You say yes, I say no.
You say stop, but I say go, go, go!
You say hi, I say low.
You say why and I say I don't know.
Oh no! You say goodbye and I say hello.
- Lennon/McCartney, "Hello, Goodbye"
Recently I made a big decision that can have life-changing implications. How exactly it can alter my life remains to be known. What is known is that I finally did it : I gave up my United States Permanent Resident Card, more commonly known as "green card". It was a very difficult decision to make considering the advice of people I know, and considering the long wait it took to get a green card. If I remember correctly, my family waited about 15 years for my grandmother's petition to be approved. Surrendering my green card came after a lot of careful and long-term analysis. I wrestled with the idea as the card's expiration date drew near. In the end I was at peace with my decision.
Three things convinced me. First and foremost, my family is in the Philippines. My wife is here, and she's due to give birth to our first child very soon. I could have petitioned her, of course, but that would entail me staying in the US for at least 6 more months to work on her papers. That's an amount of time I wasn't willing to give AT THIS MOMENT. Second, I just can't turn my back on our family's furniture business. I'm not a hundred percent devoted to it, I have to admit, but I know in the back of my mind that sooner or later I'll be devoting almost all of my time to it. Our business, with God's blessing, has given our family the life we enjoy now. It's a better-than-average life that I'm grateful for. I feel it's my duty to at least give back by helping manage it. Besides, my two siblings don't look like they want anything to do with it, so I guess the responsibility falls on me.
Lastly, the Philippines is home. Sure, the standard of living in the US is so much better. For one, US residents are disciplined, something that I can't say about (and totally abhor about) our countrymen. Americans follow rules and sacrifice for the greater good. The US is one huge organized place, while the Philippines is a spontaneous mess that's waiting to implode. Still, my heart is in 'Pinas. It's my homeland. Hopeless as it seems, I'm still willing to risk my future here in the Philippines.
I'm aware of the implications. Trust me, I listened to my relatives and friends' advice against giving up my green card. Even the consular officer in the US Embassy tried to talk me out of it while I was surrendering my green card to him. But I had to go with my gut and choose once and for all. Having the greencard presented me with a fall-back option. Sometimes when we have options, we become half-hearted and second-guess our actions. I wanted to eliminate the excuse "but if it doesn't work, I can always move to the US...". Now there will be no more excuse. I'm going all-in on my life here in my country. I'm not trying to sound patriotic here, I'm just giving the reason for my seemingly-irrational decision.
To my grandmother and my Angeles family who were responsible for providing me a green card, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know the work you put in, the patience and the joy that you shared. I truly appreciate it. Having a green card was a privilege that not many people enjoy. I did enjoy the privilege, that's for sure. It's just that giving it up, I felt, was the right thing to do in my case. (For what it's worth, it broke my heart to give it up.)
I know I may regret it someday, but it's up to me to make sure I don't.
I'll still be seeing you guys, using this instead :
Again, THANK YOU. See you when I see you. =)
Rush of Blood to the Head
We all have something to say. If I get the rush and find a keyboard, I blog mine. Anything and everything under the sun. And stars.