How Marivi Soliven Reinvented Herself Through Writing

Written by: Alliah Importante | 10 months ago

Born Maria Victoria Vega Soliven-Blanco, Marivi Soliven is a Filipina author living in America. She's been working for almost two decades alone, so not much of her life has changed. In that sense, all of a sudden, due to the pandemic, her husband and daughter were at home 24/7, which might not sound like a lot, but to her, it is actually a lot. She also goes with patience and definitely baking since she bakes every week, and they would visit some of her seniors since she doesn't have a sweet tooth even though she makes delicious pastries weekly.

When asked what matters to her the most, she brought up that when she was in Manila, the thing that mattered to her the most was for the dictator's son to not be elected president. Marivi said it's hard to say what matters to her, mainly because it is like a moving target. In the same way how joy is a moving target. It all depends on the context of what happened that day. Just like what she learned from doing daily yoga, nothing is permanent, and that thought is what keeps her sane. You can do hard things and suffer hard things as well, but you also know the hard times will pass, and that's also one of the things that keep her sane even during tough times.  

When she arrived in the United States, she started as a caregiver instead of being a writer and university professor like she used to back in Manila. Marivi had to reinvent herself when they decided to leave Manila for the United States. Back home, she was publishing books, and teaching at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, while in the States, she only gets paid $7 an hour for being a caregiver. She did a series of odd and temporary jobs to become a preschool teacher. Her former colleagues from UPD, Izzie, Trixie, and Carol, now at the University of Kyoto, put together a magazine. They invited her to write regular columns for it, which she gladly accepted. 

For three years, she wrote columns for the magazine, and that was when she began to see that she was transitioning to writing about being where she was. For Marivi, Filipinos always have strong connections with their family and friends. Especially since most of us grow up in prominent families where everyone knows you, and you know everyone because you all grew together. You basically stay in the same spot with them; however, when you move to the United States, your only connection is your husband or none. You're really fortunate if your family is already there. It really is a bit of a struggle going to a foreign country and being out of your comfort zone with little to no one being there to physically support you. But, it is a stepping stone to more incredible things and a new door for you to explore what you love and set new limits that will mold you to be the person you are today and the person you will be in the future.