In October 1997, my family relocated from our wonderful home in the Philippines to our new home, new family in the UK. I was 5 years old (which is weird, I think I need to ask my Mum exactly what date we moved because I’m pretty sure the first Birthday I celebrated here was my 7th Birthday but the dates don’t add up, all I know is when we first kind of moved here, we had just gotten puppies and my little sister was less than a year old, then we moved back to the Philippines for a little bit, I’m not sure how long, but when we got back to the UK for good, the puppies were huge! Hopefully that helps you in thinking about the timeline) when life as I knew it changed.
To a young kid our move happened pretty quickly. I guess my sisters and I were to young to really comprehend what was happening before it really hit us that we weren’t just going for an extended holiday abroad but we were in actual fact going to be moving, across oceans, countries, worlds, away from our closest family members, away from our friends, away from our lives. Knowing what I know now, the whole move was years in the making. I don’t know if we were informed the right way, but all I know is that because I didn’t quite understand what was happening, I never really got a chance to say the goodbye’s that I wanted to.
We got to visit a couple of times after we moved for good. But I haven’t actually been ‘home’ for 10 years now, a lot has changed, the one thing that hasn’t is my one wish.
My one wish that as I get older, I fear will never happen.
When I had become more conscious of the change and accepted that it was permanent, I made one deep and desperate wish.
My wish was for us to be able to bring some if not all of our family in the Philippines to live with us in the UK. Okay so I know I my mother has about 12 siblings or something like that and I have about a billion cousins, so I knew my dream was big! But if we could even just get at least 1 family member, I would be satisfied. A family member to feel closer to my Filipino heritage, to feel closer to my other family, to feel at home a little more.
As I got older this dream seemed far more distant and there are times when I feel so defeated because I just don’t see how it’s going to ever happen. With the changes in UK law it’s getting harder for people from abroad to be able to move here. Whilst parts of it I agree with, the emotional side of me just wishes so bad we could come up with some way for them to come here and share our lives with us.
Whilst I lost a big part of my Filipino self and lost touch with some really special family members who I thought I would be close to forever, I have remained close and in touch with some of my family and it’s them who I really want to share my life with. It’s just not the same sharing through Skype. You can’t hug them, touch them, and be under the same roof physically.
This longing I have to be in my home country makes me ache and I just can’t help feel like if I could have my family here, I would feel less disconnected to my Filipino culture.
My sister Mhissy, she’s my biggest role model, her selflessness is so inspiring. She put her dreams on hold in order to help one of my cousins, the daughter of my aunty (my Mum’s sister) who helped raise Mhissy from a baby when my Mum was essentially a single Mum in the Philippines. Because my Sister retained her close relationship with my aunty and her children, she always remembered everything that the family had done for her, even treating her like she was their sister, daughter, not just as a niece. My sister selflessly gave up the opportunity to pursue some of her dreams in order to put my aunty’s eldest daughter through University.
It’s been almost 2 years since she graduated. My sister herself went back to University and will be graduating this year, September 2016.
I’m so proud of her and proud of everything she has achieved. How selfless she has been and never has she once asked for anything in return.
As part of my dream to have a family member even visit us here in the UK, to share in our lives even for just a few weeks would be something…well indescribable. It would mean the whole world to us all as a family. My sister attended my cousins graduation so I thought what an amazing gift it could be to bring my cousin here to watch my sister graduate.
My partner and I have put all our resources together in order to make this dream happen. All the things we’re giving up in order to make this come true is such a small sacrifice to make for my Mum, Dad, sisters and I. I can’t even imagine how amazing it would be to finally have a touch of home here with us.
The countdown officially begins and I can’t believe after all these years, part of my lifelong wish may finally happen. On the other side of things, my cousin will be able to see the lady who helped her achieve part of her dreams, walk across the stage and get her certificate too. I think 2016 for us will be celebrating family and love, a reunion of sorts.
My heart is filled with so much joy but at the same time I don’t want to get my hopes up too much just in case. If it happens, be prepared for all the pictures and stories that will come off it!
Too much excitement and too much love to be able to explain just how I feel, all I can say is that my younger self feels like she’s going home after a much awaited family time.
Do something to make your parents proud today, your kids proud someday, and you proud everyday!
Peace and Love,