I have read over and over again “Home is where Grass is Greener.” and my heart is heavy with a feeling of defeat. I did not expect to end poverty over night, or make millions of pesos with our first attempt at business. I knew it was going to be tough. But, I wasn’t prepared for the day in which we would throw in the towel, and say “Yes, let’s go back to Canada.” – even if it is only for a while (five years? 10 years? Who knows).
Was it youthful idealism? Did we just have foolish dreams of reverse migration and countryside development? Did we really think we’d make a difference, make the grass greener, make our country better?
Yes to all of the above. We really did believe in all of those – and we still do.
But the game changers arrived, and although we tried to make it work, we realized we couldn’t do it without sacrificing things we owe our children.
We want to give them many things, and we want many things for ourselves – but we can’t have everything (at least not at the same time). Thinking of leaving family, friends is heartbreaking as it is. But choices must be made, and after our five-year stay, we decided we’ll give our kids the opportunity to live across the Pacific too. Just like Tatay. Just like Nanay.
The heaviness is a mixture of sadness, guilt and hurt pride. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to two amazing youth groups this year. Both asked me to speak on nation building. And it killed me to speak to them, knowing that in a few weeks time, I’d be leaving. How can one speak of the beauty of our country, of the many possibilities, of the untapped potential, and then pack up and leave? What kind of “walang iwanan” is that?
It’s “iwanan” in the most literal sense.
But I pray that’s what it is – leaving, but just literally.
Because everything I told the youth leaders was true, and everything I told them, I pray we’ll be able to pass down to our boys too.
While there are many things we can give the boys abroad, there are also many things they will not be able to experience being away. We’ll embrace the challenge though to raise them well, wherever we are.
I am more than aware that distance does not make one less Filipino. I have witnessed many families raise their children abroad, and many of them are prouder of their heritage and identity than many children here in the Philippines. I believe that there are different roles for us to play in helping our country, and perhaps, right now, ours is not here (as much as I really want it to be). The heart ache will be temporary (as the internet makes loved ones seem closer), and new routines will be made. All the drama just makes our hearts seem broken, but for as long as they’re beating, we’ll be fine. (And really, there is so much we are also looking forward to in Vancouver – but that is for another post.)
And maybe, this tug of war I’ve had my whole life – moving here and there and back again – is what I am destined to experience. Maybe it is Tom’s journey as well. Perhaps we really are meant to be movers. Making our home in many places, finding home in many places, reminding people of home in many places. And one day, we’ll find ourselves back home again, and hopefully that time, it’ll be for good.
These kinds of days will be back again (I really like this post):