On television, I would always see the perfect American family, a happily married couple with a few children. You don’t usually think of just a mother and daughter but that’s what my family was.
I was too young to even notice how different my family was until I grew into a preteen, where if you had even one hair sticking up you were scrutinized. We are not as big as other families. We do not look like other families. We do not even eat like other families. Of course, when you’re a young girl who is different from everyone else you’ll face some ridicule. I knew what it was to be a Filipina. I mean, I’ve lived like one my whole life but everyone around me made me feel like I should want to be the traditional American.
I had butterflies as we exited the airport and into my uncle Boy’s car (that’s his nickname). I was sweating due to the extreme heat and overwhelming excitement to meet my family. When we reached my mom’s childhood house she showed me how extensive our family was. One uncle, three aunts, eleven cousins and one beautiful Lula (or grandma). I knew very little Tagalog and even less Ilonggo, so getting to know people was an obstacle. Most of the children and my uncle Boy knew english so I mostly socialized with them. Mecaiella, or Mecai for short, was my favorite cousin. She is three years old and loves to laugh. We played shop together and took a lot of selfies on Snapchat. It was so hard to leave my family because it was so easy to love them. Every other month we try to send the family necessities that they will need, whether it’s dresses for Mecai or work tools for my uncle Boy.
The visit showed me that we are not that different than other families. Most families don’t have to run through sugarcane to retrieve a lost volleyball. Most families don’t have to send each other packages of clothes or work tools. Most families don’t have to fly across the world just to see each other. On the other hand, our family looks out for one another. Our family laughs together. Our family loves each other and that’s all that matters.
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