Cherie Rose Fuertes: Love and Hate Relationship, creative non fiction
I have always wondered how would it feel living in a place where you never thought you will love and hate at the same time. This is what I felt when I left the Philippines and moved here in the United States. We all had that perfect imagination of how great it is to be here, but I think it was just all they show on television. United States is a place to be when it comes to achieving and finding your dreams. But does it always work like that? A question that I ask myself. A simple no, is my answer. It seems like wherever I go, I always must define myself. In the eyes of others, I am a different person that doesn’t belong in their community. Am I that different? I am a simple human being just like them. We breath the same air and we walk on the same land. This is what kind of love and hate relationship I have with this country. I have never thought that it was something different from the place I was born and raised for fourteen years. When I first came, and looked at the sky, I wondered if it looked like that in my home country. Did the atmosphere felt like this? I had all these questions in mind and tried to find the answers with the things I have remembered. But the feeling wasn’t that familiar and I was confused for a second. Well maybe, it felt like that, but not as cold. When I first stepped inside the house of where my uncle lives, I immediately smelled that familiar scent. I was trying to remember where it was from and I did. I remembered that scent from my relatives here in the U.S. when they would visit me in the Philippines. I loved that scent, but now it is more of a forgotten scent. I don’t even recognize it anymore and how things were strange seemed to be all normal now.
Moving here when you are older is a challenge and this is what I hate about it. Hate might be a strong word when you ask other people, but I don’t truly hate this country. I have this love and hate relationship because there are things I wish were different, but I know it won’t be, so all I had to do was adapt. Leaving the Philippines was more of an escape from all the tsismis that me and my family were experiencing because of how we haven’t achieved anything big compared to all my relatives who were already here at that time. We were called poor and a family who accepts charity. It wasn’t even true, but people around us can’t get enough with their tsismis. Moved here and thought that it might be all great and no one will judge us because they don’t know us personally and expecting others to be understandable of where we came from. But was that the case? Well, it wasn’t. Whenever I spoke, I was looked at and asked where I was from. I always asked myself, is that normal? Do they really do that or should I feel judged by it? I was confused and didn’t really know where should I place myself, especially not knowing where I belonged being a Filipino woman and including myself in their community. Not everyone was bad, there were some who experienced the same and can relate with my experiences and didn’t try to put me in this little box which I thought I belonged for a second. I keep finding myself and include it with those who understands and can relate with mine.
I have read many piece of work from different artists and writers during this semester, but the book “One Tribe” by Evelina Galang stood out to me. I found this piece of work very interesting because it was something that I can truly relate. It was relatable because of how the story was structured and how the story was written in perspective. I am also a Filipino woman who struggled in finding herself and suffered from all the tsismis around her. The kind of tsismis that Isabelle might be hearing is different than mine, but the idea of race and how you act in society still follows you around. I understand that this story of Isabelle is not the same to what happened to me, but Isabelle’s story really inspired me. I read how she struggled from this misfortune that she experienced and how she stood up and moved to a different place to find a peaceful life, but was judged by who she was. When you are said to be too American when you are just expressing yourself because you were born in this kind of society where it has influenced you to act in a certain way. I feel like in this book, Isabelle’s actions were watched and judged at the same time. Isabelle cared about her students and she tried to be a good example because she can see herself when she sees these kids. The way Evelina wrote this was very interesting because as what we talked in class, she included these pictures with no real images, but had captions that explained the important pieces in this story. The compelling part for me was the flashbacks in this book because sometimes it felt like it was the story that was being told, but it was somehow in a third person’s perspective that they were trying to send out. I tried to somehow bring back old memories in my story instead of using flashbacks like what the author in One Tribe did. Evelina Galang’s book is a fiction book which is why I chose to write my own fiction story. Even though I wrote a fiction story, some parts of this story relate to my own personal story and somehow relates to Isabelle in the book “One Tribe”. How the story inspired me was something that I wanted to share. I wanted my readers to understand the idea of having a different race or culture and moving to a place where you thought it will all work out and the idea of escaping the drama that you had in the old place you left and finding a better opportunity for yourself, so you can have your new beginning. My piece was trying to accomplish the idea of understanding our differences and showing the experiences of what it was like to be here, especially coming from a different country and understanding all the confusion that some people might have. They can also relate to this story even though we might not have the same race because some people have experienced or struggled the same thing.