In this busy world where we are always on the run, sometimes we lose track of things. Sometimes we forget and leave our cellphone somewhere. Other times we forget where we put our car keys. Frankly, we can lose track of anything. Sometimes we even lose track of who we are. I think that it is actually fairly common to lose track of who we are these days. There are so many different influences entering our lives that we can be swayed a bit, and a little bit more continuously until we have moved quite a large distance. When our values move like that, it can change our basic nature of who we are.
My wife, Feyma, came to the States when she was 22 years old. In many ways, she was still like a child. Of course, she was an adult in terms of her years, but she was still in the process of forming the person that she was. She was vulnerable to new ideas and influences that she encountered. Moving to a different country at a vulnerable time like that can make a major impact on a person’s life. That happened with Feyma. I have said many times on this site that Feyma changed a lot in the States. She became a lady, and she became an American lady at that. By the time she had lived ten years in the United States, Feyma was nothing like the girl that I married those many years ago. I don’t mean that as an insult, or anything negative, I only am stating a fact. It is a fact that she even agrees with.
Because Feyma had changed so much, moving back to the Philippines was a major change for her too. In changing, she had actually forgotten much about what it was to be a Filipino. I have written a lot lately about SIR, and how Filipino Culture works. I learned something new about it, and about Feyma this week.
As I have written on this site many times now, I started studying the Bisaya langauge about a year and a half ago. My teacher is Bebe Metillo. Bebe is a great teacher, and she not only teaches me the language, she helps me understand the local culture too. The two areas of study go hand in hand. Over my time of studying with Bebe, I have noticed that Feyma is coming to my office and hanging out with Bebe more and more. Sometimes Feyma just listens to our class, other times she gets into discussions with Bebe. Since Bebe and I have been getting somewhat involved in culture more for a couple of months, I have noticed that Feyma pays a lot of attention, and participates in the discussion. I like it, and it gives me additional insight into Feyma and into the culture too.
Earlier this week, Feyma and I went to Bukidnon to visit a friend. On the ride home, we were talking, and the discussion was kind of a deep philosophical discussion. It covered a lot of different issues. After a while, Feyma told me something.
“You know,” said Feyma, “Bebe has helped me rediscover myself.”
This is a very strong statement. Feyma went on to explain to me that in her time in the States, she had, in many ways, forgotten the cultural things about being Filipino. The things that Bebe has been teaching me have helped her move her life back toward the direction that she knew before we married. Feyma thanks Bebe for steering her in a direction that lead her back toward understanding who she was, who she has become, and who she wants to be.
Profound, don’t you think? I sure do. I knew already that Bebe had been very helpful to me, but finding out that Feyma had also benefitted from Bebe surprised me, but also made me feel good.
I guess that no matter what our age, we are all on a path of discovering who we are. That path can help us change ourselves in ways that change the basic make-up of who we are. We can change who we are, and move closer to who we want to be. I am not sure we can ever become 100% who we want to be, because we will always refine our definition of who we want to be, so it will change and improve all the time.
I’m glad to know that Feyma has been on that journey too, and that she is getting closer to the place she wants to end up.
Thanks to Bebe.