Last week, a random question popped up in my Miitomo app: “What’s one of your bittersweet memories?,” and it brought me back to that time Roan came home to the Philippines to get me. Exactly a year ago today, I immigrated to the US, and this was my answer to the question.
I’ve been debating whether to write this or just let the day go by without anyone else (other than myself and my family) realizing that it’s been a year since I left. I thought my answer to the question couldn’t have been more fitting because even a year later, I still miss home. Although nothing out of the ordinary, I kind of miss my routine back when I was living with my family. I didn’t see a lot of my friends all the time, but hanging out with my brothers was enough. I was that kid, and still am, except I have Roan to hang out with and take care of now.
You know what, though? Something good came out of being away from home for this long. I discovered more about myself and my husband, too. I realized that immersing myself into the Western culture made me understand them more, and disprove some of the common misconceptions most Filipinos have about them. One can never understand this until he lives in a foreign country with completely different lifestyle and traditions.
I would say that I had an eventful first year here in the US, and it’s more than I could have imagined. Travelling to different cities and neighboring states, as well as going to live concerts, have got to be the highlight of my year. How can I forget that Friday we watched Paramore‘s concert, and flew to Las Vegas at 6 in the morning the next day? We don’t even remember much from our 24-hour escapades there!
Only two months since I left, Dad visited us in San Diego from his 3-day business trip in Chicago. I can’t tell you how excited I was to see him again and have him over even for just a few days. My first 4th of July was sort of special, too, since my auntie came over to visit from San Jose. In the same month, we witnessed Imagine Dragons‘ amazing concert, which almost felt like a lights and sound show, too!
In August, we mindlessly traded Roan’s Camaro SS in for a full-size SUV. Five days later, for Labor Day Weekend, we embarked on a last-minute journey to San Francisco to explore the city with my cousins. In October, another dream came true when we watched CHVRCHES perform live. We even danced with the crowd!
November was not as eventful as I had imagined, but we spent Thanksgiving Day with Roan’s side of the family. Two of my favorite meals were the home-made beef stroganoff and mashed potato! Although I missed my family more during the Christmas season, I was happy to have spent the winter holidays with my relatives (from Dad’s side of the family) in Palm Springs, and experienced snow for the first time!
January, being the first month of the year, inspired us to take on a quick trip to see the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It remains to be one of the most amazing and adventurous trips we’ve ever made! For the first time in many years, Roan and I got to spend Valentine’s Day together, and agreed that it’s not any more special than spending time on a normal day. In March, I finally had a job, and it’s probably the best way to close my first year here in the US.
Although I’ve been away from home for a year today, I always try to remember what Manila looks like when I left. In my head, I can still envision what my room (now my brothers’) used to look like. I try to retain in my memory, the usual route to and from the usual places I used to go to. I want these little things to stay in my head for as long as I can until Roan and I get a chance to come home to visit again. I want to still feel and act like a local for when I come back, and not be treated as otherwise. I left a piece of my heart in the Philippines, and I always will.