So I just watched whatever episodes of this series are in Youtube and a day has gone by with me not doing anything productive.
Then it made me ask myself: Would I want to be the one giving money, or the one receiving?
Normally, people would be happier receiving; and that is what I and my family are right now. My mom’s a diabetic and I’ve decided to pursue my dreams in a foreign land—with only my sister’s salary, tuition loans and government grants to lean on to. And with what we have, it certainly feels that we have nothing but our brains and family—because we’re kind of a bunch of geeks. We always shop—window shop, because that’s what we can afford. And because I am a Filipino, I am stereotyped to be just someone who came to this country looking for money, someone who’s unprivileged, a complete stranger to everyone else in this land. And it sucks because it’s quite true and quite false—I don’t know which hurts more: the reality of that statement being true, or being judged for someone I am not. I came here to fulfill my dreams of becoming a physicist. I study hard and got A+ in all of my subjects during my first semester, except Autocad—B+. So I didn’t come here looking for money. But because of my race—and what they think the totality of my country does—people’s first impression of me is not quite good; though it’s not completely not tolerable. Since I decided to take the road less traveled by, I was prepared for it—for everything, the shortcomings, demeaning eyes, alienation. So I was not completely helpless.
So my family makes ends meet by selling groceries in their neighborhood—since the market’s quite far. Business is good when you have the capital. We do have the customers, but at the end of each day, we have to get all of the money in the box too buy my mom’s medicine. She injects insulin everyday and takes about 8-10 pills. But because we’re earning less than the cost of her medication, she takes less of the required dosage. She cuts the tablets with a knife or with just her hand. And I know it’s been really hard on her.
But we don’t blame the heavens for such situation. Because we’re lucky to have that small store, to have the money to buy her meds everyday, and to have angels around us. When our grocery runs out of stock, and we cannot gather the amount needed to buy the insulin, we ask for help—from her brothers, from strangers. And they come with a helping hand, without asking for anything in return.
I worry everyday that as I go to school here and worry about my grades, my family back home have nothing to eat or buy the meds with. I worry about their shortcomings that they never talk about. I worry about them a lot, but at the same time, I am quite relieved to know our angels are just one message away. Time and again they helped us, time and again they filled our stomachs.
It is my dream that someday, 7 years from now—because that’s the time I will be graduating from Bachelor’s Degree in a university—I will be the one giving and changing the lives of others like these millionaires. I’d want to have my own foundation—one that gives free meds and insulin to diabetic patients. Because I know how hard it is to buy them. I’d want to give presents to strangers during Christmas; I’d want to establish a library where people can go to and study, even the beggars and homeless people. I want to do a lot of things.
I’m eighteen and I still have a long way to go. I don’t know where to start but I know I will find a way.
I’m lucky to have a family, to be able to study here, to do what I want to do.
And I’d want to provide a glimmer of hope to other people—for them to be able to reach their dreams too.
I have taken a road less traveled by. It has not been easy. But I hope that the people waiting at the end of the road would be able to wait, for how long it takes for me to get there.