Spanish Rice

I named this post as such because I thought I’d talk for once about my heritage. The topic goes well with the location of these photos. My husband Rob and I just found a Spanish district in Baltimore that we didn’t know about, and Rob’s lived in this city all his life!

For some of you who think I am Chinese or Korean, I am not. I am Filipino and part Portuguese. My maiden name is Escueta, and that is what the E stands for in my initials, R.E.D. I can’t speak Portuguese or Spanish all too well, but I do know how to speak a great deal of broken Filipino. Despite my having grown up in the Philippines, most of what I read in books and watched in films as a child was in English. They say that language is formed based on thought (or vice versa), so without the thought, there is no language. If you’re interested in reading more about linguistics and thought, look up Neils Bohr. Anyway, I find that surprisingly true with the way I express myself. Anyone would think I’d naturally express myself better in Filipino having been raised there, but because I find that English is much more complex in structure and has a greater variety of words, I am able to sift through the expansive language to form exactly what is in my head.

I am not saying that Filipino is not as complex, because I am not entirely sure. It sure has evolved throughout the centuries, borrowing from other languages just as English tends to do. What I do know and am somewhat turned off by in the Filipino language is its impractical use and lack of authenticity. Since almost every Filipino speaks a bit of English, there is really no need to use that language besides amongst themselves. At times I joke around that knowing Filipino just tempts me to talk behind someone’s back and gossip, so I’ve never really felt the need to use the language. It’s just polite not to exclude someone of a different tongue in a group conversation by speaking in another language. In fact, my husband and I have agreed not to teach our future kids Filipino for that reason! Neither my husband nor I really want our kids to talk bad about their dad to each other or to me without him understanding. They can just resort to Morse code for all I care!

Secondly, the lack of authenticity doesn’t really come from borrowing other languages. What I meant by lack of authenticity is really from what I see in modern day-to-day talk. In Filipino shows and movies, you will almost always see the actors switch from Filipino to English—inserting words, phrases, and whole sentences in that language. If you were to ask them to translate what they said in English to Filipino, most likely they would have a hard time doing so (even though there is an equivalent).

To give the Filipino language the merit it deserves, I believe there are still some words and expressions in that language that do not have direct English equivalents. However, when I attempt to translate these words or expressions to the best of my ability as in a Filipino joke translated to English, it doesn’t turn out to be as funny. I’ve shot myself in the foot so many times doing so.

What I Wore: Shirt from Petite Monde – Skirt from the Philippines – Tights and belt from Goodwill – Sweater from mom – Bag from H&M