Egyptian Money

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

We were in downtown Manhattan when we exchanged currencies: his Egyptian pound for my Philippine peso. Neither would get us far in New York City, but we shared stories of these places, translated the languages, and explained the bills’ designs. It was more than currency. He’s Egyptian American and I’m Filipina American, both from immigrant families in the U.S. We became friends during our freshman year of college and I fell in love with him shortly before we graduated and moved to different cities. Years later, I relocated to New York City, where we met again. Our friendship was effortless--anything more wasn’t meant to last. In the end, I couldn’t throw this piece of paper away. As I look at it now, I think of an important friendship that spanned a decade. I remember the kindness that passed between us. We spoke often of our families and grew a mutual respect for the significant role our homelands played in our American identities. I witnessed his conviction and strength in being an Arab Muslim man in America, learned of the choices he made and the advocacy he did to be true and proud in a country that challenges his existence. In the time we shared, I saw, for one of the first times in my life, an America that should include both of us and the histories we represent. And through it all, I felt wonder for how this was even possible. In many ways, our lives are worlds apart, and yet we’ll always be uniquely intertwined in this American story.

Place(s): Egypt,Philippines

– Marianne De Padua

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