If you asked me how I would define home a few years ago I would have never given you a concrete answer. In fact, I probably would have changed the subject all together because it was so difficult for me to talk about. I moved to Canada when I was 9 years old after my parents decided to seek a better life for my brother and I. (Picture this: tiny Filipino girl packing up her life, flying to a strange, cold country and very afraid of what the future holds). At the time, I did not understand why they asked me to leave my friends and the simple small town life that I absolutely adored. I was extremely homesick for a while and I would cry often because I felt so out of place in my new “home”. The only communication platform available to me was friendster (yes, it was that long ago) but the time difference made it difficult to chat with my friends. Sometimes I wrote them letters but after a few instances where I did not get a response I decided it would be best to focus on building a new life in Canada.
This is how most immigration stories began, and I’m very proud of how far my family has come after those first few adjustment years.
Fast forward to today, I can truly say that I am happy to call two places home and I formed my own definition of the word. Part of me will always be deeply rooted in the Philippines. The culture, the warmth of the people, and the colourful traditions have shaped me to be who I am today. However, I owe a lot of my change and growth to Canada because it showed me what it truly means to seize the moment and accept opportunities. I am 100% Filipino Canadian and I wouldn’t change a thing.
I was inspired to write this post after a recent trip back to Gasan, Marinduque in the Philippines (my original hometown).