“When tropical kid dreams of Snow”

“You won’t know you are failing, unless you try “-that was me. I am a young dreamer from the home of more than 7000 islands, the Philippines. Just like a normal teenager I struggle everyday with ups and downs. I was sometimes ridiculed for the music I love to listened to and the clothes I wear; typically its “childish bullying”. Just like you I always think I ain’t especial whenever I failed and there isn’t an extra-ordinary memories for me. In the contrary, I never stop counting my yearnings in life, my dream destinations, to touch and play snows and create my own snowman. But I thought it would all gonna stay as drawings forever until I realized that the opportunity to achieve my dreams was right next to me, I just have to work for it.

I used to believed that I can’t be good in writing, I had written senseless articles that was 5 times rejected in my journalism club till I finally stop and just do nothing with ideas that comes into my mind. I wasted hundred of great ideas because I’m having a hard time to write it down and I have no one to motivate me; except my inner self always trying to say “just give up and stop”. Until one day I was shocked seeing my misfire skills in writing bridging me with my dreams. I am consciously writing essays for a scholarship abroad. Everything had gone really quick like a magic. I don’t have people to tell me what should I do next, I only have myself and it’s amazing that it is being productive. Looking at it, my weaknesses turned into my strength, my dedication serves as my motivation and my dreams are my inspiration. There I realized, an individual can achieved success itself when he posses three spirits, the spirit of faith that you can do it, spirit of believing in yourself, and the spirit of having manageable behavior in capable of all things. All these three spirits would build strong foundation in reaching what you are looking up to in life.

It was in the midst of November 2014 when I received a news that I was qualified for an academic year scholarship in America. We all dreamt of this, a zero percent would reject this opportunity. I had gone pounds of sweat working on my travel documents but it was all worth it. Upon my arrival in Washington DC back in August 2015, it doesn’t feel like I’m in the states but my eyes had seen diversity noticeably. Before I arrived in my host state which is in Colorado, I asked myself “How could I survive walking in a Filipino shoes (identity) in another land?”

My journey began with full of excitement and nervous to face the whole new world for me. Culture-shock leads me to hundreds of questions in my head. I had asked myself if why do Americans serves uncooked tomato or carrots for lunch. I also started to worry about the dog might poop inside the house or the cat would eat the fish and foods in the counter. Everything is way different back in my country. Funny stereotypes taught me a lot as a grown citizen of the world. I learned so much from it in understanding diversity, humanity and the aspects of tranquility. As an Ambassador for my country I was also asked weird questions too. I have this kid who asked me if do people wear clothes in the Philippines? Do you know what is Google? or Do you have McDonald’s back in your country? , It might all sounds insulting for others but to me  it was an opportunity to introduce my veins to this people, it’s my obligation to educate them about my culture and I have to be proud of because maybe I was the first person they spoke with from my country.

The year went so fast till one day I woke up without noticing it was snowing outside, the lifetime realization of a dream for an Asian living in a country where snow doesn’t exist. The front of the house was covered by a 6 feet of snows and the day of my departure comes along in 2 more weeks. I was enlightened that this year was full of first time experiences for young leader like me. I had finally created my own snowman that I named “Cuttie” because its nose was made from a piece of orange instead of a carrot. I had enjoyed my year with my friends from Pakistan, Thailand, Germany, Russia, France, Palestine, Japan, China and from all around the world. We made a global community that promotes peace and unity within all cultures of the earth. I saw the world in a larger perspective. One thing for sure that I will never get erase of in my mind, in this world that is  full of wars,bombing and greediness, there is nothing wrong or right with all things that are  happening “it is just different”. Many surprises consisted my exchange study journey that made me to evolved to be a better man of earth. I understand many important things to achieve how cultural differences could unite the world.

Not all people in Spain are Spanish, Not all eggs are sphere, Not all Asian knows how to eat with chopsticks, Not all in Germany drinks beer all day, or Spaghetti from other sides of the world taste different. All of this stuffs represent that diversity comes in different medium but easy to reach and understand  you learn to open your mind to the possibilities of uniqueness and differences. 

I went home bringing the newly-transformed and matured me. I’m no longer just a Filipino, I am now a citizen of the world. I have set in my mind the importance of serving humanity and respecting diversity for peace , unity and one world, one community remains at peace.

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4 Comments » for “When Tropical Kid Dreams of Snow”
  1. Jhona Mae Serna says:

    Thumbs up!

  2. Claudia Thomas says:

    Well said Jan! I’m really glad I had the chance to meet you during your year in Colorado and was able to see how much you grew and how you put your heart into everything you did. You were a great ambassador of the Philippines!

  3. Amy says:

    Sure do Miss you!

  4. Sofia says:

    Oh mygad Jan I’m so proud of you as your friend and batch mate. I’ve seen your determination and the true personality of Jan art and how you improved.

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