1. No matter how skinny you are, she’ll always say you’re fat.
And then she’ll tell you that you never eat enough.
2. When you were little, instead of kisses, she’d smell your head.
3. As a young child, you were often made to perform a song or dance when your parents had company.
Regardless of whether you actually had any musical talent.
4. When you ask her to teach you a phrase in Tagalog, half of the words will be in English.
Because, “that’s actually how we talk over there. Nobody really speaks Tagalog.”
5. “Just try it” is the scariest response you can hear when you ask her what is in a dish she made.
The only thing scarier is her response when you tell her you don’t want to try it.
6. You’re probably Catholic.
Even if you know nothing about Catholicism. There is an altar or a crucifix or the Virgin Mary hiding somewhere in your house. At the very least, you’re scared of God.
7. Your mom will talk fondly and nostalgically of the Philippines.
And then, when you ask why she never goes back, she responds with, “Why would I EVER want to go back there? It’s… no.”
8. When you do go back to visit, you’ll receive a very warm welcome from fifty of your relatives.
Thirty of whom you didn’t know you were related to. And yeah, they’ll probably think you’re fat, but, by God, you’ll definitely feel loved.
9. You have a karaoke machine at home.
A good one, too.
10. Keeping track of relatives and their multiple names is sort of like keeping all the characters straight in a Russian novel.
She has several siblings and each person has three different names: their given name, some abbreviated form of the given name, and a cute nickname (“Baby” or “KitKat”) that has little or nothing in common with the first two names.
11. Conversation relies heavily on context and some psychic ability.
She’ll ask you to fetch her “the thing — you know, it’s inside the other thing on top of the tall one.” You’ll know exactly what she’s talking about.
12. There was a strict “No boyfriends until you’re 30 and only if you’re married” rule.
13. She insists that “leche” means nothing more than “milk” in Spanish.
Yet she only seems to use the word when she’s pissed off.
14. No matter what you set out to do, it’s always “dangerous.”
She’ll tell you to be safe even if it’s just staying in to watch a movie.
15. Vegetarianism within your family isn’t an option.
All that means is at dinner, instead of pork, she’ll feed you chicken.
16. She’ll urge you to visit the Philippines.
And then, when you do decide to go, she’ll try to discourage you by scaring you with all of the reasons why you’d be a giant murder / kidnapping / robbery target.