By Janka Beltran Nicolas
Janka Beltran Nicolas is 13 years old and was born to Filipino parents in the US. The family moved to Germany when she was only ten months old and she has grown up there since. She dances ballet and loves hiking, climbing, skating, and dancing.
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
I flew with my mother from our hometown Erlangen, Germany to Edmonton, Canada to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins since we don’t get to see each other often. It is my second time in Canada but the first time was three years ago and we were only there for ten days. This time, I am staying one week longer, and it is my first time here as a teenager. I was excited. My aunt and cousins had made plans, and I was simply looking forward to many surprises.
I’ve been here for almost two weeks and the experience and what I’ve learned have been more than what I had expected. Not only did I go around the city, but we also saw magnificent mountains and lakes. We also went to the Heritage Festival and was amazed at how big it was, and by the large number of countries represented in the community.
I noticed that people here are quite open to various cultures, are very, very friendly, and are not afraid to reveal their own personalities.
Through all this, I got to know more about my family, my own Filipino heritage, and also about myself. More importantly, as a “foreigner” or migrant growing up in Germany, I learned to accept and be proud of my own uniqueness.
I am flying back to Germany this Saturday with brand new experiences and realizations that I will never forget. For this, I am more than grateful to my aunt, uncle, cousins, and also to other people I have met or encountered. This short trip has been a one-of-a-kind experience. I definitely look forward to coming back.