“I fell in love with this amazing island the moment I stepped off of the ferry and I knew that I wanted to find my dream here.” - Angelina
Angeline was born and raised in the Philippines. Her friends call her Angie. When she was very young her adopted mother was diagnosed with liver cancer and passed away. A year later her adopted father got re-married. In this marriage he had two sons, but before his second son was born he passed away from lung cancer.
She remembers that, “At a young age I had no choice but to grow up. I moved to Luzon because that’s what my adopted father wished before he passed away. After this I stayed with my adopted father’s sister in Olongapo.”. Her aunt had many kids and they couldn’t afford to pay for her education. She was brave and motivated even at the age of twelve and decided on her own to get a job as a babysitter. Her first cousin lived in Sicklerville, New Jersey at the time. He heard about Angelina’s situation and decided to adopt her. In 1999 Angie’s adoption paperwork was finalized and she came to the United Stated in 2000. Looking back on it, she explained that, “It wasn’t an easy transition to make. I had to learn English, get used to new types of food, and everything seemed so different compared to the Philippines. The most challenging part was that being adopted for a second time, especially when you are not a child anymore, is very difficult. It was hard for me to adjust to my new family, but we made it work. I am so grateful that they opened the door for me to a new world with so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have had back home in the Philippines”.
Angelina met her partner in 2006 and he is now the father of her three beautiful children. Angie moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 2007, because, “I fell in love with this amazing island the moment I stepped off of the ferry and I knew that I wanted to find my dream here.”
What connection have you made since you came to the US? I got a chance to meet people from all over the world and we learned how to share our different cultures and experiences. I also meet a lot of people from my own country. We always get together and share our stories of, “Being in America.
Have you found a community here on the Island? Yes! The Island has a small community and everybody knows each other. Everyone is kind to one another and tries to help each other
How do you find socializing with American? They are just like everyone else. I find them to be open minded, polite, helpful, and easy to get along with. They always correct your speech in a very polite and diplomatic way which is helpful for second language speakers. Most of them want to visit the Philippines and learn about our culture in order to have a better understanding of how we live.
What about language barrier? It was difficult when I first came to the U.S.A. because I hardly spoke English, but the more you speak, read, and socialize with others the faster you learn and adapt.
Do you share you culture with the people here? Yes I share as much as I can. I cook Filipino food for my friends like eggroll, adobo, and pansit to name a few. No social time would be complete without starting up the home karaoke machine for a few songs and entertainment!
What are the deference in lifestyle between Philiooines and the US?
There are many differences. One important one that I still have trouble with is how Americans call their elders by their first names. In the Philippines it is highly disrespectful to not refer to elders by their surname. The food is also much different and required me to adjust my taste buds.
Have you been exposed to any American stereotypes of Philippines? Yes, people always have their thoughts on how others and I respect that. I don’t think its that they are trying to be rude or anything like that. Its just human nature and people always simplify things that are different.
What kind of advice would you give to a new immigrant? Try to do your best to adapt yourself to culture differences. Learn how to speak English fluently and communicate without being misunderstood. The hardest part is getting used to different types of food and learning to socialize with people who are not from your own country.
What is your definition of home? Home is where your heart is. And my heart is here.