Have you ever had a goal or a dream that you’ve aspired to since you were a child? For me, it’s always been the same one. My dream was to start my own life in a coastal place in an environment similar to my native place of birth. Finding a place I could call, “home,” and be happy.
I had never found that home on the coast. Instead, I’d mostly been an Arizona resident, living in a small town in the mountains.
I wonder, why hadn’t I lived my dreams yet? Maybe because of my circumstances?
Being born in the Philippines, orphaned, and later raised in the Midwest of the United States could have had its limitations! Of all places my adoptive family could have chosen to relocate to, it was Phoenix, Arizona.
For whatever reason, instead of living my dream of finding that home on the coast, I spent my teenager years in the Southwest. I lived in the Sonoran desert for years surrounded by saguaro cacti, shrubs and yucca plants–trying to find out who I am, and what to do with my life.
After high school came college and a need for in-state tuition. My choices for universities were limited to nearby places that were cooler in temperature. I chose Flagstaff, a small town that had a charming, historic downtown. It was smaller than ideal but reminded me of the Midwest. It was two hours North of Phoenix so it was much cooler too. And the nature there was beautiful, tucked away in Ponderosa pines and old, volcanic mountain ranges.
Little did I know, I’d be spending all of my twenties in its university–roaming degree programs and careers, trying to find myself more than anything else.
I’ve been living in Flagstaff for ten years now which hadn’t been my plan. I’d gone to visit so many coastal regions of the United States too. Even recently, I just returned from a trip to California where I had some job interviews.
I looked at housing, the cost of living, jobs and libraries. I could sort of envision myself there, but something was missing.
I recognized it was my own lack of connections there.
So, I vacationed at a some amazing beaches at the end of that trip and I returned, realizing a lot. Feeling humble, slightly sad, but content.
I have one more job interview waiting here in Flagstaff. Now that I’ve returned, I see that it might be more practical living where I am and working on what I’ve recently found I love to do–at libraries.
I could gain more library experience with this potential job and finish my Master’s of Library and Information Science degree in December.
And shift my focus to maybe not fulfilling my dreams right away, but working on what I love to do here, and maybe that will lead me onwards.
From all that I am and come from, I can admit that life as an adoptee for me has been different from the norm and challenging. I’ve struggled with identity and finding a sense of direction in life since I’d had such a conflicting past. Still, I’d grown into myself in the Southwestern region of the United States.
One main challenge here in the Southwest is that I’ve felt stranded and alienated due to its demographics, but the best things here are aspects that everyone of all backgrounds can learn to love. The nature, beauty, decor, art, culture and history are treasures we can all connect with in society.
I think that I’ve arrived at a happy medium in this time of job searching and trying to find ways to live my dreams as an adoptee with my own battles. By simply loving myself in the place that I’m in, and finding something that I love, I hope I can become more of who I want to be, wherever I am.