That Awkward In-Between: Being a Long-Term Guest in America

My identity can be shaped by the people around me, based on how I react to them

People refer to me as a Chinese in the Philippines, and as a Filipino in the United States.

Shared experiences, not looks, dictate your group identity and community

One of my most amazing, influential history professors back when I was in undergrad drilled in me the idea that nationality is defined by shared experiences, not by how you look (see Benedict Anderson’s concept of imagined community).

Home is where you are not a guest, where your identity has a certain sense of permanence and continuity

The combination of my declared identity and my insights towards shared experiences has allowed me to find and form pockets of communities during my time here in the Bay Area.

While shared experiences may start with nationality and community, I find them to be a gateway to building and bridging new experiences with people who are different.

I hope my talk of discovering my identity does not make it appear that my time here has been unpleasant or unwelcoming. I am a very grateful guest here that simply fears losing the memories of home. In fact, the Bay Area is probably the closest one can get to an experience of Manila.

You be who you are: the freedom of embracing what stirs your heart

Let me close this note by sharing an interesting, amusing (to some, hopefully) childhood transition.

ErudiFi + Stanford GSB || ❤️ Education, Technology, and Humanities || Writes about work, life, well-being, and learning || Poet at heart || 🇵🇭

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