Almost twelve years na akong naninirahan dito sa States pero hanggang ngayon ay hindi ko pa rin nakakalimutan ang dating mga gawi ko nung anjan pa ako sa Pinas. Sabi nga eh “hard habit to break.” There are so many things or traits na hindi maikakaila na isa akong Pinay. Sa tangos pa lang ng ilong ko (ehem!) eh walang duda na dugong Filipino ang nanalaytay sa mga ugat at kasu-kasuan ko. Oftentimes, napagkakamalan akong ibang lahi…either Japanese o Chinese. Medyo maputla kasi ang kulay ko (kulang lang to sa bilad sa araw!) at kung hindi ako magsasalita ng Tagalog, saka lang nila nalalaman na Pinay pala ako.
Isa sa requirements dito kung ikaw ay mag-aaral sa kolehiyo ay ang pagkuha ng ESL. Sa ESL na yan medyo nasaktan ang fried chicken ko. Aba! Graduate yata ako ng high school diyan (unibersidad pa!) at saka nasa college na rin ako bago pa man ako napadpad dito sa States. Shocking masyado para sa ‘kin kung ako ay kukuha pa ng ESL. Lintek na mga Amerikano ‘to! Kung anu-anong kaartehan ang naiisip! Ano nga ba ang ESL? English as a Second Language po bulong ng konsensiya komon ko.
Take it or leave it, kailangan talaga kumuha ng ESL class pero bago pa man yun, kailangan rin kumuha ng entrance exam. Although I passed my entrance exam with flying colors (naks! english yun ah!), I still have to take the ESL class. Sa madaling salita, nag-enrol ako sa ESL class.
Unang araw ng klase, gulat na gulat ako dahil hindi lang pala ako ang utal sa english. Meron Korean, Nigerian, Polish, Russian classmates ako. Tamang United Nations talaga ang klase at siyempre, excited ako dahil marami rin cute guys (nahahalata talaga!). Dahil sa baguhan pa lang nga ako dito sa lugar ni Uncle Sam, ugali ko na ang maging “snobbish.” Kaya one time na may nag-say “hello” sa akin eh muntik ko ng masigawan. I thought humihingi siya ng barya, yun pala eh nag-hello lang.
Naging kaibigan ko yung katabi ko na Korean. Unang tingin akala ko Chinese, yun pala eh Korean. One time, I was trying to make a conversation at dahil na rin sa wala akong maisip na sabihin, bigla ko siya natanong “Do you speak Mandarin or Cantonese?” “Are you from the mainland or Hong Kong?” Sagot nya: “I have never been to China or Hong Kong before. I am from South Korea.” Pahiya ako (beehhh!). Dahil na rin sa sobra ang fighting spirit ko, hala sige pa rin ang tanong ko. “Oh yeah, from South Korea, right?” Hmm, do you live near Pyongyang?” Hahahaha! Tang-inis! Nagulat sa akin pero dahil sa sobra rin pagka-polite niya, sinagot nya ako ng: “I am actually from Seoul. Pyongyang is way too far from Seoul and it is a very dangerous place”. Sa tuwing maalala ko ‘to eh napapangiwi ako sa sarili kong katangahan at kabobohan. At sa tuwing naalala ko ang pangalan nya lalo akong nasasagalpak sa tawa. Yan ang alaala namin ni Ho So…kung iyong babaligtarin ay SoHo (lol!)
I still remember yung times na bagong salta pa lang ako dito sa States. Lahat ng makita ko ay bago at saka ang lawak. Dumating ako noon dito sa States ay tiyempong winter season kaya siempre, maraming snow. Paglabas na paglabas ko pa lang sa airport, una kong nasabi “ay! ang ganda! puting puti! parang asin…pwede kaya ‘to gawing halo-halo?” Exciting and very melancholic ang atmosphere… k’se nun ko lang na-realized na “Dang, ala na pala ako sa Pinas!”
I think, it took me months before I could get used to my new environment. Culture shock and I feel so alienated because of a huge amount of diversity that suddenly surrounded my being. There are days and nights na I couldn’t even bring myself to sleep or eat because of home sickness. When I was still there in Pinas, I don’t even care about my kababayans who went overseas to work and I did feel like laughing whenever I hear them say the word “homesick”. Sabi ko pa nga eh “syet, why bother to leave your family and then complain about getting homesick?” Well, that was me being so hypocritical about mundane (not!) things. Not until I was in the same boat with them that I finally understood what the word “homesick” means…and it really did matter.
