to the Philippines and beyond..
I’m going to the Philippines for a whole month to teach! Is it weird that a “dream come true” means going back HOME?! I’m so excited for this. I’m grateful for the opportunity to become an infuential part of the dance community there, but I’m also looking forward to go back to my roots and learn about the culture I’ve left for 19 years. Thank you, Fao for opening this up to me.
Some people go to the Philippines for a short while to experience the great parts of it—like the exotic islands and all the touristy parts, but I know a different experience. I grew up in a house where water shut off every night at a certain time and in order to have a HOT bath, we had to boil water on the stove. We didn’t have a flush in our toilet… we had to manually pour buckets of water down the toilet in order to drain it. We also had a water pump in our front yard if we ever needed more. In the school I went to, we didn’t have toilets either… we used squatters. Those are really uncomfortable for me :/ Every night when we went to sleep, we had to protect ourselves from mosquitoes and insects by hanging a net over our beds. I remember there being lots of spiders and flies almost everywhere. In the morning, our rooms were shaded by geckos that stuck themselves all over our windowpanes. My grandma owned a big pig that eventually gave birth to other pigs. We also had chickens and roosters. I always thought these were pets, but my uncles eventually turned them to dinner. My grandpa built his own house out of bamboo on a lake. He had ducks and other things swimming in it all the time. On the way there, you can see the countryside.. people riding waterbuffalos.. and even people bathing naked on the side of the streets.. It’s pretty funny. My sisters and I were left there with my relatives, while my parents tried to secure a home and their careers in America. We communicated by recording casette tapes of us singing.. mailing it back and forth. They always sent us American food and all sorts of American things. I tasted milk for the very first time after I moved to California. That was my life in the Philippines.
The Philippines is soo different, but because my early childhood was formed there, I’ve always felt a deep connection to the country and culture. It’s formed a big part of who I am and the things I value in life. I also owe this to my aunts and uncles who raised me under the custom Filipino traditions. It reminds me of the things I take for granted here in the U.S.. I really appreciate these kinds of places—ones that aren’t so fortunate as America. It’s gonna be a humbling experience to be there. I also appreciate the hard work of my parents for wanting a better life for our whole family. They worked hard so that we could all be in the land of opportunity. Without their dream of coming here, I wouldn’t be able to live out my dreams like I am now. Thanks Mom and Dad! You’re the best!
I might have a hard time adjusting to the lifestyle in the Philippines, but.. it’s HOME and places like this are great teachers. I really can’t wait to become a part of this community and to meet the amazing people of this country.
Thank you, Lord. I hope for the best.