8 years ago, news broke to me that was going to change my life forever; I will be immigrating to the United States. You would think that prepubescent me would jump for joy at the thought of moving to a different country to live the so-called "American Dream" and get to experience the cold weather all year round, being that the Philippines is the complete opposite. But that wasn't the case. I was devastated. I asked my mom, "Is this a joke?" to which she redundantly replied with a no.
Growing up I was always a social butterfly. I would get along with everyone and would make friends easily. I was a freshman in high school to an institution I've been in since first grade when the news broke. I knew everyone and everyone knew me. I had an amazing group of friends that I would always hang out with during and after school, share confidential secrets with and experience crazy adventures with. Mind you, we were 13 at that time and the only worry we had was not getting caught copying homework from each other 5 minutes before the class starts. I am smiling now just thinking about the good times we all had.
I told them the news the day after and they could not believe it either. To think that I've shared friendships with them since we were in diapers and just all of a sudden having to move to a country that I did not have a choice over still breaks my heart to this day. I only had three months before I say goodbye which is not a long time so I decided that instead of dwelling over the situation, I wanted to spend every counting moment with my friends and make the most out of it. So we did.
Come three months, they threw me the best farewell parties I can ask for. Yes, plural. It was a week long celebration from showing up to my house unannounced just to visit me, having a house party that was fun enough that alcohol was not needed and a tearjerker before I left the airport. I recall it to be the saddest day of my life that I could not stop crying and thinking about them even when I'm already on the plane.
It was crazy how due to a turn of events in a short amount of time, I went from the happiest teenager living her best life to the saddest emo kid who after landing in the States did not make any friends until years later. I am currently 21 years old and while these times are way behind me, I will never forget the misery and isolation I felt almost a decade ago. It changed me.