America The Ugly!

23-Mar-2021 • San Francisco, California, United States

As a child growing up in Manila, I often heard the phrase, America the Beautiful.  Truth to tell, I believed it 100% even without seeing it.  Who wasn't going to be enthralled by the stories of fellow Filipinos who had gone to visit and returned to the Philippines with such glowing praises for everything American? "What clean streets!  Everything was so orderly!  How respectful the locals were to us!" our family and friends exclaimed.

Very early in life, I knew I wanted to live here.  No doubt about it.  I  was ready to leave the drudgery of life in the land of my birth and live in San Francisco where the rest of my family had settled.  I knew I had a better future in America than anywhere else.  My nearly four year stay in Spain as well as my travels around Europe proved that I was right with my choice.  I actually came to visit the US as a tourist over the Christmas holidays one year and my oh my was it a struggle returning to Madrid.  I actually cried on the plane on the way back because I just wanted to stay.  I envied all the Asians living here. 

Fast forward to 2021 when people of Asian descent are being assaulted and murdered for simply being Asian.  I have to say, this is the time I wish I didn't live here at all. Why the hate?  I know the Corona virus began in China but what have I got to do with the spread?  It is painful to see people's faces slashed, the elderly violently pushed to the ground, and some people siding with the attackers.  I never expected this in America.  I became a naturalized citizen decades ago.  I am still thankful for the life America has given me.  What my country couldn't give me, America did and what a wonderful life I've lived here. 

I've been here now more than half my life.  At this point I consider myself more American now than Filipino.  I love America and I just pray it will love me right back.