On February 20th, I marked my 19th year here in the US of A. It's hard to believe that it has been that long. Time just fly by, truly.
I got really sentimental days leading to the date. In past years, I hardly even remember the significance of the date, it passes by without notice. However, this year, I've been feeling really sentimental about the day I left Philippines for good. Yes, I knew it was for good, because I have my family here waiting for me.
I am trying to remember everything about that day when I boarded a rented vehicle. Our neighbor, RIP Manong Tony, was driving the vehicle with only my bff and her bf, now hubby, and my nephew. A very different scene when sending someone off where the entire barangay would tag along to the airport.
I remember stopping by the school where I was working and picked up a few people who wanted to send me off too. Honestly I cannot remember who they were now. I have a vague recollection of Maris as being one of them from a little memory that keeps coming back to me of her peeking from a glass partition in the airport waving goodbye to me. So she probably was one of them, and maybe Jayce was one of them as well. They are the best of friends and cannot be separated.
I don't recall anymore how I felt knowing I'd forever be leaving the only life I have known, the only home I have called my own. It was difficult for sure, but how did I feel?
My bff being there a few days before I left had me busy visiting with her, making sure they get meals and at the same time making sure I have everything I needed to take to my new life.
My students wrote me letters and cards, I took them all. The pictures as much as I could find all went into the suitcase.
It's a shame I didn't write all of it down at that time. I do remember arriving at 8 pm in SFO and while the plane was landing, I could see the lights of the city. They twinkle and glitter like jewels. I fell in love instantly. The city is so beautiful at nightfall.
My family had a little dinner ready for me at my brother's house, which was my temporary home while I job hunt. The next day, I saw the Golden Gate Bridge in my jet lagged state and still couldn't believe how lucky I was to be seeing this beautiful city.
19 years later I still catch my breath every day I catch a glimpse of the bridge on my morning commute, weather permitting that is, and still can't believe how lucky I am to be living here.
I love it here.