TEXAS, USA (MindaNews/09 March) — “Your name should sound more American,” says the boy across from me, grinning as he switches and replaces letters in my name as he deems fit. I smile and look away because I know he will fail. I am about as American as his shiny Michael Jordan’s shoes made in a developing country by weathered hands.
My name is one from a religion of Gods and Goddesses while my blood is from a cluster of Pacific islands where Spanish and Chinese were blended together. A place where my family’s roots went farthest back but my parent’s decided to uproot and find different soil. They left all relatives behind to give their kids the “American Dream.”
I still remember my childhood in the Philippines, little snippets of time. But the memory that is still crystal clear in my mind was watching as my grandparents waved us teary goodbye at the airport. Memories after are a blur. I still can’t speak my native language as I used to.
The boy in front of me isn’t grinning anymore. As I’d predicted. he failed to make my name more “American.” Instead, he looks at me with a confused look on his face and asks, “What are you anyway?”
I sigh and hold his gaze. ” I am just like the shiny shoes on your feet.” He says no more.
(Batang Mindanaw is the youth section of MindaNews. This is a space for young Mindanawons living in Mindanao or elsewhere. Eos Jagape Sison, 13, was born in Davao City. Her family migrated to Texas, USA in 2004. She’s into competitive swimming, plays the French horn in her school orchestra, loves reading, drawing, and taking care of her cat named Artemis)