The Trouble with “Where are you from.”

This past spring break, one of the unexpected things I did was transfer my CD back-up files into my external hard drive. Like all my random escapades, it all started with a memory that is being longed to be visited and it had to be quenched by proper action. So I looked for my old CDs in the storage, propped myself in the living room, and got to working. As I looked through these files, I was reminded on my past, my childhood, my upbringing, and how cheerful it was to see the difference places I have traveled and grown to love.

I was born in Manila, Philippines, where for six years, I grew up in a home that my grandfather have had built to secure his family’s futures. To his dismay, however, my parents decided to take the call in the southern part of the Philippines, the second biggest mainland called Mindanao, in a city called Iligan. I consider this as our first missionary move as I grew to find the place to be more different that where we moved from. Different language, different groups of people, different housing, different lifestyle, and different expectations. We stayed here for about three years, and I remember distinctly how my parents took me and my sister aside to discuss a new opportunity that they were considering.

Thus, Africa meets little Kian! We moved to Blantyre, Malawi, and this place for sure, is a living quite different from Philippines. But not only for me, but for my parents and my sister. Adjusting to a new country and culture required a familial effort, but it wasn’t long until we grew very fond of our new location. The people, the culture, the nature, the way of life that had bonded my family and I in a way that would take another blog post to share. It wasn’t long until the age of the high school years were calling me to my next journey: Kenya.

Yes, I attended a wee boarding school in Nairobi, Kenya called “Maxwell Adventist Academy”. I have an array of stories from my time and experiences in this high school in my future blog posts, so please look out for those! Kenya had so many adventures for me, and I was almost sad to say goodbye to it when my parents announced that our contract with Malawi had gone, and that now it was time to go on another adventure. Canada was a close call for us since we had some family over there, but God’s calling was for my family to stay in Africa, so stay in Africa we did and got another call to serve in Botswana. This allowed me and my sister to finish our high school years in Kenya before setting out to the United States to get a college education.

The unpredictable weather of Nebraska welcomed me and my sister as we moved to Lincoln to attend Union College. After four incredible years in this college, my sister decided to stay in Lincoln to continue pursuing her career in nursing, while I journeyed to Berrien Springs, Michigan, to pursue mine in community development. Once I was done, my calling brought me back to Union College in Lincoln once more, where after giving me a direction for my purpose, allowed me to return the favor by helping students find theirs.

And this is where we are today, my current place, which is in Lincoln, Nebraska. The arduous question of “where are you from” is such a challenging one to answer because what does that mean? “Where is home”does not help either as home has many forms of defining it. However, as I like to explain to others, 1) I was born in the Philippines, 2) I grew up in Africa, 3) I moved to the US for school, and 4) this is currently where I live. Although we don’t have our original home that we grew up in and my parents are still residing, serving in Botswana, I can make a home at where I am. And my adventure does not end there either! I hope to make many more memories and travels in my future. And for now, I will treasure my time here in this state and I cannot wait to share them with you.

Thanks for stopping by, friend. I’ll see you soon!

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