The Gift

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Growing up as an only child, I was used to being treated like a princess. “Pa! Pahingi po nang candy?” I would screech to my Dad for some treats. “Siempre” my Dad replied as he smirked down at me. I had no trouble making friends. I felt carefree, considering I was only four years old. Every day I felt like a time machine was bringing me back to the past, where I would do the same routine over and over again. I lived in a small city in the Philippines called Makati. I went to a school called Lungsod Ng Makati, where I had to wear a white silk, long-sleeved shirt with a green striped skirt. It seemed as if I was going to a private school, when I really went to a public school. The weather was improvident and unpredictable; summers would have storms and floods that would go up to the roof of the smallest house, yet it was still scorching. Life was bearable but some days were better than others. Fish and rice were the most popular types of food that Filipinos liked. I had been living with my dad my whole life; my mom had lived in America ever since I was born. I had a nanny, which everyone in the Philippines considered a maid. Her name was Joana and she would keep me from getting in trouble, telling me not to play tricks on others or not to ride my bike beside the pool. My mom would come visit us every so often, though she spent most of her time in the Philippines doing paperwork. My dad never said word about my mom and what she was planning. When I reached about eight years old, I was taken by my mom to a place where I never thought I could end up; America. Leaving my twenty cousins and twenty-four second cousins was difficult, but I promised I would keep in touch and not forget where I grew up. We arrived at the airport, the check in was the most difficult part for me; I didn’t like being monitored by all those standing tall humungous guys. The take off made my stomach startle and jump as if I was on the Giant Dipper at the Boardwalk. Since I never rode on an airplane all the views were fascinating to me. I thought individuals were like colonies of ants. During out twelve hour flight, the beverage that I liked was milk. Back home in the Philippines all we had was powdered milk, which had a chunky texture to it. It was July nineteenth on my arrival. When I first arrived, all I could say was “Mom when are we going to Papa?” My mom stool silently nodded her head with her lips shut tight, with her glazed black hair shimmering in the sun beam. I walked out San Francisco Airport the weather was mellow and not as torturing as the sun stroke I had to deal with in the Philippines. Everything looked so organized and put into place, even the people looked like they’re going to see an opera. My aunt picked my mom and me up from the airport. I had a lot to adjust to at my aunt’s house during their welcome party for me. As a gift my grandma gave me money. “Now this I could get used to,” I thought to myself as I tucked the money into my small pocket. My grandma had black hair and wore lipstick that was red as a inflamed rose. She smelled astonishing, by how her perfume just lingered around the room, it smelled like a magnolia flower. After those few hours of stay, I didn’t feel as home sick as I was anymore. Although I missed my dad a lot, I pondered how living with my mom was going to be like.


My mom lived in Santa Cruz in a two bed room apartment on Maple St. My mom had a roommate named Frieda. During my first nights my mom would be furious at how I constantly wet the bed; “get off the bed NOW!” she would shout out loud at two in the morning, I only started peeing on the bed when I got to America. Every morning my mom would wake me up at five, she would drop me off at my grandma’s and head for work. I usually ran back inside the car, chasing after my mom, my grandma looked at me saying “I have hot chocolate” and of course that persuaded me. I love chocolate. My grandma would usually bribe me with sugars and sweets.


I went to Bay View Elementary School, I wasn’t the brightest student but I definitely wasn’t the shyest. I was very talkative and my words spoke just as loud as my actions did. I still was treated like a princess, who got attention from all of her aunts and uncles. One mid-spring after school, my grandma who took care of me for six years, who I had seen more than my mom on a regular daily basis, passed away. I didn’t know what to do, never in my life did I experience death in the family. My emotions held me back; I had tried to cry, but I couldn’t until I reached Dominican Hospital with my aunts. The room was crowded with my aunts and uncles, the hall ways were dark and silent. I shivered and prayed that the news wasn’t true but, it was. I sobbed until fell asleep in my mom’s arms. Now all I have left of my grandma are hopes dreams for me and having a good future and of course our pictures together. Missing my eighth grade graduation to go back to my foreign country to see my grandma’s burial was worth it. From then on I knew my life would experience some dramatic changes.


I am now seventeen years old and a senior at Santa Cruz High School. I look back at the past experience I have had and treasure them, although there were some you could say I regret. My carefree mind is now a matured mind, though I still worry about what others have to say about me. I learned that I should love myself and place myself first before anyone else but at the same tome to not be selfish. I do what I have to do, and I don’t have anyone pull me back. I now live with my aunts and my mom at a house that we just moved into five months ago. I still miss my grandma, and I pray to her often. I look back to when she always would give me chocolate and we’d sit down and way Days of Our Lives, her favorite soap opera. Now I watch it alone.





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