Almost done with the finishing touches of packing everything I need for the next 4 weeks. I’ve made sure my student status at San Francisco State University is settled for (Hopefully, the beginning of the last) Semester(s) I have. My sister will be registering my classes for the Fall Semester and I must say it’s been such a protracted struggle to just get myself in the position I am with my education. I haven’t had Financial Aid since the Fall Semester of 2010. So applying back in March last minute has paid off.
So first off… I wrote a journal entry a couple weeks ago and saved a draft. I decided that at moment how I felt about going will change in a couple more weeks and days. Here I am my flight is in about 8 hours or less. What’s rushing through me is that it’s been about 7 months since we all started meeting back in December to plan for a trip that is about 4 weeks. The process of going on exposure began in those early meetings. I’m currently writing down the numbers of my kasamas who are already in the Phils. What’s been amazing during this process of going on my first exposure trip is how I’ve been able to include my family in this process. When I was a member of Anakbayan East Bay as a 17-18 year old, I was lying to them about my politics and what I was doing. Right now, I can’t explain how it feels to include to have my parents in this process. They’ve helped me pack, allowed me to house meetings at our house. Gonna out myself on how much my mom means to me… I’ve seen her cry multiple times and I can’t stand it, but I know she lets those tears flow because she has to stay strong for our family.
As a student, I’ve done the various study of our movement, the history of our people, help teach it to others. One thing I have learned and will always admit. Our people’s movement and the National Democratic Movement will NEVER just be an Academic topic. This movement is living and breathing with people in it so amazing and I am looking forward to immersing myself with the masses. We can analyze the Three Basic Problems by taking a class, reading a book, participating in a workshop, BUT we will never have to live those conditions in the belly of the beast. I’ve tried in previous years to go on exposure, but life just didn’t let me and this summer, this year just feels just right. I’m so humbled that we are going to be be the 15th Exposure Trip Group to go if we’ve sent delegations since LFS has been founded here in the United States back in 1996. Thank you to all the Older/Experienced Kasamas who’ve imparted their advice, wisdom to me about going on this trip. I know one thing for certain.
This trip will change my life.
I’ve opened up about being afraid to be vulnerable and these 4 weeks I’ll be in the Philippines will smash those fears to the ground. I’m ready, This trip isn’t just for myself, but necessary for our people. I’ve heard so many stories from former exposurists that after a while it just made me jealous that I didn’t have my own. I’m hungry to be able to step out of my comfort zone and learn and build stronger relationships with our group and the people we will meet. I want to share the stories of our people when I come back. I’m a 2nd Generation Filipino American born in the United States, my connections and ties back to the motherland are through my Mother, my Grandfather. Their stories have shaped my own identity and how I’ve lived my life. It’s been an internal struggle when your peers have always asked, “You’re born here in the U.S. why do you care so much about the Philippines?” My answer today is “Why not?” knowing our roots and knowing history has helped me understand my family’s migration struggles. Caring about the Philippines has made me think of other people other than myself.
I’m running out on what else to say, NFL Network is distracting me. My flight is at 10:35pm Tonight July 9th. My dad says PAL (Philippine Airlines) always has delays. In his own words PAL = Palaging Late! I’m going to miss my family, I’ve been cherishing these last couple days with them. But I know I will be back August 15th. My kuya Mark Jay is going to pick me up at Ninoy Aquino Airport at about 5:40ish-6am in the morning Manila Time. Gonna wrap this up. Straight up blanked out. I will write more on the plane, when I arrive at HQ. So stay posted!
-Ian Jerome Conde