A humbling reminder of my past – (NZ) migrants:

After a bout of crazy busy traffic filled flights I was relieved to finally be on rota for an evening training flight, only my flight was cancelled, too strong a winds. Darn you Mother Nature! (And, I didn’t really mean it, don’t hurt me!). With that, no further scheduled flights and days off (the instructor’s not mine), I would be grounded for the next four days. “Look, tears, tears” as I patted in the direction of my face with my two hands mimicking.

(From humble beginnings to an extraordinary future)

So on the way home I decided to go buy some comfort food, except I’m really rubbish when it comes to buying ‘unhealthy’ food. I parked the car up, changed out of my uniform and then decided to walk left down the street towards the cluster of convenience stores and fast food shops. There seems to be a cluster of such stores in every direction I walk from where I currently reside, so I had plenty of choice on what to eat that’s for sure. Again, if only I knew what I wanted. NZ$5 pizza? (Cause NZ is the land of the world’s cheapest pizza!). Nah, too much dough. A roast dinner? Seems a bit odd to be eating that at 9pm. Chinese, ha no since I have a pot of Chinese water based soup waiting for me to consume at home. Ham burger, nope. What’s a Hawaiian burger? [Shrugs] Fish and chips?

‘OK, make up your mind woman,’ as I continue to stand in front of a shop window trying to work out their menu, ‘you’re being stared at now.’

OK, fish and chips it is, that’s satisfyingly unhealthy, right? Except I asked for it to be breaded and later eat it with a fork. I walk into the shop greeted by a pawing white cat. ‘Of course’. An Asian woman with glasses comes to serve me and I spot a small child sitting in the corner playing by himself as, I assume, his parents work; a two-persons band. Here I am, on the other side of the globe and on the upside down part of the world, only to be reminded of where I come from. Those days of when my brother and I also played around our parents’ shop as they worked tirelessly trying to survive in a foreign country. I laugh with the server as she punches in some numbers on the cash register, “224 dollars? I changed my mind about the fish and chips” I teased… She got all flustered with the thing, “this thing worked a moment ago” as she continued to keep trying. Everything was done with pen and paper at my parents’ shop, at least she had a gigantic oversized and heavy calculator to help her, or hinder as it’s currently appearing to be. I was talking to a local only a few weeks ago about being here in NZ and on this training course; the debt it brings and the investment in time also. She commented that it will all be worth it in the long run. I remember telling her that I’m already very grateful for everyday now and with continuing success it’s also important that you don’t forget where you come from, otherwise how will you learn to appreciate anything? She was surprised by my answer and insinuated that many people don’t remember because they are fickle. What I really wanted to say to her is, how many people had to grow up the way I did? Majority of the population don’t grow up as children of immigrants or as ethnic minorities*. Like the little boy in the shop tonight, that was also my childhood. My parents talked about survival. We as the next generation talk about satisfaction. What do we know about survival, the hardest part of that journey had already been walked for us long ago.

Then, as I wait for my food I decide to pop into the convenience store next door to buy some red liquorice because I don’t like the black ones, yuck! The owner asks, “you from the Filipines?”

So I point to my face and ask, “cause I look it?”

“No.”

Looking at him I ask, “why, are you Filipino?”

“No, it’s your accent. I have a lot of Filipino classmates from University and you sound like them.”

.. .. .. Uh~~ this is a new one. OK, a few guess I’m Filipino cause of my skin colour but never before by my accent. If anything people keep guessing I’m American, and from the lips of an actual American immigrant here, she’s adamant my accent is definitely Scottish! So there. On the other side of the globe and on the upside down part of the world, I still go through the same things as back home. Oh life, I thought you were fickle?

*I understand with chatting with some locals here that there is still a struggle with the Maori and the Caucasian locals here. That is a different issue of which I have no expertise nor entitled to comment on. I am not referring to these groups of people but purely of fresh immigrants.

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