Thursday, March 29, 2012

Two Dimes and a Nickel

The story goes that when my dad first moved to the United States, there were two things he was obsessed with and that further justified America's greatness:  Guava Juice and McDonalds. While many of us have grown to accept it's existence without a moment's thought, having come from a third world country with nothing but rice and salty, salty fish - I can only imagine his awe.

During his 30 - something years living in the States, my father has made many trips to McDonald's ordering food and drink, happy meals for us kids when we were young, mightly kid's meals for when we were in our 20's.  If there were a frequent customer card, my dad would be a gold member, or whatever the highest membership status would be.

But to this day, the drive-through is his enemy.

Maybe they've upgraded their intercom so that sounds are more crisp, resulting in more accurate orders. Although, with my dad's thick-ass accent, I doubt you would be able to understand him even with upgraded technology. They need  a mind-reader or something ...

 For as long as I could remember - whenever we would order through the drive-through, our orders would always be wrong.

Me: Dad where's my drink?
Dad: Huh? wut aboat in de bug ::looks in the bag::
Me: There's nothing except these large fries that didn't order along with my chicken nuggets
Dad: Huh!?! Geez dat guy, I ordered sfrite, not pries!
Me: Dad, it's f-ries
Dad: yea.. pries.. geez dat guy.....

So then I would have to tell the cashier that they got the order wrong and get it all straightened out.

Another incident, my dad made a stop to McDonald's for breakfast

Dad: ..can I get de times?

 ::hands lady a quarter, because that's how much it used to cost back in the day::

Cashier comes back and hands him two dimes and a nickel
Dad: no.. no no... De TIMES.... The Shuttle Times! De Newspaper!!!??
Cashier: Oooo.. the seattle times...
Dad: yea.. Shuttle ....

I can tell my dad sometimes gets frustrated that no one understands him; he makes perfect sense, to everyone else? They have no idea what he's talking about.

Over the past few years, I have taken the initiative to just order for him. It saves us the trouble of having to get our order wrong, saves the cashier the trouble of trying to decipher what in the world my dad is saying, and saves my dad the frustration of trying to communicate. It works best that way.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Rice Crisis

Take a Filipino household with no rice, and you have a Filipino crisis.

Yes I know, it sounds ridiculous to call "having no rice" a crisis when there are people who are losing their homes to tornadoes and far more dramatic things happening around the world,  but you don't understand: Rice is a part of the daily Filipino life. Sometimes - it may be the only thing in they have to eat. Take that away and it's like... oh shit. what do I do now?

I myself, have sort of weaned away from eating it everyday (and I used eat rice all the time, every day, with every meal, with everything) and something else in its' stead. But there are times when I just crave it out of nowhere. Like, I could be sitting at my desk, crunching numbers, when all of a sudden it's like I could go for some white rice right now. And it never matters what I eat the rice with... I just crave specifically the white sticky rice. So then I make it or get it from someplace and eat it like nobody's business, I mean.. I eat it... like I'd been starving for days even though I had probably eaten a meal within the past hour. It's that crazy... and weird, but.. I guess I'm weird like that.

Anyways, so apparently, the other week, my parents ran out of rice. 

"O, Good Ebening"

This is how my dad answers the phone whenever he calls me.  He acts surprised that I answered the phone, all the while being oddly cordial. 

"Dis is daddy" 

"I know, I have caller ID"

"Oh."  He laughs. Even though this whole caller ID technology has been out for like, 10 years... my dad forgets that it exists and every time acts surprised that I knew it was him calling - like I'm psychic or something. 

But then his voice changes to a more serious note.

 "Win, ... win .. . win... win"

It is when he says my name multiple times - in quick rapid fire mode - that I suspect that something is up. Sometimes it's because he ran out of toilet paper, other times he can't figure out how to turn the DVD player on. What kind of toppings did I put in his burrito last time we went to Chipotle?  Did the Huskies win? (Me: I don't know.. u can look it up on the internet. My dad: Oh yea no? )

Dad: When are you going to Cosco?

