The Asian Sensation
When I was little, my mom couldn’t drive. She didn’t have her driver’s license until I was in high school, so I have a lot of fond memories of biking or taking the bus, or on really crazy days, hailing a taxi cab. Which let’s be honest, just doesn’t happen too much in Grand Rapids.
One day, I was at the hospital with Mom and we were going to take the bus home when she finished work. It was getting dark, and we were downtown at a bus stop, waiting for this stupid bus to take us home. It was just the two of us at the bus stop until a man came by and waited too. Now, he was probably a pretty normal guy, but I was five and freaked out by everything.
After a few minutes of everyone standing quietly and me trying to hide behind my mother to save myself from the staring stranger, the guy came up to us.
Oh no, I thought. This is the part where’s he’s going to turn out to be a creeper and he’ll steal my mom’s purse.
“Kumusta!” he says to my mom.
She looks up at him, startled. “Excuse me?” she asks him in English.
“More tagalog words! Phrases! Words! We are the same!*” he says.
Then my mom grins, and says something back in tagalog, and all of a sudden, he’s not the creepy man at the bus stop, but the man at the bus stop from the Philippines that’s probably even my cousin or something like that.
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time this has happened. It’s actually a semi-regular event in my life. I’ve grown used to it. My mom has met some of her close Filipino friends because of these random events.
Just recently, at a restaurant, our waiter said he wouldn’t card either my mom or her friend, or even me, despite the fact that I look 17. Why not? Because he’s Filipino. And he knew we were too.
“I’ll still serve you [alcohol],” he tells us. “But only if you tell me where you’re from first.”
“Oh,” says my mom’s friend. “I’m from Traverse City.”
“No, no.” The waiter says. “Where are you from?”
“Oh!” she exclaims. “Philippines!”
Insert free desert for all.
Growing up with this gave me the super human ability to identify Filipino people from a great distance away. The ability however, doesn’t go both ways, as I get to qualify as a half-asian baby.
Just recently, I was out a Buckcherry concert (in which there will soon be another post about how cool it is to be six degrees from famous). I won’t go into exactly how we got there, but I lucked into meeting the band.
So, we’re talking to the guitarist, and we get a picture with him and I’m absolutely 12942% positive about this.
“He’s Filipino!” I hiss. “He totally is.”
“How do you know?” TomSelleck asks me.
“I just do. We can tell.” I say solemnly. It’s true, after all.
I go back up to the guitarist. Google will later tell me his name is Stevie D, but my intuition tells me now that he’s one of us.
“So,” I ask him. “Where are you from?”
“New York City, man!” he replies.
“Oh, no,” I say. “I mean, like…ethnically.” I could not have worded that better if I tried.
“Oh!” he exclaims. “I’m Filipino! You too?”
I grin. I love being right. “Half Filipino, my mom is 100%.”
The guitarist nods. “You and me sister,” he holds out his tatooed fist for me to bump. “We are the same.”
*I apologize for the fact that there are not actually Tagalog words and phrases, but my mother didn’t really teach VS and I how to speak it. I do know the occasional swear, and I think I can say “banana” and “once upon a time.” Which is pretty Mabuti, considering my lack of training. I think that means good. Maybe. I’ll ask my mother.
Posted on August 30, 2012, in DeLorean DMC-12, PSA, Words and Phrases and tagged BuckCherry, Filipino people, Mother, Philippine, Six Degrees, Stevie D, Tagalog language. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.