Land of the Free-Cookies, Football and Friends

“I’m from the Philippines. I just moved here 5 months ago.”… “Yea? How do you like it here?”

That is usually how my conversations with new acquaintances go these days. And every single time, I always end up with a go-to answer – “I like it” or “It’s okay” – which doesn’t really give justice to my American experience.

Thinking about the question more deeply, three things immediately come to mind.

  • THE FOOD: Seriously, I have eaten more cookies in 5 months than in my 20 years of existence prior to coming here! I don’t know what it is with the American comfort food, but they definitely add salt to my rather tasteless days, especially when I get homesick.
  • TRADITIONS: Football + tailgate, Halloween, thanksgiving, 4th of July, VS Fashion Show (haha)…there’s always something to look forward to every month! (And I thought Americans do not celebrate as often as we do in the Philippines…I was totally wrong!)
  • PEOPLE: I cannot stress this enough. People have been so warm and so kind to me – my classmates, my professors, and even the strangers I get to talk to in the bus! Notre Dame (and the South Bend) fosters a sense of community among people from different walks of life. This aspect is probably the most I am grateful for in my 5mos of stay in the US.

So to simplify, this equation gives a bit more accurate answer to the simple loaded question.

Food + Traditions + People = Great American Experience

I just thought this would be an appropriate blog post for the season. To all the MSMs, the faculty and staff, and all the people who have been so kind to welcome me here in the US…thank you from the bottom of my literally tiny heart. Happy thanksgiving!

— Vera Pinera