Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Marrying the White Guy

Today marks 2 years of marital bliss for my husband and I.

Anyone who was there can relate to you about how our wedding was: how I was hungry and stuffed my face with McDonald's chicken nuggets and fries right before the ceremony, how we played smooth jazz versions of Top40 hits like "Shake it Like Salt Shaker" and "Blame it on the Alcohol" during our reception, and how my husband passed out during the ceremony. I won't get into that specifically, but ask anyone who was there and they will tell you how it was. 

Now, 2 years later, we're still married. Needless to say, we've had a lot of  rough patches. By a lot, I mean... a lot, but even after the amount of time we've been together, my husband still has the uncanny ability to give me an extreme case of the butterflies. No really, it's really extreme. So extreme that it's to the point where I feel like I can't keep still and I have this natural inclination to  just tackle him (or at least try to) and smother him with love because I don't know what else to do...

And when he smothers me back with with a terential storm kisses... it's like an overload of happiness and my toes wiggle out of overwhelming joy. The only other thing that has that sort of effect on me is really really good dessert, like Kona coffee ice cream.

mmm.. Kona coffee ice cream. .. ::queue in wiggling of toes::

For a time (like during High School), I thought that I would eventually marry a fellow Filipino. I think it's because I had a lot of Filipino friends growing up who were part of big Filipino families that gave their children debutant balls, that it created a sort of ideal of what I thought I wanted in life: little brown Filipino kids that would run around calling each other 'ate' or 'kuya', or calling their grandparents 'lolo' and  'lola'. 

But... things change, perspectives change, including perspectives on what you thought was ideal. I mean, while I think it would still be cute to have kids running around saying "kuya" and "ate", I've come to the realization that you don't need to marry a Filipino to have that sense of family and to keep those sorts of traditions alive.  Life ... God often gifts us with things that we didn't necessarily specifically think we needed, but we ended up getting and becoming much happier because of it.

And so I met and married my husband. 

Being married to someone outside of my ethnic background doesn't create much of a cultural rift at all, contrary to what some might think - if they do think that at all. If I was fresh off the boat, it would be a totally different story, but since I'm pretty much Americanized - we share a lot of the same interests and sense of dorky humor.

There are some things that may appear out of the ordinary to my husband that, growing up, I always took as a way of life.

Eating Fish with the Head on

Whether fried, boiled in a soup, or baked - it seems to be an Asian thing (not just a Filipino thing) to be served fish as a whole, not chopped into a filet. 
When my husband first spent Thanksgiving with my family (or some other holiday), he was a little weirded out that a piece of fish was served in its full form.  I had to explain to him it's an Asian thing, while the head is not necessarily eaten, it's still served as a whole. 

Talking to Relatives from the Motherland

My father is a big investor of $5 calling cards from local convenient stores. Don't ask me why he doesn't just invest in a calling plan that will allow him to call the motherland whenever he wants. Buying calling cards is what he does; he will buy them to talk for hours not just to the foreign family in the Philippines, he will also talk to family of family, family he's never even met, friends of family and their friends. It's not like they talk about anything particularly important, but I think he misses his home and country so much, he is willing to make any connections that he possibly can with whomever he can from the homeland.

When we were little, my dad would always make my brother and I talk on the phone with these relatives from the Philippines with whom we never met. I always hated it because we never really could understand each other. I'd try to speak their native tongue, they'd try to speak English, but it would just be awkward.

Relative: Hello
Me: Kamusta aunty
Relative: Oh .. mabuti ... 

::then they start talking to me in Filipino because they would think from that one phrase that I said that Iunderstand and speak, but really - I only really knew that one phrase.

Me: ...ehhhh... Here's my dad.

I would hand the phone off to my dad.

As you can see, it's bad enough when my dad makes me do it, but there has been a couple of times when my dad has handed off the phone to my husband to talk to my relatives. He'd chit-chat, ask a few questions about the weather, and you'd think that the conversation went okay, but they probably did not understand anything they said to each other.

Rice Making Method

I grew up eating white rice all my life. It was not until I met my husband that I ate brown rice or even tried Uncle Ben's rice. It was a weird transition, but now I prefer brown rice over white, unless I have a white rice craving. 

I also grew up making rice in the pot, the OG way. Back in the day when there was no such thing as a rice cooker, Filipinos used a method of guess-a-mation where they measured the amount of water needed to make rice based on a pinky - measurement method (the level of water from the top rice level to top water level needs to measure in the middle of the pinky) I think this drives him nut - in being an engineer, he works on exact formulas and measurements, which this Filipino method is not. 

Hulk: How many cups of rice did you put in? 

Me: Uhm, I don’t know, I just poured in the pot 

Hulk: What? How are you going to just pour the rice in without really knowing how much? You need to know how many cups you put in so you put water in accordingly 

Me: I just measure the water by my pinky. 

::point half to the inch marker of my pinky:: 

Hulk: Why would you do such a thing?

Me: I don’t know…. because that’s how I was taught? 

 But, the thing is even though it drives him nuts that I don't have a rice formula, I make perfect sticky rice every time. It's in my blood

 There are a million other things that I probably do that my husband looks at me funny for, due to either my cultural upbringing or just because I'm weird. Lucky for moi, my husband accepts the weird cultural stuff as what it is that people do. and luckly for my husband, I am not overly boater or else... it could be worse.

Anyways, happy anniversary to me!

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