Immigrated from the Philippines
“So, I spent the first day living the United States in bed, broken out in hives because of weather shock.”
I hover the home phone close to my personal phone to make sure to catch every word. I lean into to hear each word that she had to say. She told me the biggest differences between The Philippines versus Chicago. “I believe it was April 1978”, she tells me, “And I recall it being cold.” She went to live with her aunt there for the first eight months. She says, “I remember my aunt having four coats in her arms because it was cold…and she knew we wouldn’t have them.” She also says, “On my first day in Chicago my arms broke out in hives because my body wasn’t used to the quick transition from a very hot place into a very cold place. So, I spent the first day living the United States in bed, broken out in hives because of the weather shock.”
She tells me about the differences in holidays. “There was no Halloween in the Philippines and coming here, I thought that it was weird and bizarre so that was very different.” Also, in the United States we don’t celebrate All Soul’s Day on November 1st. In the Philippine’s she says that it was a big deal, with everyone going to the cemeteries to celebrate.
The thing at the time she missed the most in the Philippines where her friends she says, “I was nine so I was old enough to have a decent group of friends, um, I missed my cousins that we left behind………it was ,mostly my friends.”
She says where her aunt lived the people who lived there did really know what Philippines where and treated them pretty badly, “ They teased us about our accents, clothes……..my siblings didn’t speak English well so they often got teased about that” She says when she arrived in California(at age 11), “ It was a lot more welcoming in California than in Chicago.”