I recently spent 24 hours in downtown San Francisco, a city I grew to love while spending time there as a child. This city holds firmly rooted memories of family for me. One of the things I appreciate about coming from a multi-cultural family is spending time with individuals that fought to immigrate here. Unfortunately for me, most of them live in California and I do not see them often. When I do see them I am always filled up with enough food, laughter and memories to last me the next 3-5 years until we see each other again.
I love my Filipino family because they understand that family is a main part of what makes us who we are. In the midst of struggles and in celebrating the joys of life, family is always respected and family comes first. It doesn't mean we always agree but it does mean we never give up on each other.
The city of San Fransisco feels like a giant multi-ethnic family. Everyone from my Uber drivers to the servers/bartenders and all the random people in between that I sat next to at meals welcomed me in to hear about their life. They shared stories about moving to the United States to try and give their family something more than they had; leaving everything behind including their native language so they could provide. Another person told me that her and her husband drive for Uber so that they can keep their kids in the best schools to keep them safe; she had a masters degree and he had his PhD.
Every story I heard for 24 hours was told with a smile because every story was about caring for someone other than themselves. They weren't working for a lavish life and retirement, they were working because they were not going to give up on their family. One Nigerian man I met summed it up this way, "You can't call them family if you aren't there for them. That is not what a family is. People can only be called a family if they fighting together."
I got to see all of the beautiful sites in San Fransisco in 24 hours. The bridge, Sausalito, the pacific ocean, the parks, etc. There was no lack of physical beauty in this city but it would not have been possible without the help of people of San Fransisco. We did it together, we were family for a day.