Updated: Apr 5, 2020
"Are you happy in San Diego?," a colleague in the library asked me.
"Well... yeah, it's nice here," I replied while sorting books.
"You hesitated," she answered back with a soft laugh.
I wish I could explain to her how exactly I feel. But she's American, born and raised in California and never lived in another country before. She never visited Asia even. So it would be hard to meet eye to eye.
To answer it honestly, am I happy in San Diego? YES.
Who wouldn't be? It's one of America's finest cities! Beautiful weather, beaches everywhere, laid back lifestyle, and friendly locals. The only complain I have is how expensive it is but then again, you're paying for its beauty!
So of course it's great to be here especially as I go through treatment because it's a nice drive to the hospital then go for a walk in the beach as I recover. But somehow, I'm still missing something.
I talked about this with a fellow kababayan and we agreed that we see America as the rich dad. He gives you EVERYTHING... a nice place, all the toys you want, the delicious food, the best education and great facilities. But not his love, empathy and attention. He pacifies your needs with effective solutions, material things and advanced technology... everything! So you'll just feel good and stay busy. He's trying to buy you your happiness and time.
And Philippines is the poor dad. The dad who doesn't have a lot to offer. He can't provide the good life. But you can feel his love just by being next to you, listening to you, giving his undivided time and attention to you, and giving you what you need even if it's not as great as what the rich dad can offer. But you know that it's given from his heart and out of sacrifice. He's not trying to fix you but rather, just loving you for being the kid that you are, happy at times, but bratty the next.
Just like anything, there's never a perfect relationship with any city. I lived in 4 so far and if I'll analyze it as well, I'll always find something that's missing.
But right now, I need both my dads. America, my rich dad who takes care of my medical treatments and will eventually give me the opportunity to travel everywhere I want because let's admit, iba parin talaga ang first world country privileges. And Philippines, my poor dad, who just loves me for my kadaldalan and kabaliwan that for some reason, Americans can't seem to get.
The rich dad buys me all these nice things but doesn't listen to my stories, finds my craziness funny or gives me that warm hug after a hard day. Instead, he gives me a pill that boosts my mood, books me to the best therapist to listen to my problems, turns on a TV show to watch to make me laugh or downloads an app that helps me fall asleep. And the poor dad is all ears, attention and love but can't buy me some of the comforts I want and the healthcare I need.
Ganon lang ata talaga. There's always a trade off.
Americans are always about making money, doing business, and offering solutions. And Philippines is to have fun, talk, laugh and stay together in a little kubo despite the baha, lindol, corruption, poverty and traffic. Even with all the chaos, you just feel the love and kalinga.
My two dads. I love my poor dad. But I need my rich dad. I need the other one for emotional support and the other one for survival. It's bittersweet because I would much prefer my poor dad to be rich as well pero wala e.
Sana in the future, it's gonna be like that. Sana. But for now, it is what it is and I'll just have to make it work with both of them.