Friday, December 05, 2008

Another Story from an Amazing Immigrant Student from the Phillipines and How Her Mother Helped Her and Announcing San Pedro Ballet Company's Nutcracker

How the Break of a Filipino Family Lead a Mother and Daughter to the US Where They Not Only Survived, but the Daughter Has Set High Goals for Herself

By Jeanna Abaca, 17, San Pedro High School student, senior

Going through the Boys and Girls Club College Bound Program, so far Jeanna has been accepted to UC Merced and has applied to CSULB, UCI, UCLA, UCSD, Stanford and Pepperdine

Like millions of children in this country, I come from a broken family. What makes me slightly different though is that I grew up without a father in the Philippines , where, during my childhood, broken families were taboo.

A month before my seventh birthday, my dad arrived from Singapore after a year of absence. He had just barely come home when I excitedly went through his things to find gifts, and I ended up looking in his wallet. I wanted to see Singapore dollars. Instead, I found a picture of him and another woman cuddling.

Being only six, I didn't know what the picture meant so I playfully showed it to my mom and teased her about my dad having another girlfriend. Sadly, that was the truth.

As I descended our stairs the next morning, I saw my mom crying behind the front door. I had never seen her like that before. My dad was leaving forever. I was so confused because my dad just came home and I knew that he wasn't supposed to leave again for another three months.

If I hadnt woken up, he would've left without even saying goodbye. After that, I wasn't allowed to talk about my dad. My mom didn't want other people to feel sorry for me. Still, people treated me differently because of my family situation.

The separation was a stain on our family name. Broken families, at that time, were rare in the Philippines and were looked down upon. Filipinos, especially in the provinces, are very conservative and intolerant of such families.

I remember standing in front of my first grade class to announce that my father had left us. I didn't know why my teacher made me do that; all I can remember was how small I felt.

Since then, I was known as the kid without the father.

To compensate for not having a father, my mother, a tigress of a woman, provided me with everything I could possibly want and need. She worked hard to keep me at an esteemed private school. She succeeded in life despite the put-downs she received for not having a husband. She overcame all the detriments life threw at her and gained people's respect regardless of her marital status.

She became my mother, my father, my best friend, my protector, and my inspiration. My mother taught me to always keep my head up and to be strong. She brought me to the United States to start a new life, where I won't be judged simply based on my family background.

My dad' s absence, my mom's examples, and my community's reaction to my family situation have ultimately made me more determined to succeed. I am going to be a lawyer to protect and defend the oppressed, especially women and children.

Now that I'm in the United States , I am going to work hard to achieve this dream and to be my family s pride. I will be living proof that one can move on from the painful past and succeed.

WHO: San Pedro City Ballet, Patrick David Bradley and Cynthia Bradley – Artistic Directors
WHAT: 15th Anniversary of “The Nutcracker”
WHERE: Warner Grand Theatre 478 W. 6th Street, San Pedro
WHEN: Saturday, December 13th at 7:00 pm, Sunday, December 14th at 2:00 pm
Ticket information:
$35 Premier Seats – best in the house, limited
$25 Adults
$15 Seniors and children 12 years and under