My Story: Migrating To USA
It's been 7 years ago since we had migrated and when I think about how I feel during those first years, it carves a smile on my face.
Most would probably be imagining life and money is easy here in the US. That's what I heard about my friends, schoolmates, neighbors or people's comments when they happen to know my mom is in the US and our papers are being process to live with her I don't know how it's like in your country, but in the Philippines, most Filipinos would assume a comfortable US life, driving a car, good job, and most of all having all the money one can have. Sorry to pop your bubble but if that's what you think too, this is my story:
I spent my last few months like the way I use to spend it, I don't go out often, so much of my time was spent at home. I'm the opposite of those teens who would spend their whole day or most of the week going out. I'd rather stay at home. And If i do go out, I would head to my bestfriends house or visit my other girl friends once or twice a week and that's it. And of course, texting. Texting is just so in and I have quite a number of textmates at that time. Some I got from reading the tabloid Bulgar or from my friends. I love reading the "Palmistry" and "Astrology" section of that tabloid and one of my ways of killing time since our television wasn't working. I had stopped school too (had done only the first semester of Computer Science) since we're busy processing our papers and we have to travel and stay to Bulacan to my uncle's place, our visa and all the last few things that needs to be taken care of are almost done.
But on the deepest of my thoughts, I always wonder and imagine how it would be like for me. I know myself I'm a negative thinker and I do imagine new schools, new people, and that maybe people aren't gonna be that nice to me.
Then on our last day in the Philippines, dad, I, and my younger brother said our good byes to our relatives in Bulacan and spent the rest of the day to another relative in Manila which is going to drive us to the airport.
Mom and her two friends picked us up from LA airport and drove to San Diego to where mom lives, to my uncle's house. It's late in the evening, probably midnight or passed midnight when we arrived. We ate some pasalubong (food or items you bring on your travel to give to people) and mom's friends enjoyed the balut. Then they head home. And we tiredly went to sleep that night.
The following day
As I woke up on that first San Diego morning, I look out the window. It was quite, I rarely see people walking. Pretty big decent houses on the neighborhood with plants that lines the path. It is so new to me. I used to wake up in the morning to the sound of the neighbors music, or hearing some animals noise. And when I got up and look at the roadside, I would see neighbors having a morning chit chat, multi-cabs and buses passing by full of students.
Back to that first San Diego morning, As I see one neighbor pulled out of their driveway, I asked mom "Whose that neighbor mom?" And it surprised me when mom answered " I don't know. I barely see the neighbors."
I said why not? "Well, people here are busy working. They hurried to work in the morning, go home as the day ends, sleep, and the cycle begins again" she said.
As the day goes on, I learned more about US life.
I used to hear my cellphone beeping. But then it was now a deafening silence. I would text my friends but most of the time they won't text back as it cost P15 for them while it will only cost about 10 cents from me.
In the Philippines, specially in the provinces, neighbors and friends would just show up in your door knocking. But here, you have to call first and let that people know you are planning to drop by to their place.
I used to pick fresh mangoes to a nearby tree when I feel like eating a mango fruit. Fresh fish and vegetables too are available from a 5 minute drive market place. Here, one has to go to the grocery store to buy stocks of vegetables and fruits. And who knows how far those fruits had traveled and how long they had been on the "Produce" section before you got there.
Back there, neighbors grew to be friends and much like relatives. One knocking on a neighbors door with a bowl of what they had cooked for lunch or for dinner. Here, though we had became friends with one neighbor, most words we exchange with most are "hi" or "hello, how are you?" if both happened to be on their own driveways.
Back there, life appears to be easier and people enjoying it. I started seeing US life evolves on work and more work, knowing some people having 2 or 3 jobs just to keep up with expenses. On their off day, most time are spent house cleaning, laundry, grocery and some more errands, thou there's also some parties or birthday celebration sometimes to attend to.
I'm passed over my homesickness now, and started to love living here. But this experience of mine is just to show that living here wasn't the US life most of my schoolmates and neighbors assumed it to be.