For five years, I have been living in the United States, and it has begun to feel more like home to me than this country I now visit for just one month a year.
Each time I come home to the Philippines I am met first with a sensation like dissolving.
Each year, my plane touches down in the middle of the night, and drifting into the crowd at baggage claim I come to the realization that I am no longer the exotic face; shoulders and tongue relaxing, I drop my American accent and revert to my native language.
In the final scene of the musical, Kim, dirty and sobbing, surrenders her son to the arms of the gleaming white American family she is sure will give him a better future. It is the story I tell myself on those days I am forced to remember that America is not my home.
These days, I try not to imagine who will steal my love from me first: another Hello Kitty, or some faceless blonde head more deserving of that love than me.
In each picture, we are touching: an arm around the shoulder, hand brushing hand, our cheeks together. Even in those times when we have been half a world apart, we have reached and found ways to come together.
How could I communicate this to the man he had spoken with about me at the San Francisco airport?You’re too cute for that.’ He thought you were some mail-order bride. In history class, Filipinos are taught to be grateful for our Western colonizers.After all, without the Spanish, who would have delivered our beloved homeland into the embrace of Catholicism?There on the screen was a love letter from his girlfriend in China, whom he’d said he had broken up with almost a year ago.It was the proof I needed to solidify an idea that had been hibernating in me since I came to America: the fear that, as a fetishized being, I was easily replaced, competing with all the other Asian women who I was told looked just like me.A week later, Adam makes his own touchdown at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.