We don’t select who to help. We’re here, in this privileged position, to help out those who aren’t.

Whenever people find out I wasn’t born in Canada, I receive looks of surprise. I moved here when I was just about to turn eight. Because the school system was quite different in the Philippines and I had already finished the second grade, I still needed to finish the grade in Canada. That was not a problem for me. I loved school (in some ways, I still do). However, I did miss my friends and relatives, who had been in my life for the past eight years, only to be replaced by quiet weekends in a foreign country. Back then, though I was proficient in English, my difference was not hard to pinpoint- my native accent clothed my speech. Almost nine years later, that accent is put in the backburner, only used when speaking in Tagalog.

I have no regrets in becoming Canadian. I feel welcomed and accepted in the rich cultural tapestry that Canada embodies. I feel blessed that I can pursue many areas of knowledge and the arts, and feel secure in a financially-able country. What I do regret, however, is how I forgot my history, not of the Filipino culture, but of my culture: the culture which saw the need of others, especially of those within my family, and dreamed of bringing them to the standpoint of privilege that I’m in.

All of us blessed with the necessities of life, and more, are called to a greater purpose of sharing it with those who don’t have it.

That is something I, or anyone- particularly those who came from another country- should never forget.


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