Where is home? I inquired. Is it my birth place or is it somewhere I was conceived?
I was conceived at the capital city far from where I was born. My parents moved to my birthplace because of their obligation to care for an old parent. My mom was a few months on the way to deliver me when they arrived.
I often hear people say that “home is where the heart is, and that there’s no place like home”. But where is my home? I ask again.
I was born in a small sleepy town very far from the city capital, to a financially struggling couple with five children and an adoptive niece. It was on that third class municipality I spent my entire childhood.
I thought I spent a wonderful childhood there, but somehow I felt a bit peculiar about myself. I didn’t mind being peerless when outside school. You know, the kind most kids would have, a constant playmate. I never had one, a BFF kind of friend. I would play with whoever was around who wants to play with me. There was no one I knew within our neighborhood the same age as I was to hang with. Play at home was mostly by myself, with stranger kids, and joining my older siblings games with other children their age group mixed with other kids close to my age.
Or it must have something to do with our socio-economic status. They knew something I didn’t know exactly then, that we belonged to the class c if not d, socio-economic class.
I must have looked dirty and unpretty from playing hard, and so discriminated against. I even was an object of constant teasing and cruel jokes from my older siblings, telling me that I was just an adopted child borne from lunatic parents. I was not a first choice play mate to those who think they were above me in terms of socio-economic status, as well as looks for that matter, but I was happy. My dad would often praise me saying that I have a wonderful singing voice, and that I am smart because I would sometimes bring home my classmates’ quizzes for me to check. More often, he would tell me stories, scary ones, I would ask him to especially when power was out.
I was always excited to see my dad come home from work on weekends. I was even having a blast everyday at school because school meant an opportunity to play and have fun with my classmates who share the same enthusiasm that I have. I didn’t care about getting awards, honors, or whatever sort of recognition. I only was excited to go because I could play during breaks and going home time. I didn’t know we were poor even though I never had money for allowance during those primary years. I walk to go to school and back, which was like more or less two kilometers away from home, but never felt tired doing it. Although, I knew about classmates with money for their allowance, I never felt I needed any.
Everything, at least for me, was alright back then. There were no worries except a bit of scary moments with terror teachers. I never wanted them to chide on me like how I saw my other classmates being reprimanded. I never got scolded by any of them, not even once, if my memory serves me well.
I was a pretty happy and contented child then, with doting parents who made sure to provide for our needs. My mom was always busy helping my dad earn money by managing a small store. I always find her busy and not having enough time to just sit around with me, she was always up and about.
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Suddenly, things have changed. She got hired to work away from the family and moved to the capital with her employer. I moved to the city with my other older siblings leaving our dad and other siblings in the province a year after, to continue our studies there. A lot of things have changed. We no longer were a family together, we were a family separated and far from each other.
Then, we became financially able to buy things, and I was able to have access to social media available then, print, radio, and television. I was on the greener pasture, as popularly believed – in the city.
They say that the grass is greener on the other side, but I never had the opportunity to look and check for myself. I was just shoved right to the other side without even given a chance to compare if indeed it is greener there than where I already was, according to my naïve perspective. Or if, I even wanted to cross over there. I never had a chance to choose or decide what I wanted for myself as a child, never. It was as if I was dragged around and pushed aside every time, as if my eleven year old brain didn’t count for anything, much more did my opinion matter to get consulted.
Everything that was happening, I heard them talk about it, was going to give us a better future. So I started imagining about the city being such a nice place. Then reality showed me that it wasn’t all good. The city had that smell, atmosphere, appearance and feel that somewhat disappointed me, but I can only accept and adapt to it. I didn’t know what other choices I had and that if I even had them.
I tried to blend in, even if there were this slight and sly regional discrimination waged at me and my fellow provincial migrants by the people in the city. We had this regional accent that somehow automatically make them detest our presence in their midst.
I had occasional encounters with bullies, those who think that provincial people are primitive and stupid just because we live in an island region far from industrial civilization. Albeit, it challenged me to improve on myself.
I tried to learn the ways of the upper class society. I learned the language, etiquette, and manner of those belonging to the higher social rank. I did so I won’t have a hard time dealing with them, just in case an opportunity to rob shoulders with them came along.
I even imagined a fairy tale kind of story, where a very rich man would fall in love with me and marry me, and a lot of other make believe happy ever after stuff portrayed on most soaps.
Then city life got into me, and consumed me in my efforts to blend in and become socially accepted. Later did I realize that I was losing who I really was.
I started to feel that there was a much more greener pasture than the city where I already was. I even resented it for so many reasons, until I began to aspire leaving the country.
I developed that intense dislike towards my country that I would grab any chance I could get just so I could leave, yet I never had the opportunity and the courage to do it. I resented having to deal with my country’s way of life, to the point of renouncing my citizenship if only I could acquire a new one. It must have been because I suffered losing my family being together due to the financial struggles we had, created by many social injustices.
My country is such a fabulous and beautiful place. It is rich in all the natural resources, but my disgust may have come from the people who run and rule it.
It is the people that make the place. – I am Number Four movie
Indeed, this phrase has some truth in it. Any place around this beautiful planet is a good enough dwelling for humanity. It only became a difficult, troublesome, and lonely place because of the ruthless people residing it.
This is such a beautiful world, many even refer to it as paradise on earth. These beautiful places are never or seldom enjoyed by ordinary folks because a lot of filthy rich politicians, bad religion, and business entities own them. Then there is monopoly in opportunity and wealth. The people have difficulty acquiring access to equal opportunity, and they are restrained by their financial struggles to survive the daily grind. I belong to a society with many financially struggling family.
Although, my genealogy research showed me that my mother’s genetic side belonged to that of an indigenous royal family, I am still bound by the fact that our wheel of fortune is no longer at the top of the social class from which it belonged to. It was taken away from us through violence and force by the very people who plundered this country way back in history. I don’t mind that we are just common people anyway, not that I cared ever being a royalty, but it would be nice, imagine the perks and privileges of high society. But I am good and that’s good enough for me.
I have come to terms and have accepted that changes are inevitable. Wherever my head rests and love is, that then is my home. I feel love for my family, and whoever needs love, and where there is true love, there is my home.
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