Who would have thought that a person who has regret coming to the United States exists? You probably want to yell at me now asking, “are you insane? Why would you regret it? Everyone’s dream is to come to the US, and you were regretting it?”
I apologize if I disappoint you. It was never in my dream to come and live in the US. I just went with the flow due to my life’s circumstances. I was grateful to Lolo Carl for giving me this fantastic opportunity to study and live in this beautiful country. If it weren’t for his kindness, I would not have met my loving husband.
The United States of America “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” is a beautiful country. Its citizens are kind and loving. It is the country of great opportunities. But why on Earth I regret coming here?
It is simple, and it has nothing to do with the US.
Before I came here, I was just a simple girl (still simple) living a simple life in the Philippines. I have many friends who would send me messages once in a while just to say hello or asked how am I doing. When my neighbors saw me in the neighborhood, they would ask if I heard the latest gossips. My relatives would always tease me about not having a boyfriend or ask me when I am getting married. My life was that simple.
But since I came to the US, everything has changed. Though I still considered myself as the same simple girl I was, the people back in my home country started putting me on the pedestal; like I am above them. They started pushing me to the top where it was hard for them to reach. Some of my friends would only send me messages just to tell me I was so lucky that I am rich now or asked me to help them find a job here. Those times when they would only send me messages to say hello were long gone. My neighbors who used to tell me the latest gossips became so distant and started calling me doña (Filipinos way of addressing wealthy women). My relatives who used to tease me started joking around about their shoe sizes or not having to have seen a dollar bill before. Even my relatives who never bother to notice me before I came to the US, started getting friendly with me; and if I ignore them, they would say I have changed because I am wealthy now.
Since I came to the US, my friends, the neighbors where I used to live, and my relatives, to them, I became unreachable. I am someone who is wealthy, and now I am above them.
Am I above them? Have I changed that much that they thought they could not reach me anymore?
I never thought that I had changed that much since coming to the US. Though I became more talkative and vocal about my opinions, I did not believe that these changes were huge enough for them to think that I am unreachable.
I am still the same girl who loves to drink Coca-Cola. The same girl who enjoys the rain and play in the mud. I am still the same person who enjoys eating dried fish and fried eggplant using her hands.
I never change. It’s the people around me who changed the way they see me. Their perception of me changed since I set foot in the US.
It pains me knowing that these people who I considered an essential part of my life do not see me the way they used to. I tried my best to reach out; to make them feel that I am not above them. I want them to know that I am still me; the same Lija they used to know. But every time I try to reach them, they seemed to set themselves farther.
Am I the unreachable one? Did I put this great distance between them and me? I would like to believe that I have already exerted every effort to reach them. So for now, I am taking a break. I will just wait for them to see me as me, not as someone wealthy and living a luxurious life in the US.
I wished I had known that these things would have happened before I came here to the US. If I had known, I could have prepared myself better. It would not have hurt this much. I could have avoided regretting to come to this beautiful country.