Blame Canadia

This past week, I've been editing and uploading the videos I took of my trip to Canada last month. I've so far updated my Youtube channel with the first half of the trip and I plan to finish everything by this week. The thing is I haven't really seen the extent my footage until I finally sat down and compiled them together to tell the story of the trip.

It's been fun recalling what those two weeks have been like, and I think it's about time that I put this blog together. I've been meaning to write this since the last day of the trip but I just kept putting it off. Not anymore.

A lot of my friends know that I've spent a couple of years in Canada - particularly the years before I went to college in UST. This leads people to assume that I'm as Canadian as Robin Scherbatsky is. In actuality, I'm an American owing to my birthplace being California. The only reason I was in Canada was because the only family I have in the States are those of my father's, and being an illegitimate child, the potential for drama is just ludicrous.
It's all right there!

So 13 years ago, I flew way up north where people are apparently afraid of the dark to stay with my Grandma, my aunt and my cousins. Thew idea was for me to finish high school there. Halfway through that, we discovered that due to me being of the stars-and-stripes and not of the maple leaf, I really shouldn't be studying or even living in Canada.
Who's an illegal alien on account of being American? Only me.

Eventually I was deported back to California where, in the most awkward of situations, I had to stay with my oldest half-brother's family who I had only met the year before. It also just happened to be my 17th birthday. What a lucky kid right? How many people can say that they got to spend their birthday on two different countries?

At the time, a younger half-brother was about to get married and dad was flying over from the Philippines. He laid it down: I couldn't be at the wedding and I can't stay with his family any longer. So he somehow arranged for me to come back to Canada while all the adults on both sides of my family figure out what to do with me since going back to Manila was not an option.
I was the Ryan Lafferty to my dad's family.

So I stayed in Canada for about another year or so. Not studying. Hiding from Canadian immigration. Doing nothing productive with my life but daydream, write and draw. Though I did come up with some of my best stories during that tumultuous time. How many American-born Filipinos are in Canada and how many can say that about themselves?

 I haven't renewed my passport since it expired 8 years ago. What a difference a long time makes.

Eventually, when things were going nowhere, I decided to just quit the whole thing and come back to Manila. By this time, I had become more angst-ridden. The thing I hated most about the whole mess was how everything was a matter of circumstance. So, no, I don't really blame Canadia (as my friends fondly call it).

It's been 11 years since that dark period and I'm proud to say that I managed to pick myself up and got my life together. When I found out earlier this year that I was going back to Canada to accompany my grandmother, the bittersweet memories of those years came rushing back. Yet I was excited. After all, I haven't been out of the country since then.

All set! Not quite.
 Of course, no out-of-country trip is ever complete without my American citizenship giving me trouble. This time with Philippine immigration. At least I know it was my fault and not circumstance.