I am...A city girl at heart

The great Lupe once said, "I'm from the city in the Midwest, best city in the whole wide wide world."

driving downtown via I-90

And despite the fact that I was born in Evanston and raised in the northwest suburbs and have only had an address within the city limits of Chicago for a short two years when I was but a wee one, I wholeheartedly agree. That Chicago is the best city in the whole wide wide world (in some respects).

I discovered during college that cornfields and the rural Illinois life is not for me. I thrive off the buzz and livelihood that a busy American city such as Chicago generates. I like being surrounded by millions of people everywhere, even though some of them turn out to be politically crooked (i.e. nearly every other politician Illinois has churned out) and/or dangerously violent (i.e. all the gangs that run amok).

One day, Chicago, I'll be back.


Contrary to popular belief, my given name, Raissa, is not Filipino (my ethnicity) in origin. In fact, I was named after the wife of the last Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev.

Growing up, I had to be consistently told that I was of Filipino descent by my parents and their friends and everyone else in their circle, because in American schools, they only tell you that there are white people and black people and that throughout history, they never liked each other very much. When I began the first grade, my teacher had apparently mistaken me for a Vietnamese refugee.

I developed an affinity for Latino cultures early in my childhood, something I believe I can trace back to the release of Jennifer Lopez's On the 6 album (no joke). Spanish became my second-and-a-half language (while I'm sadly not fluent in Tagalog, it's still a language I am quite familiar with) and before I knew it I had surrounded myself with a crew of Mexican friends during my freshman year of high school, including my very first "boyfriend" (I use that term very loosely).

During my junior year, I developed an insane obsession with all things British. I perfected some variance of an accent, which has awesomely enough fooled both Brits and non-Brits. I read and pored over Jane Austen, watched and rewatched Love Actually and discovered shows such as Doctor Who, My Family, and Footballers' Wives. I became an Anglophile.

In short, it turns out I love learning about different cultures and experiencing them. The beauty of the world today shouldn't rest on globalization or the digital age; it's about the vastly different societies that continue to inhabit it.


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