Being far away from home has widened my perspective a bit about everything that my rose-colored spectacles have seen and unseen the past three decades.
There was one question that kept popping up weeks leading to this trip and almost everyday since I came here to the U.S. of A.
"Ella, don't you want to stay here in the States?"
Almost every other adult relative I've come in contact with have asked me if I had changed my mind already. Surely the climate here should attract me. Or the convenient ways to shop they have come up with in this country. Or perhaps the success stories of all the Filipinos who have made it big here. There are Catholic communities here too.
Why do I have to keep on answering this question? Why is it on everyone's mind? Can't I just go here to rest?
I told them about my life in the Philippines. I told them law isn't exactly a transferable, let alone migratable, profession. I was told how much money paralegals could make here (I need only ask my law school friend Chip who works as one in New York). I told them I'm not inclined to study law at this point and to take another bar exam.
Will my parents be happier if they live here? The cold weather is bringing out Papa's aches and pains. How could we live without Jane, our angel for the past 10 years who cooks well and does the laundry, gardening, grocery-shopping and all our other errands?
I told them the answer is no.
"You will change your mind."
"That was what your Tito said, look where he is now."
Maybe I would change my mind. I'm female and I'm allowed to do that. But for now, let's stop asking that question, please. They might not like my real answers.