A Very Different World

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CONCEPCION, Monica Steffi
Asst. Prof. Nerissa Del Carmen Guevara
Lit202: Creative Non-Fiction Paper
26 February 2011

A Very Different World

It's a typical Saturday night for Jun as he enters a restaurant in Chinatown that serves Filipino Cuisine. The warm and welcoming ambiance in the small space being rented in Chinatown was enough for him to enjoy free time alone. He usually eats dinner in this place before going back to the apartment that he shares with his cousin. Perhaps the Filipino food served in the restaurant was cooked in a traditional Filipino manner that gave it an authentic taste which he loves. The ambiance and the food often make him reminiscent of his life back when he was still in his home country, the Philippines. It’s the only place where he never had to experience a tremendous longing for the happiness he feels in present time but it may not be the only thing that had crossed his mind but also his first few years of living in California.

Ten years ago, a forty-nine year old Jun inhaled heavily as he stepped out of the plane in an International Airport in a state in California. The clean, fresh and cold autumnal breeze of September had him astonished that he thought, it smelled so good without any trace of pollution.

As he was walking to the entrance of the airport from the plane, he noticed that the airport was nice—perhaps he meant that it was as clean as it can be—, the people were just calm as they can be even if there were a lot of people on the pre-departure area and in the arrival area. It wasn't like in the Philippines that the entire barangay is in the airport to salubong.

But this didn't suspend his anxieties and stop him from being so nervous because he was in a foreign land and he will be embracing a very different culture from the culture that he grew up with. It's very difficult to embrace a culture especially if one is not as familiar as he is with the culture that the country where he grew up in—and to some, it would be a culture shock for them. Thankfully, California is one of the States in United States that had a unique diversity because there wasn't just one race of people in it but there were different races in it that the culture of these different races mix together and everyone has respect for eveyone regardless of where the person came from, if the person has a different race, if the person has a different religion, or even the sexual preference of the person and that's exactly what Jun loved about the United States.

Jun was already chewing his last bite of the food he ordered when he saw the time on the wall clock in the restaurant. It was already time for him to call his family back in the Philippines so he chewed in a faster pace than the normal way of chewing and rushed all the way home. It was a habit for him to call his family back in the Philippines every night and he never missed a day of not calling them.

After calling his family members, he went straight to bed even if it was still an early time for to get some sleep. He sees to it that he goes to bed by 9pm or maybe that wasn't the only reason why he went straight to bed. Maybe he was just too tired.

It was still four in the morning when he woke up the next day. It was very early in the morning and it was still in the weekend so there was no reason to get up so early but his body clock was set that way. Since the time difference between California and the Philippines is probably fourteen hours, he calls his family to ask how their day was for them as they give him dry conversations. Jun doesn't really like how they were treating him but it was okay with him—just by hearing their voices is really something for him.

A couple of hours later, after making a call to his family back in the Philippines, Jun had just finished doing his household chores and the office work that he brought home a few days ago. It was such a routine for him that perhaps this routine of his is getting him sick...
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