Looking back, it has been one heck of an adventure. My big move to Americaland has been one of the most interesting and colorful events in my life. This has given me the chance to see that I’m in different points of being “here” all at the same time.
Sounds a bit vague, even for me.
Let me dissect my thoughts a bit.
Geographically, a part of me is here in this famous city. I am in New York – specifically, Queens. Three years ago, I was living in my father’s basement in a small town in Connecticut, where no one can hear you groan.
I’ve just arrived from the other side of the world, and America wasn’t exactly picture-perfect at the height of unemployment. After several months of applying online and going on useless interviews, I bade my father and the rest of the family goodbye, with a little less than a hundred dollars in my pocket. With God’s help, I was able to find work after three days.
Living here has brought out a certain degree of compliance, if you will, in my person. I’ve always known that adaptation is mandatory for survival. But that doesn’t necessarily warrant that I’ll be a happy camper about it. New York, that beautiful lady with a sleeping disorder, she taught me to be compliant to her demands. She asked me to juggle three jobs, I said no problem. Evening classes? No problem. Working weekends? Say no more. Working on holidays? You got it. She was able to give me a reason to stay, amidst the long working days and until recently, the late school nights. I would battle a hundred or so clichés about this town, and ignore end-of-the-world movies depicting Liberty’s demise.
My being in New York is the result of my decision to actually live, and that meant no more Doritos for dinner while lolling around in my pajamas at my father’s basement. It meant that I need to discover who I am and who I can be, and I can’t achieve that in a state of perpetual monotony.
Ergo, the big move.
It meant living off on hardboiled eggs for some weeks (my salary was delayed) but it was worth it. It meant saying goodbye to my being timid and a lot of significant changes in my inner self that I’m proud of. Unfortunately, it has not taken away my being quiet in class. This, I guess, will never change.
Another part of me is in college. I’m right back where I was some years ago, only this time, I rush to school straight from my work cubicle as opposed to something more comfortable and inviting, like, say, a bed. I have studied college in my country of origin, the Philippines, and trying to study here now as a person who’s experiencing a quarter-life crisis is definitely interesting and not exactly easy. I am back in the squeaky halls, trying hard not to make a fool (or a complete fool) of myself while trying to grasp as much knowledge as I could while I still can. Being on the lookout for new and interesting knowledge is one mission I intend to carry out for as long as I could, with God’s help. And going back to college will help me out with that. It is a great opportunity to put my brain on perpetual percolate. Hopefully, when I exit college, the percolating won’t stop.
In between all the points and different possible levels of being here, I must say that my being here, in my own little space plot in the universe as a unique individual, is hands down, what everything all boils down to. My being here is to serve a purpose. And even though I’m tempted to say that my purpose on earth is to be the next Deadpool, I think I’ll just go with what I trust is true:
I am here because there is a need for me to be here; there is a need for me to serve my Creator, those around me, and myself.
There is a need for me to acquire knowledge so that in turn, I can become a better individual that will hopefully inspire and infect those around me into doing the same. There is a need for someone to help pray for those who are experiencing the darker days of their lives. There is a need for someone to smile at a stranger who may have just heard terrible news and hopefully shine a light of hope. There is a need for someone to be weak at times, so that the strong may be given the opportunity to make use of their strength. There is a need for someone like me. This is why I am here. I am here in New York, where the whole world lives; in a state that is home to people of every nationality. In my own little way, I am here, just like a great number of people, with the objective of helping save the world, one little deed at a time.
And for all these and more, I am simply in deep gratitude to God.
Though I am incredibly, unspeakably missing my beloved family, friends and loved ones, I manage a small smile and sigh it off.
Because for now, I am here; I am inside a Nassau County-bound bus, amidst a sea of working-class folks and be-uniformed high schoolers, fighting back happy tears in the middle of a bus ride.
Amidst being far from those I love, I am still, simply and undeniably thankful for having been given the opportunity to be here.