Me: Idk, 

Dad: I dunt know? heh?... i need rice. 

me: I'll go sometime and we'll get you rice. Can you eat something else until you get rice?  

Dad: What am I going to eat with my cornbeep?


me: Bread. 


Dad: HEHH!?!

It was like I said the unfathomable death word ;  I was sorry I even mentioned it, I know...I was probably being insenstive.  

It was three days until I made that Costco trip, and in that waiting period my dad must have called me everyday to ask if today was the day I would take him to Cosco. There was definitely a feeling of frantic-ness, a feeling that the elements of life were not aligned due to there being no rice in the house.. I did eventually take him on that third day of asking, and he got his coveted bag; all was right with the world,  I hope...

until the next rice crisis... lol.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pish? Do you have any pish?

Taking my dad out to eat is always an adventure. Being from the provinces of the Philippines, I only imagine that "restaurant etiquette" would on the back burner of things to learn when in the midst of poverty.  Etiquette as in, the process of ordering food -the how, when you order drinks, when you order food - things that we "westernized" folk tend to take as a natural process, seems foreign to him. P

For instance,.. generally when going to a "sit down restaurant", you are shown to your seat, the waitress gives you a menu, tells you about the specials, and asks you about drinks and you order drinks if you know what you want. Then she will leave to give you time to look over the menu and comes back when you're ready.

With my dad... as soon as the waitress comes over to hand a menu and talk about specials he asks

"Pish, I want pish...ahh do you hab pish?

The waitress confusingly looks at him as he has just intervened on her practiced monologue and she struggles to remember whether she had been talking about the special or the wine. After taking a few seconds to gather her thoughts, She suggests the fish and chips or the fish burger.

My dad: Oh, is that good for my diabetes?


As if the waitress is supposed to be a licensed doctor or dietitian.


Waitress: uhmm... I don't know


My dad: Oh, do you put any salt in the pish? and do you hab wet bread (wheat bread). I cannot eat anyting dat will gib me high blood.



O.m.g, this is brutal I think. My dad ....  I cut him off to take control of the conversation.


 Me : We'll get waters and take a look at the menu before deciding


There is a look of relief on the face of our waitress as discovers she doesn't have to answer a question about diabetes. She leaves and I try to exasperatingly re-educate my father on the ordering process

Me: Dad!! You order drinks first... then you look over the menu to decide unless you already know what you want.. She doesn't know anything about your diebetes.


My dad: Oh - I'm just ahhsking da lady ip it is good por me...


(comes closer to me as if to share an inside joke)


but you know you daddy... he is a Filipino... sutimes he dusn't kno.


No kidding..

All my life with all all of my antics..

Why are you late?!? Why do you drive really slow after I get in the car when picking me up from school and stare at all the kids?!?! That's so embarrassing.  Why do you describe things in colors when your asking me stuff? I don't know what you're talking about when you say "the brown one".. what brown one!?! and ... why are you doing that motion with your hands around your eyes like that? oooh.. you want your glasses? I didn't know you knew sign language... 


.. ..that was always his response:


 Ahhh.. .. you know you're daddy. He is a Pilipino... 

But you know, it is what it is. My dad is a FOB... I mean, there's kind of FOB where they have an accent, but you can kind of understand what they're saying. and then there's the kind of FOB where the accent is so thick, you can't understand what they're saying so you kind of just have to laugh in the hopes that they said something funny. My dad is one of those that you just have to laugh at things that he says...

Anywho... they say you can't teach a old dog new tricks...and such is the case with my dad seeing as he's pushing 65 . Maybe it's my dad's generation and cultural upbringing, but I find that Filipinos his age who, though having migrated to the US, are less apt to change to American culture. So they can't speak straight English, they don't know the etiquette of ordering in a restaurant ((among other things)), but like I said, it is what it is.  I guess it's up to us 1st generation kids to order for them so the wait staff don't get exasperated.