Thanks to Zest Books for inviting me to join the Little Fish blog tour and share a story about a time when my life was in transit. Stick around and enter to win your own copy of the book and a matching swag pack!
Little Fish by Ramsey Beyer
Publication date: 3 Sept 2013 by Zest Books
ISBN 10/13: 1936976188 | 9781936976188
About the book:
To eighteen-year-old Ramsey Beyer, the transition from a high school in small town Michigan to freshman year of college at a bustling art school wasn't entirely easy. Like most college freshman, Ramsey experienced an entire range of emotions through the year, from being painfully homesick to gleefully independent - and everything in between. And yet, overall, and in Ramsey's own words, at college she felt "limitless . . . like I'm challenging everything I thought I knew." Little Fish artfully tells the story of that different kind of year.
My Little Fish Memory:
Just Keep Swimming
I had almost the complete opposite experience than Ramsey did at that age, and yet we faced some of the same challenges as well: experiencing new things, feeling homesick, and defining who you are as an adult. When I was 18, instead of going to college in the United States as I had planned, I found myself boarding a plane back to the Philippines. I hadn't been there except to visit since I was about 12. I was incredibly unhappy to be returning--I had spent all of high school planning for my big university experience, buffing up my grades and extracurricular activities--all that hard work for nothing, it seemed.
And yet my parents had a good point: I had to come home to repair the withering bond between me and my younger siblings, who were growing up without me. My family had returned to Manila a few years before and left me in California where I had wanted to finish high school. To my brother and sister I was a face in a photograph, a distant voice on a scratchy long distance phone call at holidays. Even as I begrudgingly deleted my application to Yale, I knew I wanted to be more than just a vague memory of someone an ocean away.
There were lots of things I really loved about going home. I had missed my family and now I could see them every day. No $3-per-minute rushed phone calls at holiday time--we could just spend all day together, eating and talking and laughing. I love cooking for my family and that's hard to do when you're 7,300 miles apart. I didn't have to work (aside from cooking and laundry and the usual at-home chores). My brother and I played video games ad nauseam and listened to Pinoy rock music. I learned my little sister's autistic quirks. I may not have loved every moment of my time there, but those are some of the really good things I don't regret.
Going back to school, however, was a really different story. It took hours of commuting back and forth to get to my classes (a 15-minute walk to a jeepney, to another jeepney, to a bus, to a jeep again, and finally either a tricycle ride or a really long walk to my building--and all that in reverse at the end of the day). Talk about culture shock. People dressed differently, and had cliques that were hard to break into. I spoke Tagalog enough like a native speaker, but I spoke English like an American and found it hard to switch back. I think I alienated a lot of people (some of them on purpose). I considered joining the international students club, but a lot of the people I met there were really temporary visitors--here for a year--while I was home to stay. I didn't really have friends beyond people who needed help with math. I felt like a complete moron in my French class (where I kept pronouncing things in Spanish--the second language I'd taken in high school). I was a fish out of water. I missed my friends and got really depressed.
I missed my independence, working at a bookstore, and delving into schoolwork that meant something to me. I missed Yale (I've never been there, actually, but that missed opportunity is still a huge gaping hole in my life that I try not to look at or think about, most days). My mom recognized that I was sad, more than just sad--clinically sad. She let me go "home" to Los Angeles and I'm eternally grateful for that. I couldn't have imagined I'd be doing what I am today: creating, writing, and still swimming along. I don't know if I accomplished what I set out to do by going back to Manila, but I do know that those formative years were crucial in shaping the person that I am today. For better or for worse, I wouldn't change a thing.
Okay, to be honest, I'd change that part about not going to Yale. I really wanted that.
You can check out some pages from Ramsey's new book on her Tumblr!
|You can enter to win this neato swag pack!|
- Open to US/Canada residents only.
- We are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
- One set of entries per household please.
- If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
- Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
- Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
- If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here.
- PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find. Thanks!