Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My Standard Self Introduction

I did not have any luck requesting for couches in Chicago; it was a blessing in disguise because I got to book a really really nice hostel in Wicker Park.  When you stay in hostels or i guess meeting new people when traveling in general, its an inevitable fact that you will be introducing yourself over and over again.

I get a knack when people try to guess where I am from.  When people hear me talk, they couldn't quite figure out where I'm from.  I've been told a few times that I sound like I'm from Latin America, twice as Californian; and was onced stopped to be interviewed at the grocery store and asked if i were Hawaiian.

People can tell I am Chinese.  My looks sometimes work against me because people just assume I don't speak English and don't bother starting a conversation with me.  But when they do talk to me, I tell them "I am Chinese born and raised in the Philippines!"

There are a lot of perks being a Filipino-Chinese.  On our Chinese side, we tend to do well in business and learned how to speak Chinese.  Then on our Filipino side, we grew up with the Filipino culture which taught us how to be hospitable, how to have fun, overall Filipino niceness and kindness, but most of all, learning how to speak fluent English.  Although sometimes it is tough because we are always never Chinese enough nor Filipino enough.

On the other hand, you speak to a person who has never met a Filipino (which is odd, everyone would at least know 1 Filipino, we're everywhere! haha) or does not know anything about the Philippines, they are surprised that we speak good English; then I'd say "English is an official language together with Filipino.  Our news, newspaper, radio, school, textbooks are all in English, even movies don't have subtitles."

So they then ask me how many languages I speak so I explain 5, I learn 4 languages at the same time when I was younger then learned Korean when I was an exchange student in the University.

If the person I talk to is even more interested, here comes my geeky tour guide side and start talking about the history of the Philippines! haha  I really enjoy it! "333 years under the Spanish, 2 years under the British in between, the Americans came shortly after we won our independence from Spain, then Japanese came in for 3 years, then Americans came back which in total spent 48 years in our country.  Or in short, 300 years in the convent and 50 years in hollywood!  I could go on and on and on...

This is also where I explain that the Filipino language has 20,000 borrowed words and they would be so surprised when I tell them that we tell time of day, days of the week, month of the year and so many daily nouns  in Spanish!  Even our greeting is derrived from Spanish!

It's really cool that I get to introduce myself, my heritage, and my country (This is especially effective for me to personally promote the Philippine tourism which I am passionate about) over and over again.  I haven't grown tired of it yet!  I actually enjoy it.  It makes me realize how proud I am to be both Chinese and Filipino.


  1. Speaking five languagea is beyond amazing! And guess what? You're about to make it six after Mexico. :)

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