Sometimes we are faced with serious choices therefore here’s my story on why I chose to let go of my Filipino citizenship. Because sometimes we cannot call the place you’re from home unless your heart states so.
To start with, this is not a negative post and in this article I will narrate the reasons why I chose to claim a new citizenship and chose to let go of my Filipino one and do not intend to get it again (or at least for now). Before you start judging my choices I ask you kindly to read my story further for enlightenment but if you think I’m being a jerk and a joke to humanity then okay, I’m a jerk and a joke and you can be an ignorant fool who listens to nothing– just kidding.
I was only sixteen when I was faced with one of the biggest life changing decision in my life and that is to either study in the Philippines or move to Finland with my sister and pursue my education in there. I was very young but I knew what I want to study, which university to go and who I want to be in the future and that is to be an artist and I chose to be a multi media artist concentrating on design and animation. That was my choice and I wanted to be that or nothing.
When I was in my senior year in high school most of my classmates were so busy taking extra classes to get in to the universities they were applying while I was trying to figure out how could I make my parents agree on my professional choice.
You see my mother was an interior designer and marketing graduate, an artist by heart, and she understood my frustration when they try to explain to me that the school I chose was too expensive and they could not afford the tuition fee. I know this because the only school I wanted so badly to get in is apparently one of the leading universities in the country meaning my parents would definitely and will shed nearly millions of pesos just for the school’s tuition fee. That is the unfortunate reality if you want to send your kids to good school in the Philippines.
“In Finland, I learned to be strong and I learned how to live and survive on my own.”
Anyway, on my defense on this case which I handled with a little hint of teenage stubbornness because I knew everything including how the universe came to existence and why the sky is green at the old age of sixteen and told my parents I will either go to that specific school in that specific course or nothing.
Well, I was so sure I convinced them until my sister told our parents that in Finland education does not cost anything and that she is willing to import me from Philippines to Finland and live with them while studying. Well, to no surprise my parents sure did not think twice about this and exported me to Finland just months later. I don’t blame my parents for anything, they are awesome and they managed to send two of my siblings to one of the top schools in the country and both of my siblings are successful in their respective lives. Unfortunately I am the youngest and the fund has gone low and dry like the Sahara desert. Such a bummer but hey, I’m sure I was part of its draught.
Anyway, I arrived in Finland during autumn of 2007. I was fresh out of high school and just had my first plane ride ever. And yes, I still could remember pretty clearly how painful it was because it was long and it deflated my ass flat like a pancake as I suffered; but thanking the world and its glory we arrived safely. There were several course choices for me to attend but my sister and me settled on Culinary Arts because it was the easiest to get in. You see I am not the smartest kid on the block so I had to settle on something easy. The main problem I had to face in here is that I never cooked anything in my life! I didn’t even know how to turn on the gas stove back at home or what is the difference between milk and cream for instance. I was so screwed!
However years has passed and I graduated from the cooking school with good scores and had good chef jobs during and right after my three year stint in that college and for the past eight, buts I worked for many good restaurants with amazing chefs and as well made a lot of good friends and could seriously cook just about anything! A lot has changed since I moved to Finland and I became a good part of this country and its people. Since I moved here I had several jobs including personal assistant (yaya), baby sitter, cleaner, dishwasher and a kitchen helper. I had to work to provide for myself because when I turned eighteen my sister and her family had to relocate to Abu Dhabi because of her husband’s demanding job and I was left in Finland on my own. Of course they made sure I would survive and trained me not to be an idiot and how to be independent.
I was a part of this amazing team who made amazing rustic Finnish style dishes
I was on my own since I turned legal and that was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I probably wouldn’t be who I am right now if I always relied on someone else. In Finland, I learned to be strong and I learned how to live and survive on my own. I am so sure that if I stayed in Manila and my parents strived to support me to be in that school I would’ve never learned how to do all what I can do now and would have never been the person I am right now. I’ll for surely be a little brat who thinks I could get everything I want. I probably would be jobless for a long while and would feed off my parent’s money.
“I no longer have any reasons to go back because the home I loved so much no longer exist.”
I am not saying I had a hard life in Finland and to be honest it was quite easy and everything seemingly go to its own place. Big thanks to this of course go to the organized system this country have. I did not pay for my education here but I made sure that I did everything right and according to the law and had all of my taxes fixed and strived to contribute to the community. I do love it here and do consider Finland as my home. I feel like I belong in here, I feel safe and I know I’d spend more years living in this country until I decide to move on for new experiences. Eight years living happily and content in here has been bliss. I found friends in here who I will forever keep in my heart, my family lives in here as well and the amazing workplaces I’ve been made me feel like I truly belong here and that maybe my parents knew in their hearts that I did not fit in well back in the Philippines that’s why even though it was very difficult for them to let go of me, they still did.
I have been living in Finland for eight years already and I sure did consider this country my own home but part of me still longs for Philippines. I could not deny the fact that it is still the country where I was born and raised by amazing parents. I could not let go of my origin and I never will. This year marks my eight years far away from home and that is closer to a decade than anything else and this year I received the news that I am no longer a Filipino and instead a citizen of Finland. I felt happy because finally I am no longer subjected to the expensive renewing of working visas and that finally I am an adopted citizen of this country that I considered home for a long time. I am happy to finally call myself a Suomalainen (Finnish citizen). However, I am truly not happy losing my Filipino citizenship and I know I can retrieve it again whenever I want and apply for dual citizenship but the idea of losing my title as a citizen of Philippines even just for a short time saddens me.
My mother and I during my early years
“For now I am trying to save up so I can pursue my dreams and wishes of heart and as well to figure out on how I can contribute to this world and be a part of it.”
All the while the thought of having home where the heart is no longer apply on this case because you see just early this year I had by far the worse news of my life. My mother, who I loved so dearly, was hospitalized with little hope of survival. A week after I arrived in the Philippines I lost my mother and I found myself lost in the place I used to call home and everything seems to be so unfamiliar like nothing was the same. I was so attached to Philippines because of her because she has always been the person who supported me in all the choices I made in my life.
Her home, the place where I grew up, was my safe haven whenever I go back to visit her during those eight years I have been away. Now that she is gone the idea of having a home back in the Philippines died with her. I no longer have a place in the Philippines. I no longer have any reasons to go back because the home I loved so much no longer exist.
Sure the house still sits there and it continuously will for many years because the hell, if the house moves I’d be terrified all right. You see I love my mother dearly and she is the main reason why I’ve been visiting Philippines over the years so when she passed away early this year I was broken and shortly after I came back to Finland I received my new citizenship and I was literally crying when I got it because it may seem to be just a coincidence but seems like I got myself a new home because the place I used to call home is now just an empty house with no life in it.
Now I am trying my best to start fresh and move on from my mourning and enjoy the life in this country that adopted me and considered as part of it. Maybe in the future I would eventually apply for a dual citizenship and even maybe consider going back to the Philippines for a short while. Besides I still have my best friends and family living there and of course my father who I love equally as much. I would love to go back just to spend time with him because I always hanged out with my mother whenever I was there. Seriously, will dads consider going for a manicure, pedicure and facial with their daughters? I think not. For now I am trying to save up so I can pursue my dreams and wishes of heart and as well to figure out on how I can contribute to this world and be a part of it.
So yes, the reason I chose to let go of my Filipino citizenship have deeper reason than just simply getting rid of it. When they say home is where the heart is may be true but in my case home is where I’ll start fresh and build a new beginning.
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