Return from the Philippines

I arrived home from my trip to the Philippines late Thursday night. To say that this trip was amazing is the understatement of the year. This trip was necessary. It was emotional, joyous, and difficult. It was worth every penny spent. I couldn’t even say that you could truly put a price on experiences like these. I want to begin my recap, but I honestly don’t even know where to start. I haven’t even fully re-adjusted to my life back home to be able to discuss how much this trip meant to me. But, since I’ve caught a bit of the writing bug on this late Sunday night, I can’t let it pass, so here I go:

On the first day of our arrival in the Philippines, my parents, sister and I were greeted by a mass of our relatives. I had never met my Dad’s side of the family in-person before, but it felt like I’ve known them my entire life. We had lunch together that day and there was no denying that this family was my blood. Everyone was happy, with large smiles on their face to be able to share this first meal with us. That day, I still couldn’t believe that I was physically there.

Throughout the duration of our trip, we traveled to several places; Tagaytay, Batangas, Taytay Rizal, Zambales. We saw many different parts of the Philippines, ate an extraordinary amount of food, did a lot of shopping, and bonded as a family. I find it impossible to fully explain every detail of my trip in this short blog post, but I can say that in the mere two weeks that I was there, I was able to discover a whole new part of my family and myself.

The thing that I love the most about travel is being able to see a side of yourself in a place that you’ve never been before; being faced with unfamiliar situations is a significant part of life. It helps you realize things you never knew before. It helps you learn. It helps you grow.

Now that I’m back home, I’m honestly heartbroken, sad, and missing the time spent with my family. I’m the opposite of homesick. I want to be there instead of here. I’ve realized many things upon returning back from my trip and the main thing is that my family is the most important thing in my life.

Now that I’m back home, I’m realizing that I’m not okay with my life here. I’m not fulfilled, not even content. The only thing that has seemed to bring me true happiness recently is being with my family and enjoying their company. To feel love that powerful scares me. It makes me wonder if I can ever find that kind of love anywhere else in life.

I went home by myself because I have to go back to work on Monday. My parents and sister stayed in the Philippines for an extra week. Being apart from my family while they are still there makes me feel like a piece of me is missing. I don’t even want to dare think of how my life would be without them, but I do and just being separated from them hurts.

I think that throughout my entire life, I’d been looking for a kind of love like this; unconditional love. Aside from family and God, I’m scared that I will never find someone else to love me the way my family does. I don’t think I could even love myself the way my family does. Being back home just reminds me of that.

The trip has enlightened me a great deal. I know they say you can’t find someone to love you until you truly love yourself and I think that was the problem all along for me.

I’m thankful for this trip. I hope to go back to the Philippines soon. But until then, I’m going to keep working on myself.

Advertisements

Two Weeks Until the Philippines

Recently, I’ve been very silent with using this personal blog to disclose my recent experiences and emotions. Instead, I’ve tried expanding my horizons to other Publishing platforms such as Medium, LinkedIn and EliteDaily. However, I can’t fully neglect the base for which I started my writing journey.

So, here I am providing one very large update. Although much has happened in the time since my last real entry, the largest piece of news that I have to offer is this:

I am leaving for my second-ever International trip to my parent’s home country of the Philippines in two weeks.

If you are familiar with my most recent travels, I went to Australia (my very first International trip) last August and it had opened my eyes to the wonders of traveling to a foreign country and being introduced to a different culture.

Personally, this trip to the Philippines is going to mean so much more than just being introduced to a different culture. In fact, it’s not quite different for me at all.

Being raised in a dual-culture environment was a crucial factor towards the person that I’ve become. As a child, it’s difficult to fully commit to one culture or the other, especially if you are a minority. You cannot hide your physical features no matter how hard you try. I’m a Filipino-American, and I was raised in a predominantly Filipino household. However, I more strongly identify myself with being American.

My parents would speak to me in their native language, however, I’d foolishly refuse to learn how to speak. I understood the language, but I chose English instead. It wasn’t until I grew older did I realize how important that part of me is.

I don’t want to say that I regret the choices I’ve made in the past, but I will say that I wish I had made a greater effort to learn my parent’s native tongue and be more immersed in my heritage.

Millions of people came to the United States to pursue the “American dream” Many of whom made this decision for their children; to provide them with opportunities that they could not have had in their home country.

I cannot begin to explain how grateful I am to my parents for coming here. I know that they made this decision for my sister and I. I also know that I will never be able to repay them for the sacrifices that they’ve made for us. However, I do realize all of the things that they left behind for us and I cannot say that it was in vain.

My family isn’t wealthy. We aren’t even on par with the majority of the Middle Class. However, we are happy with what we do have and what we have is something that most people strive for; a loving and supportive family.

Going to the Philippines will be an eye-opener for me. It will show me the bigger picture of where my parents came from, who and what they left behind, and why they are the way they are. I have a feeling that this trip will impact me in many ways and I couldn’t be more excited. There’s just something about going to your place of lineage and discovering your roots.

For many years, I was beginning to doubt if it would ever happen due to financial circumstance, but miracles can and do happen. Things only seem impossible until they are done.

Again, this trip wouldn’t be possible without the help of my parents. They came to America from the Philippines and now they are taking me and my sister back with them.

It’s going to be an amazing journey and I can’t wait to soak up as much as I can -Stay tuned for more

Think.

