As I walked into the airport with my brother beside me, I was trying to convince myself to relax and enjoy the trip. However, I couldn’t stop thinking of what would happen. My lips were shaking and eyes were red as I jealously watched happy people going to their designated counters laughing, smiling, and excited to go somewhere. We went through security body check and boarded the plane and we sat in our selected seats. At the moment when the plane took off, despite the fact that there was no way of backing out, I still had the feeling that it would better if I just went back and live in the Philippines with my loving and caring mom.

Recently someone had talked to me about this. I had a chat with a coworker who said he knows what I exactly went through when I left my home country. He said he felt the exact same way I felt so he can relate to it. I realized I wasn’t the only one, a lot of people struggled in this situation. Leaving their country and going to United States hoping to get a better opportunity in life.This blog shortly described how most immigrants felt when they left their beloved home.

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Going back to my story, on May 25, 2013, after one day of the flight, we arrived in New York. We waited for my dad to come. A young boy and a girl came running to us. The girl hugged me and then suddenly I remembered the faces, they were my half brother and sister, whom I had seen on Facebook. They were both really tall for their age. My brother has a white complexion and thick eyebrows that really makes him look like my dad. My sister has a brown complexion, her short hair matches her body, and she has thick eyebrows just like my brother. I also saw my stepmother, who was holding my baby sister. She said “Hi” to me and my brother and welcomed us. My baby sister is very cute: she has her mother’s face, and she has cheeks that will make you want to squeeze them. She looks like a teddy bear. She’s so adorable! Then my father followed them. He has this big smile on his face and when he reached us, he hugged me and my brother so tight, I could feel my heartbeat in many places on my body. I found myself crying. I didn’t know what I was feeling that moment. There was a range of emotion — nervousness (because that was my first time seeing my father), happiness (because finally I already met him after so many years), and sadness (because I’m so far from my mom). You have heard a lot of stories about meeting a father or mother for the first time. It is heartbreaking to hear especially when you have experienced being raised by just one parent and longing to see the other one. If you are standing in this situation right now, don’t feel sad and hopefully you will have the chance to meet him or her. Actually living with one parent isn’t as bad as what people think if this parent tried her or his best to raised you with everything you need and want. This article is a combination of a study and a story about how a young woman dealt with growing up without a father. ( )

In the first few months here in America I was still not used to living without my biological mom by my side. It was so hard to be away from her. Every night I cried until I fell asleep, but as the days and months went on I learned that crying would not change anything. So I told myself that I needed to change and act normal again. My older brother and sister make me happy because they always make me laugh when I’m at their house. My older brother and sister are not living with us — they moved out. So every Saturday we visit them at their apartment to see them and my little niece. Sometimes if we have time, we video chat with my mom, uncle and my little brother who live in the Philippines. My siblings and I resemble one another. We’re like quadruplets. My older sister and my brother look alike as well: they have the same brown color, eyes, nose and face. I and my other older brother have also same features.

On August 28 I called my mom for her birthday. I missed her voice so much, her smile, her touch, the way she gave me hugs and kisses, the way she woke me up every morning, the way she asked me what I wanted to eat, and the way she made me believe that she’s the luckiest person to have the five of us (me, my brothers, and sister). When I called her the first thing she asked me was how I was doing. “How are you Ica?” she asked. “I’m good mama, I miss you so much,” I answered. And we talked for an hour and said goodbyes to each other.

U.S.A and the Philippines are very different. From the people, cultures, cost of living, jobs, and especially the weather. The weather here is freezing. We’re lucky because the first two months we arrived was not that cold. But as the ‘ber’ months started, the wind became so cold that I can feel it in my bones, but as the time goes by I got used to it. I just need to wear warmer clothes, especially when I need to go out, like going to the school. This is what my older brother, who’s been here for 10 years, told me: “When it’s winter I just stay in my room and put my heat to 75–80 degrees and it feels like I’m home” (home means Philippines) And I laughed. Not everyone can get use to a new home right away, mine took almost 6 months before I started interacting with people again. Many of us stay where are comfort zone is, maybe I had a choice, I wouldn’t even leave Philippines and stay there for the rest of my life, but I didn’t. Most of us didn’t have the choice and dealing with culture shock is one of the hardest thing you would experience living a new life. This article will explains the phases of culture shock and how to deal with it. ( )

A month before we came here, my brother and sister, who were living here for ten years, visited us in the Philippines. We’ve tried to buy a ticket that would match their ticket for going back here in America, but we didn’t get a chance because there was no more available tickets for that day. That was why we came one month after they came back here. They stayed for 2 weeks in the Philippines and I think that’s the best two weeks of my life. We visited a beach and ate all the seafood that we love like, Tilapia, Bangus (fish), shrimp, and many more. I love the way we played a game in the water. It was so much fun because all of us including my mother played the game. We all had fun. I love seeing my family laughing and enjoying their lives because that’s what makes me live a happy life.

As I go on with my life here in America, I always feel the presence of my mom, stepdad and my little brother here in my heart. My mom gave me a necklace and a ring so that if I’m sad, stressed, or feeling lonely I will remember that my mom will always be with me wherever I go. So now I am very happy and content living with my father, sisters and brothers while focusing on my studies to reach all my goals in life! I think having to love my life now and contented with what I have is what keeps me moving on with life. Life is about the struggles, adventure, journeys, and relationships. And having to embrace and survive all this, it feels wonderful. This blog will tell you exactly what having contentment feels like. ( )

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