I came into the world in the 70s, born in the warm and inviting islands of the Philippines. My young, immigrant parents were already pursuing their life-long dream of moving to the U.S. By the time I was 10 months old, I had already received my passport and we were just a few months away from going on my first trip on a plane to move to the land of opportunity. While I have a strong cultural tie to the Philippines, my first real home is the U.S. and primarily in Texas, where I was taught my kind manners and big personality.
I learned to smile at strangers, step aside for others to keep the wide, open space between us and say excuse me. Texans love to chitchat, divulge personal stories to barely-met new “friends” and try to never say no, whether that be a good or bad thing. We Texans are really, really nice, until you piss us off. Then, we are required to cool down with a 64 oz. (that’s nearly 2 liters!) Big Gulp cup filled to the brim with ice and soda, especially in 40C+ heat. Even though I’ve tried my hardest to cover up the “ya’ll” and “git” from my vocabulary, it is the warmth and openness that I desire to always keep no matter where I moved to.
Move I did. Texas is a big state, but I always wanted more than what I grew up with. This deep longing to go outside the bubble came around the time I was in college. I was fascinated by Europe after taking a 3 month backpacking trip and visiting 8 countries in an exhaustive, whirlwind tour. I discovered my love of Euro-pop music, contemporary fashion, old world architecture and the Swedish culture (I was a huge Ace of Base fan back in the 90s). Somehow, I knew I wanted to be with a Swede. The opportunity came when I met a small-town, Swedish exchange student and he literally rocked my world. Fast forward 20+ years later, and amazingly, we are still together. We have trekked the globe – honeymooning in Kenya, soaking in baths in Hungary, living in India and viewing volcanoes in the Philippines. The adventure still continues to this day.
After living in Sweden for several years and moving around the U.S., we wanted the best of both worlds and decided to try and live in Canada. It was certainly a compromise of both types of political systems, but we are super glad that we decided to come here. Luckily, my husband received a lucrative job offer in Canada, so we moved to Toronto. We now reside in the bustling and exciting area of midtown with our lovely daughter, doggy-daughter Marshmallow and Mochi the hamster. Life is sweet.
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