It’s been a while hasn’t it, the past couple weeks have been busy but there is a treat at the end if you’ve been missing my writing. Enjoy!

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Every culture has little habits that are so ingrained in its people’s behavior that the actors don’t think for a second, that those actions may be performed differently in other parts of the world. While I’ve begun to learn about the habits of my corner of the Philippines, I’ve also started learning which of my habits are unique to the United States.

  1. Fork and Knife or Spoon and Fork?

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In the United States meals are typically eaten with a fork and knife. In the Philippines, meals are eaten with a spoon and fork, with the spoon being used more prominently than the fork—if they use silverware at all. It’s also very common to ditch the silverware all together and eat with ‘mga kamot mo!’ or ‘your hands!’

  1. What you’re looking for is just over there!

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Pointing in the Philippines isn’t done with your hands; it’s done by puckering your lips.

  1. ‘No shoes in the house’ isn’t just Mom’s rule!

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Every house here has a pile of shoes at the door. Wearing shoes inside is very uncommon. So kick off those zapatos at the door! Unless, they’re house tsinelas of course.

  1. Every day is an umbrella day.

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In the USA, umbrellas are for rain, and big umbrellas are for beaches and porches. But here, umbrellas are carried, and used, at all times. The Pinoy Sun is intense! Umbrellas are used to shade people from those extreme rays. I can personally tell you this is a worthwhile investment. Even short trips outside can result in sunburn!

  1. Sit, rest muna!

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This is a common, and comfortable, sitting position for Filipinos young and old! If people are sick of standing, watching an event, fixing a tryke, or even cooking they’ll just take a squat. Is there a United States equivalent for this?? Let me know below if you think of one!

  1. Can I get through a post without mentioning eating?

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No, no I cannot. But anyways, by bunching your fingers together (similar to ASL for ‘eat’) and touching your cheek you can communicate a number of things about eating. Depending on the context, this can mean ‘have you eaten?’, ‘come eat!’, or ‘we are eating.’

  1. ACHOO-EY

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S/O to my Dad who sneezes like that. In the United States we usually say ‘bless you’ after someone sneezes. This is not practiced in the Philippines. Most people don’t say anything. Sometimes I still say ‘bless you’ instinctively, can’t kick all those American habits!

  1. But what’s your nickname?

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In the United States, if someone prefers a nickname over their actual name, they’ll usually tell you upon introducing themselves.  I don’t have any preference on what people call me so when I was asked  ‘what is your nickname?’ I said I didn’t have one.  I received confused looks and was asked a few more times ‘but, what’s your nickname?’. I now understand those looks because EVERYONE has a nickname. I now I have many many nicknames, Chee and Chels are the most common (at the moment).  This can make things complicated when someone is addressing me, I have to listen for so many different syllables and versions of my name!

What other countries have you encountered that uphold these habits? Which countries don’t? What are some habits you’ve noticed elsewhere? Let me know, comment below!

AND AS PROMISED: Bonus Post! I recently wrote an article for the blog Travel Belles. The article is 10 tips for adjusting to life in a new country, check it out here, and pass it along to anyone who might find it helpful!

One thought on “8 Little Habits You Didn’t Know Were Different on the Other Side of the World

  1. Chels, in the Dominican Republic we use umbrellas for the sun as well. For our 3 kings traditions when we get presents, I use to get a pink umbrella and a doll. How funny is that?

    Like

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