Becoming an American without Losing My Roots, Part 2

Becoming an American without Losing My Roots, Part 2

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I needed to
resign my Filipino citizenship after I took my oath as a US citizen. It was a heartbreaking technicality.  
 

Though
having lived right here for nearly 20 years, I need to admit I’ve modified. My dancing turned from
disco and ballroom to nation and rock, my singing from pop to nation, and my
garments from blouses and skirts to tank tops and shorts. My kitchen is shifting
from cooking pancit and lumpia to grilling steaks and baking pies. My on a regular basis
dialog has turn into American English, not Tag-lish. 

Nonetheless, my sixty
years of Filipino upbringing are a stable basis. I felt misplaced after I
was thrust right into a largely white neighborhood of RVers, assembly solely a handful of
African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American {couples} in eight years. Even in
Viewpoint’s 1000’s of households, there are solely three Filipinos.

When I’m
with kababayans, I readily shift to Tagalog as a result of that’s how I believe.
That’s why I can confuse genders. Tagalog phrases, aside from people who connote
respect like kuya for older brother and ate, older sister, are
the identical. Son or daughter is anak; spouse or husband, asawa; brother
or sister, kapatid. Talking in Tagalog will at all times be simpler for me.

I miss
genuine Filipino meals, too. A sandwich isn’t an entire meal as a result of there’s
no rice. Pan de sal (bread) is just for snacks or breakfast. The Philippine
mango remains to be my favourite fruit. And I’ll by no means erase the truth that my pores and skin
is brown, and my nostril is small. Nor do I need to change any of those.

Once I meet
Filipinos worldwide who’re sacrificing not being with their households to eke
out {dollars} to ship residence, I determine with the homesickness. And I take satisfaction in
Filipino triumphs and really feel compassion for Filipino difficulties.  These will at all times be my automated impulses.

However there may be
a deep kinship between the Philippines and America. We share the Pacific Ocean
and with it, the treacherous Pacific Ring of Hearth. Spain colonized the American
Southwest and the Philippines on the similar time. Filipino nurses, academics, and
seamen are a part of US hospitals, colleges, and ships. And July 4 is doubly
significant for, on that day in 1946, the US gave us our independence, 170 years
after she received her personal.

There are additionally massive variations. The Philippines is a tropical archipelago
of seven,641 islands whereas the US is extra of an enormous contiguous temperate landmass.
Vegetation and wildlife are completely different. The vast vistas of the Nice Plains, the
desert panorama of the Southwest, and the glaciers of Alaska are so completely different
from what I knew as a baby.

At first, I
despaired for my homeland after I noticed that American methods are way more
developed. However no extra. The Philippines is simply 78 years outdated; the US is already
248. And it was America who laid the muse for Philippine highways,
colleges, and public administration. There may be purpose, time, and room to develop!

I can’t
be capable of recapture the life I left within the Philippines. Different individuals are not
as clannish as these with Spanish heritage like us. Typically friendships we construct
right here transfer distant to completely different states or international locations. The excellent news is that
America is transferring away from being a melting pot. Pockets of individuals can
protect their traditions and cultures, besides whenever you marry into one other
tradition like I did.

Once I discovered that the Philippines is among the few international locations the place
the US permits twin citizenship, I heaved a sigh of reduction. However the nearest Philippine Consulate was in Los
Angeles so it took me two years to get the prospect to do it. On Oct. 13, 2013, I
re-pledged my loyalty to my fatherland and have become a Filipino-American.  

I didn’t
get boiled right into a thick soup melting within the pot. As an alternative, I received included in a
colourful chunky stew, contributing to the style, however retaining sufficient of my
form, coloration, and taste. On this privileged perch, I see my creating
homeland from the attitude of my developed residence base. I’ve
an enviable twin mission: serving to the Philippines as an American and contributing to
America as a Filipino.

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Alex Lorel

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