In 1996, I immigrated from Olongapo, Philippines to Franklin Park, New Jersey with my mother, father and brother. We lived with my uncle’s family and, later, my grandmother and aunts and uncles. I remember sharing space and comforters on the floors of one-bedroom apartments, and chirping in Tagalog during family parties. As I grew older, I forgot how to speak my first language, and the divide between my family’s cultural values and my own ambitions created a painful tension, which took many years to leave behind. Now, as I live and work thousands of miles away from my family, I often think about them and our history and our love.
This is my family.