New Year’s Eve, 2001. It was cold. Lights beamed out from tiny apartment windows and I ran up the stairs to my Lola’s1 house. My mother would open the door and everything would be as I left it the visit before. The chip in the sun room wall and Lola’s iced tea in the fridge. There was always an abundance of food, Filipino food. The menu included rice and meat on a banana leaf, chicken adobo and pansit. Three generations of people in one house, you’d think by now I’d gone crazy, but I was raised with the young taking care of the babies and the adults taking care of the elderly. I always flaunted this to my friends. “Yeah that’s right, I live with ten people in one house!” I was always so proud to show that my family stuck together. For me this pride and living with my mother’s family helped me deal with an era where divorce was common. It seemed to consume everyone around me. At school no one’s parents were together. I was so cocky until the day came when my own parents got divorced. It was then I fully relied on my family.
The time had finally come for presents! Lights? Check. Biscuits? Check. The smell of warm country cooking could not mask ...
... middle of paper ...
...She devoted her life to family and God, for her there is heaven, a place she continues to watch from. When Lola passed away, the root of our family tree disappeared. There is no longer iced tea in the fridge or her welcoming smile, but the values and traditions she instilled within our family continues. All of the family still lives together and we still a lot of eat Filipino cuisine, and watch Filipino Dramas to the point of sickness.
I was caught in the between, no man’s land. I was being tugged between two separate worlds, two completely un-identical cultures. My mother was on one side of court, my father on the other. Even though I was faced with the hardest decision of my life, it wasn’t hard for me to answer. I always knew the answer. I don’t deny both ethnicities, but I only embrace one, the one with all the stereotypes, strange food, superstitions and songs.
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