She’s weird, she’s cool, she’s smart, she’s my sister! My older sister, who is six years older than me is basically my best friend. Growing up, of course I looked up to her. She set the tone of how we as first generation Filipino-Americans were going to make it in our Hispanic-dominant town, Castroville. To be quite honest, we did not socialize within the Artichoke Center of the World, but we did connect closely within the Filipino Community the next town over. Thus, our childhood was filled with Filipino parties on the weekends, or participating in community fundraisers for the more grand festivals planned throughout the year.
Anyway, being the first born, I can see and understand why my sister was upset at our parents for not knowing societal norms. For example, she wore a pink dress during her first communion while all the other girls traditionally wore white, and for her elementary school award ceremony she dressed extremely formal while all the other kids were still in their school uniforms. Looking back at her childhood, there were plenty of embarrassing moments we all laugh with her about. She had to experience all these moments and mistakes because she was the eldest and our parents did not know. Now that we are older, we accept that it happened and do not blame our parents.
She is currently working for a biotech company and is not quite satisfied. Her goal as first generation and first born, was to go to college and get a degree in a science. Then, she would get a stable job to support herself and to also help out our family. Because she was only thinking about graduating with a degree that was practical and would put her high in the job market, she did not have the chance to think about her happiness. Even though she achieved her goals, she still feels unsatisfied with how her life is right now. Therefore, now that I am halfway through my college career, she constantly reminds me to enjoy what I am studying, to constantly be active and involved on campus. In addition to exposing myself to new things and broadening my perspectives, she encourages me to get a start on internships and jobs to help me gain valuable experiences and skills. All of this advise, all of this guidance, this is something she did not have. Despite her dissatisfaction of the adult life she lives today, I admire everything that she is. Quite honestly, if she ever chooses to do so, she can turn that all around. And just because I am her little sister, does not mean I can’t be there to support and help her shoot for a higher place as she has done for me.
After being in college for a while, I have been able to talk to my sister more about complex issues and we have a lot of fun with it. I do not think I would have made the decision to really take the risk and change my major from science to a social science (and music) if she hadn’t experienced all of those first born problems. Of course I still think about taking care of our parents and our family as soon as I get a job, but because of my sister I don’t have to feel that pressure. I am privileged enough to really explore my options after college.
I’m really glad my sister and I get along so well. She is a huge contributor to who I am today and always inspires me to be a better me.