I’m sure that most of you have heard the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover”

Well, most of the time, we do. Actually, it could be safe to say that some of us always do. It’s human nature though. Sometimes, we just can’t help it.

For example, you fall in love with an apartment that you end up buying, but later find out that it has plumbing issues, the floorboards are crooked, and the bathroom has mold. You probably should have looked into this before signing the paperwork, but you were so blinded by your obsession with the great location, the floor plan layout, and the fact that the building has an elevator with a doorman. It’s hard to think about the negatives when all you see are the positives.

Now, I’m not encouraging anyone to be pessimistic, but I’m starting to think that maybe we should be a little more careful with the decisions that we make in our lives as we get older.

It’s much easier when you were a kid. You had the freedom to make silly decisions because silly decisions were all you had. The consequences weren’t as dire because your parents were usually the ruling hand (aside from teachers) The worst thing that could happen to you is your parents take away your toys and you’re left to sulk in silence. How terrible, right?

As we get older, the consequences that we receive come from all types of outside factors that could change the course of our lives forever.

I recently read a Medium article that my sister shared with me called, “I have 46 Thanksgiving dinners left with my family. After that, I’ll be Dead” It really dawned on me about how little time we have left on this earth. It suggested that we really start appreciating the people in our lives and the time we spend with our family, to stop worrying about the bullshit, and to be present in the memories that we are making.

As we get older, the more important decisions could come down to, “Should I switch job industries?” or “Should I fly out to spend Thanksgiving with my family or just stay here with my friends?”

These are the decisions that could change our lives forever. But I warn you, take a few minutes to step back and really think about what you’re doing because some decisions can’t be made undone.

What if the reason you were changing job industries was because there was another realm of business that “seemed” like it was doing better. Or what if you chose to spend your Thanksgiving with your friends because it would have been too much of a hassle to go home during a holiday?

At the moment, it seems like a minuscule decision, but these are the decisions that could breed the largest consequences.

What if you did change job industries and that business tanked? What if you missed Thanksgiving with your family and that was the last time you could have seen one of your relatives because he or she passed a few weeks later?

Sometimes, certain choices seem more appealing at the time, but as you get older, you can’t judge a book by its cover. You can’t make split second decisions the way that you used to because you don’t have the same time as you did when you were 17. You never know what could happen. Some people come into your life and you want to put all of your cards down on the table for them, but in the end, you wind up alone because they never wanted the same things that you did. You have to look at the signs. You have to read through all the pages. You have to make the decisions that will be better for you in the long run.

I’m not discouraging anyone from taking risks or fulfilling their dreams. That’s not what I’m writing about at all. I’m just encouraging you to think.

It’s true that we become more afraid as we grow older. When we were kids, we would run as fast as we could without the fear of falling or getting hurt. Now, we’re so much more cautious with our hearts. But we must protect our hearts as we get older. That’s why we need to make more conscious decisions with the less and less time we have left on this earth.

Dinner Table Talks

I was sitting on my backyard porch with my parents, Aunt, and Uncle earlier this evening after we barbecued for dinner. I sat there talking with them for several hours just catching up on life and talking about random dinner table topics such as politics, religion, etc. Throughout the conversation, I kept thinking back on how I never really felt comfortable speaking openly about my beliefs, feelings, and thoughts on these kind of topics before. I guess I’ve always felt outnumbered or too immature or maybe that my opinion didn’t matter to them, but over time, I’m realizing that I’m able to speak more confidently about these things now – I guess this would be considered growing up.

As I voiced my opinion and listened to the opinions of my family members about the ever-changing ways of my generation in comparison to theirs, I noticed that I was beginning to agree a lot more with what they had to say.

When we’re young, we often refuse the advice of our elders. We’re too naive or too arrogant to want to believe that our parents could actually be right about the things they tell us when we’re young. We tend to learn things the hard way – through experience. As they say, experience is the best teacher. Until you experience something for yourself, you can never truly understand what someone else is talking about when they try to explain it to you.

I’ve found that as I’m growing older, I’m able to accept many more of the truths that my parents used to tell me when I was young, but refused to accept. The mental age gap is becoming much smaller than it used to be. When I look at my parents’ generation in comparison to mine, the most significant difference that I’ve noticed is how selfish my generation is. Apart from the fact that my parents are immigrants from a foreign country, my generation will be the last to really see what a simpler life looked like.

Talking to family today felt like one of the more eye-opening conversations that I’ve had in quite a while. It’s different than talking to your friends or other people your age because they have the same mentality as you.

The topics that my family and I touched upon had to do with current world issues; Things that actually mattered like natural disasters, disease, and civil rights. Meanwhile, the first thing that I do on a Monday morning is complain about my seemingly tragic problems such as, “He didn’t text me back last night. I hate my life.”

Talking to my family really made me step outside of my life and think about how differently their mindsets were when they were my age in comparison to my mindset on things right now. It seems like it was a much more simple life back when we didn’t have to create our own drama by checking social media and making up stories in our heads about the person we’re dating.

I wish I didn’t have to unnecessarily complicate my life that aren’t actually complicated.

I’m starting to think that my parents’ generation had it right; Their morals, manners, and respect (This may also be skewed because I’m Asian)

I wish I listened to my Mom before making some of the mistakes that I’ve made when it came to relationships, friendships, and reactions to situations.

Maybe if more of my generation would take the two cents from our elders, we’d be a little better off.