Becoming An Honorary Pilipina – Food, Friendship & Family
One of the really cool things about the company I work for now is that it’s a veritable United Nations with several continents represented, mostly on our manufacturing floor. I love it. I’ve met the most interesting people and learned from them through our interactions and conversations. I’ve had big projects over the last couple of years that were very labor intensive and I was allowed to have people from the manufacturing floor help me (as long as I wasn’t pulling them away from their responsibilities).
I’ve gotten to know a lot of the people through working with them, but also through casual conversations and event planning. I feel very honored that some of them have shared their stories with me. I feel even more honored that I can call them my friends.
I’ve always loved working with people who are different from me. I feel like I learn philosophies that I hadn’t considered before. In the long term, I think I’ve grown from these relationships.
We have a number of people from the Philippines who work on our manufacturing floor who I think are wonderful. They have been so generous in inviting me to join their conversations and introduce me to different foods from their country. In many ways I feel like I’ve been adopted into a very special family. My youngest family member even calls me “Mum”, though I’d be a whole lot happier to be “big sis” instead.
When I heard the story out of California about the Pilipino workers who were being singled out as a culture to only speak English, I was puzzled. Why would a particular group be singled out and why would anyone give such a kind and generous group of people (in my experience) such a hard time?
I understand that all medical staff should have a firm understanding of English so that they can provide proper care to their patients, but casual conversations shouldn’t have to all be in English whatever country or culture a person comes from.
Even though conversation occasionally slips into tagalog and back again while I’m in the lunch room, I never feel left out. I’m actually more impressed that my friends can move so fluidly back and forth between two languages. I wish I could do that.
I value my status as an honorary Pilipina and will continue to enjoy the company of all my international friends and coworkers.