Oh yeah, my family and I lived for five years at my Aunt’s place (Dad’s sis) and although everything’s cool living there, it is still different when you don’t have your own place. For me to elaborate more about the situation that’s been causing a rift between my Dad and his sister at that time and now talk about it…hmmm…I think it is not wise but I will definitely mention something about it from time to time here in my blog (just check my blog, aight?!).
Anyway, mabalik tayo sa pagiging “newbie” *l0l*. Akala ko noon lahat ng makita kong “itim” eh kamukha ni Shaquil O’Neal. Grabe sa tangkad saka ang tatangkad! My neighbors used to call me “kid” because I am what you call a “natural born pygmea”. Irritating masyado pag ganun tawag k’se nahahalatang obvious na bansot ako! I regret tuloy kung bakit di ako nakinig noon sa Nanay ko. Sana pala kumain ako ng maraming “Star Margarine” nung nasa Pinas pa ‘ko. Grrrr talaga!
Hindi rin maiiwasan na makatagpo ka ng “racist” dito. I never knew what racism means when I was still there in the Philippines k’se ang pagkakaiba lang naman dun sa atin eh kung maputi ka “tisay” ka na at kung maitim ka eh pinaglihi ka ng Nanay mo sa uling o duhat…hahahaha! (Buti na lang pinaglihi ako ng nanay ko sa Upo (yung gulay na mahaba na mabibili mo sa palengke na minsan eh nasa hilera ng mga bagoong!). May different names sila na ginagamit like pag “flip” meaning Pinoy, “chink” o “chinky” chinenese naman….eh pag “sushi” ibig sabihin Japanese ka!
One time na nainis ako sa co-worker ko kse she said something nasty about my lahi and I was so mad talaga kaya I don’t really know how to react at saka siempre rin…pautal-utal pa ako sa pag-e-english at hinahagilap ko pa talaga sa brain ko kung ano yung english word na gusto ko sabihin kaso talagang matindi “mental blockage” ko so sinabi ko lang sa kanya yung una kong naisip. Sabi ko: “Whatever girl, you can’t touch this!” hahahaha! Ayan, nag-ala MC Hammer na tuloy ako….
PS: Eye wheel can teen new two post my adventures hear. Chick buck soon! Lay ter!
- You have no life – and you can PROVE it mathematically.
- You enjoy pain.
- You know vector calculus but you can’t remember how to do long division.
- You chuckle whenever anyone says “centrifugal force”.
- You’ve actually used every single function on your graphing calculator.
- It is sunny and 70 degrees outside, and you are working on a computer.
- You frequently whistle the theme song to “MacGyver“.
- You know how to integrate a chicken and can take the derivative of water.
- You think in “math“.
- You’ve calculated that the World Series actually diverges.
- You hesitate to look at something because you don’t want to break down its wave function.
- You have a pet named after a scientist.
- You laugh at jokes about mathematicians.
- The Humane society has you arrested because you actually performed the Schrodinger’s Cat experiment.
- You can translate English into Binary.
- You can’t remember what’s behind the door in the engineering building which says “Exit“.
- You have to bring a jacket with you, in the middle of summer, because there’s a wind-chill factor in the lab.
- You are completely addicted to caffeine.
- You avoid doing anything because you don’t want to contribute to the eventual heat-death of the universe.
- You consider ANY non-engineering course “easy“.
- When your professor asks you where your homework is, you claim to have accidentally determined its momentum so precisely, that according to Heisenberg it could be anywhere in the universe.
- The “fun” center of your brain has deteriorated from lack of use.
- You’ll assume that a “horse” is a “sphere” in order to make the math easier.
- The blinking 12:00 on someone’s VCR draws you in like a tractor beam to fix it.
- You bring a computer manual / technical journal as vacation reading.
- The salesperson at Circuit City can’t answer any of your questions.
- You can’t help eavesdropping in computer stores… and correcting the salesperson.
- You’re in line for the guillotine… it stops working properly… and you offer to fix it.
- You go on the rides at Disneyland and sit backwards to see how they do the special effects.
- You have any “Dilbert” comics displayed in your work area.
- You have a habit of destroying things in order to see how they work.
- You have never backed up your hard drive.
- You haven’t bought any new underwear or socks for yourself since you got married.
- You spent more on your calculator than on your wedding ring.
- You think that when people around you yawn, it’s because they didn’t get enough sleep.
- You would rather get more dots per inch than miles per gallon
- You’ve ever calculated how much you make per second.
- Your favorite James Bond character is “Q,” the guy who makes the gadgets.
- You understood more than five of these jokes.
- You make a copy of this list, and post it on your door (or your home page !)
I am guilty doing some of the things mentioned above…