Coming to the United States as a nine-year-old, I did not expect what challenges I had to face being in this great land of opportunity. Of course, as I was told countless times by my parents that the main reason why we moved was to have a better life, better opportunities and more freedom. Honestly, I’ve always thought that my life would have been better back in the homeland if I stayed. I have family that was there to support me, I would have graduated faster, my cousins were the same age as I was, my family from my mom’s and dad’s side were huge and tight-knit, my family was well off, everyone just seemed happier there because they didn’t stress out about working all the time — life just seemed more relaxed. Everything seemed to be much better than the States because all of those was something that I longed for. One thing especially is the family and support group that has already been engrained for generations and generations.

Unfortunately, as a First-Generation Immigrant that didn’t exist for me. Maybe for some it might have been different but moving here to the states it was something that I had to create not something I grew into. I was always jealous of my friends who had large families here, who had parties every holiday, every birthday they would have lots of food and gifts, they would be really close to their aunts, uncles and cousins, their family seemed so tight and so bonded because of the years of experiences and memories they have shared with one another. Solely, I think why I thought it was so important for me was because it was ingrained into my identity growing up in the Philippines. Not only this but family as I see it, is an integral part of the Filipino culture; It is the food that makes us full.

I think that most first-generation immigrants feel this way and although they feel some type of way about this topic it’s not the end all be all of everything. It’s just another log to the flame that motivate us to do great in what we do. I can personally say that the experience of what I lacked is something that motivates me to create and foster a foundation for the next generations of my family; and this not only applies for me but to most that are in the same situation that I am. Furthermore, this is only the cream to the crop that most young first-generation immigrants face. As a child coming here with my parents, I felt the sense of expectations and debt I had to pay forward to show them that their hard work was not wasted. I must take on the torch of what they have started and raise a fire.