by Sigrid Dimaano
Filipinos are known as good English communicators. I am one of those who truly believe in this but not until I finally settled and lived here.
Before I came to the United States, I was pretty confident that it was going to be easy since English was a part of my daily life in the Philippines. But I was wrong, I guess you'll never really realize it until you settle and try to be a part of a society where English is the first language. I was so critical of myself which made me think twice before I utter a word.
At first, I thought I was the only one but after talking to several people, I learned that they had the same feeling and I was assured that it was NORMAL to feel that way. Here are common experiences we have encountered.
1. Just right after I got here, I was more comfortable putting an all tagalog status in my Facebook account. Take note, I used not just regular Filipino words but complicated ones which maybe some Filipinos won't be able to understand. Why I did this? Probably because I wanted to prove and convince everyone including myself that this is something that I'm good at and they won't be able to criticize me for this.
2. There were several occasions where I would ask my husband to order food for me in a restaurant with a matching "pa-cutey" smile.
3. I let the phone ring for as long as possible. Thank God for the answering machine! For some reason, my stuttering became more apparent on a phone conversation. I never thought a phone ring would make me so nervous!
Funny, isn't it? But these really happened. I became this timid and shy woman that I never was for probably six months. I am good now and finally adjusted to the norms here. I am not proud of it, but I am not ashamed to admit it either. I shared it because I know that these will probably happen to somebody out there again. If this is true, don't feel bad. You are not alone.