looking in the mirror

looking in the mirror

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first, if i meet a local filipino or another foreigner for that matter, they see me, they expect me to speak like a filipina, but instead what comes out is english – and “california style, slang” english (according to the majority here!) and so, here’s the usual exchange, after i see a confused look on their face:


me: i’m a fil-am. my parents are both from the philippines, but i was born and raised in california.
he/she: oh really? where are your parents from in the philippines?
me: my mom is from manila, and my dad is from pangasinan.
he/she: oh! do you speak pangasinense (sp?)?
me: nope! i have yet to visit their area. i usually stay with my family in manila when i visit my relatives.
he/she: oh, ok, you should do that soon. so what do you do here?
me: i’m a missioner with the cabrini sisters – i work at an NGO and i work with indigent families, i teach catechism at an elementary school, and i also do social work programs and prison ministry too.
he/she: oh wow, good for you – that’s nice that you came back to the philippines. and you’re so young! how old are you? did you finish college? what course did you take?


it’s really funny too – whenever i am with my peace corps friends, no one really cares to talk to me, because well, it is easily assumed that i am hosting the peace corps kids as their translator or like, their “filipino” companion/chaperone when we go out. once, i was even pushed out of the way because one of the telecasters wanted to interview my peace corps friend to ask her what she thought of america. haha, i was like, HEY! i’m american too! there are pluses and minuses to being a fil-am…it’s nice to blend in once in a while, but also sometimes people don’t really care to talk to me because they assume i am a full-blooded filipina like everyone else. but HEY i’m interesting too, right?


haha, or when i speak english because i serve at mass as a lector/commentator…people’s faces look confused, and then father generally introduces me to ease any confusion. haha…and no, i am not trying to act high-class or more educated because i speak english the way i do…it’s simply because, well, it’s my first language. haha, and so, that’s that!


and so, with that conversation that happens pretty much 5-7 times a week (for real), this reflection came about…enjoy! 🙂


http://www.oyemagazine.org/articles/article-type/07/13/2011/what-does-missionary-look-anyway

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