Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lost in Translation: My American Journey

My American Journey

            Many people dream of living on American soil, but I was not one of them. For me, it was more like I was forced. I grew up always being reminded that I should not get attached too much because we would soon migrate to America. I never took it seriously since we waited for almost nineteen years. My mother was on an immigration petition list even before I was born. I was just lucky enough to be included in her petition. The original plan was just to get a visitor’s visa to visit my grandmother, but we were too late. She already passed away before all the legal papers and visa were approved. Living now in America, particularly Chicago had me longing more for my old life back in the Philippines. At first, I thought it would be easy for me to cope with living here, but I was wrong. The communication between my family, relatives, and friends is different now. I feel detached, and not at ease.

            The minute I stepped into the United States, I immediately realized that everything would change. I could no longer live the life that I had gotten used to. Back in the Philippines, my family usually shared in preparing our meals and setting of the table every dinner to eat and to chat. Even though everyone in our family did have school and work, no one would forget to always eat together and interact with each of our family members every day even if everyone was busy. In my new life in Chicago, I mostly prepare my own food and eat my dinner alone since my mom comes home late and is already tired while my dad in the Philippines, which is fourteen hours ahead of Chicago.

            In addition since coming in Chicago, I left many people I cared about. I was close to my father’s side family since they were the ones I grew up with. We had a strong bond that I miss. My relatives were like my brothers and sisters since I don’t have any siblings. We usually went shopping and just hung out after my classes and their yoga sessions and work. When I came here, all of that was gone. I have relatives in Chicago but I don’t see them much. However, when we have family gatherings they mostly have different interests and mostly are always busy working. I cannot ask them to even join me for a snack or a little chat since they live far away from us. Observing how they live here, I wish in the future I do not end up like them. They are so driven in their work that they have forgotten the people around them.

            Besides being apart from my family and relatives I was also separated from my friends. I am a shy person, so finding friends is hard for me. Living here in Chicago did not just break my connection with my friends but also gave me a burden of many strong sudden migraine and headaches because I am not used to the weather. I did try making friends here in Chicago, but sadly I find some not friendly or approachable since almost all of them are so fond of their electronic devices. Back in the Philippines, I had the chance to meet many great people, and most of them became my friends. We all bonded and always helped each other out. That all changed when I flew to this country. It was really a hard transition for me since I don’t have any friends here anymore. I can’t talk to them all the time since there is a fourteen-hour time difference. When it’s daytime here, it’s night there. The only way we all communicate is by social media sites. My life has really changed a lot since coming here because I feel like my world turned upside down. The only people back in the Philippines that really find time for chats are my dad, my family, and my boyfriend.

            Living in Chicago has given me many challenges, and I know I will be facing a lot more in the future. It still frustrates me now that I am still not like the many people who dream of living on American soil. I am still adjusting and still accepting this new chapter of my life. Even if I can no longer live the life I had in the Philippines, I know in time I will be able to cope and maybe be able to combine my two lives again and be happier on my American journey.

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