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Aking Mga Inay (My Mothers) & Lumipat Ako (I moved)

I haven’t posted yet this week! Oh noes! I can fix this problem!

A staple of Filipino values is hospitality. Generally speaking, I completely agree with that statement. I could make a long list of why Filipinos are hospitable, but basically it boils down to this: Filipinos go out of their way to make visitors feel comfortable. The caveat of all of this lies within the separate cultural values of Americans. Because, well, more often than not the well meaning Filipinos in my life end up boot-stomping all over one of my American values like Dave Chappelle impersonating Rick James. “F*** your couch!” That value is privacy. Which leads me to my point . . .

I have grown used to it by now because 6 months living with a host family helped me to realize something. Around these parts, privacy isn’t quite the same. Not that it doesn’t exist. It’s just different. The biggest intruders of my privacy have been my mothers. Whether I’m naked under a towel just wanting to get to my room, talking on the phone, or just wanting to read a book; my moms will barge in, talk to me, or yell at me until I pay attention to them. It’s endearing, annoying, frustrating, and cute at the same time.

I have 4 mothers here in The Phillies

Tunay na Mommy Ko (My real mommy):

China Doll is/was my first mother in The Phillies. I call her China Doll because she is 1/4 Chinese on her Mother’s side. China Doll is very cute. The whole family ended up growing nice and tall. Her son towers over her at 5’10” and her daughters are even almost a head taller than her. Despite her size, China Doll is clearly the authority in her house. If she says jump her kids don’t just say how high, they ask “for how long and if she’d like some coffee while they’re at it” She is the mom I feel closest to. She cooked all of my meals, washed my clothes most of the time, she was the first one to talk to me at length ,and was just an overwhelmingly warm presence. Without her, I may not as be as mentally stable as I am now. I will love China Doll forever and will probably continue to visit The Phillies for no other reason than to visit that family.

Mga Boss Mom Ko (My Boss Mom):

Ogier* is my second mom. She is actually a combination of a co-worker and my boss. I feel her identity will be safe anyway. She always makes sure everything is going fine in my life and at school. If there are any events going on at school she generally makes sure I’m there. She leads me to my seat, she makes sure I’m eating and all sorts of fun things. She is generally busy, so she’s not around a lot, but when she is around she’s great.

Power Mom Ko (My Power Mom):

Neko** is my second host family mother. When she is watching T.V. and her face is in a neutral position she resembles a Maneki Neko. She is often busy. She is the bread-winner of the family. The father stopped working (I think) regularly a while ago. He does welding from time to time, however. She works often. The father cooks the meals. I didn’t get very close to her. However, when I decided to move she bought me a big bag full of great stuff (noodles and chips) from the grocery store in our area. It was great and has been feeding me for the past two days.

Which naturally brings us to . . .

Kasera Ina Ko (My Landlady Mom):

Carrot is my latest mother. I call her Carrot because she uses red dye in her hair. I don’t know a whole lot about her yet. She is always in my house doing random stuff and doesn’t necessarily treat me like a border. I am more like a visitor at the moment. Which is always the case at first. She brought me hot water this morning for my noodles and even fed me lunch yesterday. She is very nice and has recently accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior. Her religious fervor actually adds to her charm and is only slightly disturbing. She has a big saint in the kitchen that I haven’t the heart to ask to take down. Thus, the thing scares me every single time I walk around the corner to use the CR.

I have other sub-mommas I might talk about at a different time.

And yes, I have moved. I live in a one room (but the room could be two) house. Carrot lives outside in her sari-sari (variety) store. We share the bathroom and she generally only enters the house for that reason. She has a Saturday night worship thing that she wants me to attend at the house. I might just wander around my neighborhood when that’s going on. Who knows? I may end up playing worship songs for them. It’s not like I’m not equipped. We’ll see.

I guess this was probably a boring update.

Much Love,

– Brandon Holly –

*In a French deck of cards each Jack is represented by someone. Ogier the Dane is the Jack of Spades in a set. It is a play on both of these ladies nicknames.

**Neko is Japanese for cat. A Maneki Neko is the little smiling cat with one hand up waving. It can generally be seen in front of or inside Japanese restaurants. Also, it’s not actually waving it is beckoning, but Western gestures are different.

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