I often get strange looks after I get asked where I come from. Well, because I answer, "Here." Which isn't a lie. After living in New Zealand for roughly 11 years, and being a good, tax-paying citizen, I'd say I've earned the right to say so.
The accent is a dead giveaway though. Hence, the strange looks. Some are polite enough to accept my answer, but most persist with, "No, where are you really from?"
I find this slightly racist, since the question implies that I do not belong here. However, most of the time I just shrug it off as a badly phrased question borne out of curiosity. As an aside, the more polite version of this question is, "Where were you born?"
Anyway, to answer the question, I was born in the Philippines and I lived there until I was 18. But we'll skip through the more painful details of culture shock and teen angst. Having spent my formative years there, and then my early adulthood here, I sometimes feel like a mishmash of personalities. Either that or I have undiagnosed schizophrenia. Either way, growing up in both countries has made me into who I am, eccentricities and all.
Example, I still clutch my bag like my life depends on it when I'm out and about, wherever I am. This comes from years of growing up and hearing about pickpockets and bag-snatchers in Manila.
Another example, I'm no longer as touchy-feely with friends like I used to be. You see, Filipinos are generally affectionate. You'll see girls walking hand in hand, boys with their arms draped around each other, and no one bats an eye. The first time I tried to hold a girl friend's hand here in New Zealand, did not go down so well.
All kidding aside though, I guess I'm lucky, because I have been opened up to and can take the best of everything from both cultures. I should think about it more and use this to make myself into a better person.
Sept. 3 Blogtember topic: Describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or factors that make up who you are.
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