An evening with pinay friends

My pinay (colloquial word for Filipina) friend invited me over to her twin son’s graduation party a couple of days ago. I was excited to go because that was an opportunity for me to meet and make new friends from my country. In my five years in the US I have only met a few pinay friends and have only been to one pinay gathering, a send-off party for a friend moving to Florida. 

I was glad I showed up. I met a couple of really nice pinays and enjoyed chatting with them. Our host prepared a wide variety of Filipino dishes that you would typically see in our gatherings – pansit, lumpiang shanghai (doesn’t sound very Filipino though), filipino barbeque (kebobs) and fruit salad to name a few. 

All five of us are married to American “hunks”. Each has a story to tell. We exchanged stories on how we met our husbands and how we have adjusted to the American way of life. Our commonality was driving. 

The Philippines offers a massive choice of public transportation, ranging from trikes (bicycles with sidecars), tricycles (motorcycles with sidecars), jeepneys (most popular) buses and the Metro railways. And if you ever get a chance to venture into the countryside, you’ll still see caretelas (ox-driven carts) and kalesas (horse-driven carriages) which are the chief means of transporting people and goods to and from the vast farmlands. 

Coming from a country where having your own car is considered a luxury; living in the US definitely meant learning how to drive. Issues on the weather was also something we had in common. Philippines is a tropical country and moving to a state where you get all four seasons in a day is something we needed to adjust to as well. Everyone agreed that it’s always best to check the weather first before going anywhere and it sure did become a part of our routine. We never did that back home; it’s just rain or shine and we can pretty much tell just by looking at the clouds. 

Adapting our husband’s palate to Filipino cuisine was also an issue during the initial years of each of our marriages. One pinay related how her husband said he would not dare even to try eating a Filipino dish. I am glad Tashi was always willing to eat the dishes I can come up with, even from leftover veggies in our fridge. 

It was a great night. As natural chikadoras (chatty people), we spent the whole time talking and taking pictures. Being together with my kababayans (countrymen) and swapping anecdotes of a true-blue Pinay uprooted “by love” to live in America was surely a night to remember. I can’t wait to be with them again.

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