Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Life: 360

Moving to a new country is initially thrilling. There's something about being exposed to a new milieu in general. The food, people, customs and way of life in foreign lands seem to have probed me at a young age. I can vividly recall my family's weekly drive to my grandmother's house in another city. The car ride took 30 minutes and extended to an hour or two with heavy traffic. We would recurrently pass by an international airport by the freeway where I would gaze out of the window and smile at the sight of airplanes. My mom told me that even before I could speak, she would point out airplanes to me during long drives and I would respond by being in awe each and every time.

"Wooow, Mommy! It's an AIRPLANE! 

A flurry of emotions came over me when I left the Philippines. I went on a shopping spree just like anyone would. I had my send off dinner and spent time with family. To say that it was difficult to walk away from my family at the airport is an understatement. I shed tears knowing that I was willingly giving up the life I had along with a family I have never been away from. No matter how lonely I may have been, I was also relieved that I was finally going to be with my then fiance again after several months of being apart.

Hair raising - I spotted differences between the Philippines and America as soon as I got here. At the airport, I was stepping off the pavement to cross when my husband yanked my shirt and I fell back at full force. The next thing I knew, "whooosh!" a bus grazed the tip of my hair.

Jordan: Nena, jay walking isn't observed over here. Look! Press the button.
Me: Was that a bus!? :O

Stand up and clean up - A few weeks later,  I went to Porto's to meet with a childhood friend of mine. I introduced her to Jordan as we noshed on succulent sandwiches. After our lunch, we all stood up and I began walking away as the ladies next to me began staring.

*I looked back at my husband and friend who seemed to be taking long.*
Me: What are you guys doing?
Friend: Here, let me get it.
Jordan: Nena, we clean up after ourselves over here.

Pack it up - If you thought that was embarrassing, that's not the last of it. I went to a restaurant with my husband and after eating, I had a substantial amount of leftovers left. The waitress asked me if I wanted to keep my leftovers so I nodded and thanked her. I lifted my plate and froze when she handed me a box. I gave her a look. My husband quickly took the box and thanked her while I still had a puzzled expression on my face.

Me: What was that about? Wasn't she supposed to take my plate?
Jordan: You have to pack the leftovers yourself, nena.

Lingo 101 - It doesn't end there. I not only surprise people in public but in the comfort of our home as well. Let's talk about vocabulary. One day, I was conversing with my sister-in-law when the menstrual cycle was brought up.

Me: I like those napkins by Whisper but I think they're called Always over here.
SIL: Napkins?
Me: Yeah, the ones you use when you're one the rag, silly...
SIL: Oh! You mean, PADS! 

Don't get me wrong. I was raised speaking using English as the main vernacular within our familial and social units. My parents elected a formal manner of speaking in order to gear us towards a fruitful future. It's always an advantage to be well versed in a language other than your own.

Hearty Party - One of the things I have recently been acclimated to is attending parties hosted by an indirect friend. A friend's friend who later on turns out to be a friend of yours after an amazing night of fun!

Introduction ->  One liners ->  Alcohol consumption ->  Inside jokes ->  Daylight ->  Facebook friend request

Well, it's somewhat in that order. I'm not the type who parties but when I do, I prefer lounges and house parties over clubs since I'm not comfortable with the latter. Call me crazy but I'm done with clubbing at the age of 24. Considering that I've been to a club twice, I feel that it's one too many times. Over here, it's far more frequent than what I was accustomed to. I was undeniably awkward at first but being married to someone sociable made me loosen up and insert myself in conversations.

Taboo or not taboo? Considering that I originated from a conservative and religious country, adjusting to the Land of the Free has been both bewildering and humbling for me. Sex talk isn't seen as offensive since it's more openly accepted. My husband's family like to tease me for being such a prude because of my childish giggles and tomato cheeks at the onset of sexual connotations.

I respect the culture that is embedded in every fiber of my being. The values that I have come to know have allowed me to embrace who I am as a person. Residing in Los Angeles has been a revelation in disguise. I've been here two months short of a year and I'm already in love with the city and the people. Contrary to what I
formerly believed, America is a suitable society to nurture a child. Sometimes, it's okay to expose them to the ugly truth. Repressing such realities only compels a person to feed their urges. Of course, with freedom comes boundaries wherein both nature and nurture come hand in hand. Crossing the pond answered lingering questions that grazed my mind for years. It's okay to be eccentric. Not being as skinny as most girls is fine too. Having pale white skin isn't always ideal. California girls love to tan after all. Judgement is your prerogative yet being here has helped me see past labels and stigmas. This move has benefited me more than I thought it would. I've blossomed in the past few months more than I have in my adolescent years. It may take me a while to fully acclimate myself to the L.A. lifestyle but I like where I'm at now.


  1. Sometimes it takes a drastic change to get our life on track. :-)

  2. It does sound a lot different there!

  3. Thats a great post! I totally agree:)

  4. This is not the first of your posts I've read, and you never cease to amaze me. Thank you, and I look forward to reading more.

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