A Photo Book of Me

In Fun
Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Photo Book of Me
Photo Book of Me

An enchanting shade of pink with a delicate plaid pattern gracing the cover is a photo book that unfolds countless tales of my childhood. Suddenly, I was two years old again, building a sand castle on the beach or touching an unknowingly scorching tiki. At first, I thought this was a way to showcase memories, however, it is a representation of solace within my family’s cultural identity as it holds symbolic significance related to their immigration story. With every glance at this photo book comes a smile on my face, not in response to my once-chubby cheeks, but rather because of the heritage that lies within it. My mother’s roots trace back to the Philippines, and although my father’s story began in America, his parents also previously immigrated from the Philippines. At the age of seven, my mother’s life took a significant turn when her parents decided to immigrate to America, embarking on a journey toward their dreams on Big Island, Hawaii. I still recall the stories my mother used to tell me about her elementary school days—how she was teased because of her loud Filipino accent or difficulty speaking English fluently. I would utter in disbelief each time, yet I could not help but awe at her perseverance, as she gave herself and her family a path toward a promising future. It was this little island filled with active volcanoes, yet lush valleys where my parents crossed paths. Gazing through the photo book, pictures of my childhood in Hawaii come to life, indicating that my parents’ dreams came true, not because it was handed to them, but because they worked hard.

Place(s): Philippines, United States

– Neah-Izabele Tablit

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant