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.
Snippets of a Life Well Lived
My mom was gracious enough to send me an unsolicited email with more anecdotes from her first few years living in the states. These didn’t quite make it into her chapter, so I’ve included them in their entirety below. (Also, spoiler alert: my mom says “shit” and I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve ever heard/read my mom curse. It’s weird.) Continue reading “Leaving Home: Chapter 6”
This chapter of the series is dedicated to my lola. Although I didn’t have the chance to sit down with her myself to ask her about her journey to the states, I’m thankful that my mom was able to on my behalf.
This chapter of the series is dedicated to my mom. I would like to thank her for all the help she’s been throughout this entire project. She emailed out and collected all the questionnaires. She also wrote down my dad’s answers and was extremely detailed with her own answers, which made for an amazing story. And, of course, I’d like to thank her for making that scary journey in the first place. If it wasn’t for her and dad taking a chance and moving here, my life wouldn’t be as great as it is now. Thank you, mom! Love you!
This chapter of the Leaving Home series is dedicated to my dad. If it weren’t for him following my mom to America, I wouldn’t be here. Thank you for coming here to give me a wonderful life! Love you!
November of 1984, Ed immigrated to the United States at the age of 28. He came two years after the immigration of his girlfriend – now wife – Benita, who had promised that she would return home after two years. Benita had decided that March to not renew her contract with the hospital she had been placed with in Paris, Texas but to instead move to Dallas with friend and fellow nurse Nida. The public hospital Parkland had accepted her and would be her new sponsor. Because she was now a new employee, she didn’t have any vacation time that she could use to go home to the Philippines to see Ed. Continue reading “Leaving Home: Chapter 3”
Adjustments & Surprises
The long journey behind them, the six Filipinos set out separately and at different times of their lives to make this new place their home. It would of course take some adjusting. Dee said that the most difficult thing to adjust to was “the weather and people.” Joy also voiced this concern, citing the winter weather of New York that proved very harsh for her after coming from a tropical country. She remembered being so excited to see snow for the very first time. She loved it for the first half hour and then hated it as soon as she could no longer feel her hands or feet.
Pictures, Prayers, and Nerves
The plane ride from the Philippines to the United States is a long one and for four of the six relatives interviewed, it was their very first trip on a plane. They voiced feeling a mixture of excitement, nerves, and fear as they flew across the globe. It proved a bittersweet experience for them, knowing that it would be a long time before they could go back home (visas are tricky like that), but they knew that this was what they had to do. The six of them brought the essentials like clothes and money on the journey. A few brought personal items like family pictures, souvenirs from back home for their family members already in the U.S., and items of their faith like rosaries and prayer books. All brought hopes that this new place would be what they were wanted it to be and more. Continue reading “Leaving Home: Chapter 1”
I’m a first-generation Filipino American, going by the wikipedia definition of “first-generation” as “A native-born citizen or resident of a country whose parents are foreign born.” Both of my parents were born and raised in the Philippines then immigrated to the United States when they were around my age. I was born in Dallas, Texas and lived with them and my older brother before moving to Austin to attend UT for college.