A World Away: Coming to America

From the sun-filled grass meadows of the Philippines to the bustling cities of California, Junior, Chelsea Caringal continues on her journey living a world away from home.

On April 25, 2010, Chelsea Caringal took in her first breath of America right after she touched down in Los Angeles International Airport with her mother. She was just ten-years-old when she left behind everything and everyone that she had ever known. Life as she knew it would never be the same.

“My parents thought the education and lifestyle were better here,” the now sixteen-year-old Caringal said. “The Philippines has a lot of corruption and my parents just want to keep me safe, to protect me.”

Moving into a new country came with many difficulties and challenges.

“The impact of living here is not knowing the culture and how it really is. The idea I had of LA is what I’ve only seen in movies,” said Caringal.

As Chelsea and her mother had found, adapting to life in a strange land was pretty challenging.

Chelsea’s mother, Christine, said, “We have endured culture shock, different food, and focussing on an entirely new language, but right now, we are adjusted.”

Despite Caringal living in a different country, she has the support of many friends and finds joy through extracurricular activities.

“Even if something is scary for her, Chelsea is willing to step out of her comfort zone to achieve what she wants,” said Junior, Samantha Leyva.

Even though Caringal has moved to a distant land across the Pacific, it has not changed who she is.

Since her arrival in America, Ms. Caringal said, “Chelsea is the same little girl I knew and loved in the Philippines. She has just matured into a beautiful, young woman.”

Having to adjust to a new culture, Chelsea has forced herself to mature.

“Before, I was very naive-all sugar and candy and unicorns, now I face the reality of life and college, so I learned to be responsible and independent,” said Caringal.

Caringal still flies back to the Philippines yearly to reunite once again with close friends and family.

“California is just a place that I live in, the Philippines will always be my home,” said Caringal.

Chad Mendoza Reporter for the Silver Script

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