunity and growth. For others, it’s a sanctuary from a land that they can no longer call home due to violence, war, or poverty. No matter what brings people here, one thing is certain: they want what’s best for themselves and their families.
It wasn’t until going to the Philippines myself that I saw that this was their reality for a long time before coming to America.
I can’t express how thankful I am that my parents immigrated to the United States. If they hadn’t, I surely would’ve been born in the Philippines (or not at all!), where life would have been significantly harder. After visiting there with my mom and brother in 2008, it was startling how true all those anecdotes my parents told me were. I thought growing up that they were exaggerating the hardships that fell upon them. It wasn’t until going to the Philippines myself that I saw that this was their reality for a long time before coming to America.
I’m also very thankful that my mom’s siblings came along with their families. My mom has remained very close to her siblings, which has allowed me to have a close relationship with them and all my cousins on that side of the family. I love my cousins deeply and have so many wonderful memories with them. If their parents hadn’t moved here, I wouldn’t have had those opportunities to get to know my extended family.
Reading these tales helps me realize that you’re never going to be 100% sure when you take the plunge to move. Being nervous and scared is completely normal.
I’ve lived in Texas all my life. I would like to move somewhere else (still within the U.S.) eventually but I’ve always been afraid to. Not only that, but I was enjoying Austin too much to want to go anywhere else. Reading these tales helps me realize that you’re never going to be 100% sure when you take the plunge to move. Being nervous and scared is completely normal. It’s realizing that this fear is temporary that is important. A lot of good things in life that are worth doing can be scary, right? Like asking someone out. Or trying out a new hobby. Or setting out to accomplish a dream. It’s tough and nerve-wracking at first, but it can be worth it in the end. If only for the experience, even if it doesn’t work out.
I’ve never been very good at expressing gratitude or love in person with words when it comes to my family. (Heck, for the longest time, my brother and I did this sort of head butt thing with our dad rather than give him kisses.) So I hope that this series suffices in its own right. It’s my love letter to the family that got me where I am today. My only regret is that it took me so long to ask the right questions, listen to the stories, and tell them.
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