Christmas, New Year and Valentines just finished so I know that most of our Filipino-Americans has sent a lot of gifts through balikbayan boxes, sent money by remittance and even spent quiet a bit of money on long distance calling.
This is our culture. Our family in the Philippines think that we are living abroad and it doesn't matter where, America, Japan, Hong Kong or Middle East, they think that we have more. That is the common perception back home. Except for those who has been abroad and went back, they surely know what it is like to live abroad.
Sadly, most families at home also think that we got it easy here. I mean, I hear it. An uncle asking money from a relative here in America to pay for his kid's tuition in the Philippines. A retired grandparents here in America that is getting pension from Social Security paying for their grandkids' schooling, house maids and apartment rental in Manila. This one is crazy, her grandmother who lives with her in America sneaks there soap bars and other grocery supplies to send in a box back to the Philippines. That is just how we are. Whatever we have, we have to share to our family and love ones back in the Philippines.
It can be good or it can be bad, this is how we value our family. Our culture. We look back.
The question is, how about us?
When it is our birthday or when it is christmas or valentines, does anyone from the Philippines care to pick up a card from National Bookstore and mail to us? Or does someone care to send us a text to greet us or say "I pray you have good health and I wish you love." Or send an email or snail mail! Surely, that is not much to ask.
Living abroad doesn't change much inside, we are still the same people and that is why we send those boxes still and of course we also appreciate the effort, the thoughtfulness....right?
I know that there is now FACEBOOK and often our family and friends just conveniently greet us in our "walls". I know they put some thought to it of course... but I think it would still be nice if someone took the time to send us a text. Mail a card from Philippines, even home made cards personally, I don't mind actually I love those! Or even take the time to send an ecard. What do you think?
I just feel that Filipino's living abroad lately has it on a "one way street". We are expected to give and give and that we don't need anything.
At one point in my 13 years of living abroad (7 in Japan and 6 now here in America) I wondered if I stopped calling the Philippines, would someone actually write me a letter. If something happened to me, how long would it take for them to find out if no one here cared to let them know?
So if you are in the Philippines and has a relative or friend living abroad, send them a card, email them, text them they will really appreciate it! ---MaG
Lisa Handmade Cards
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