Soft-boiled metaphors

I really like eggs. I recently discovered the correct timing for making soft boiled eggs. 5-6 minutes in boiling water if you want the yolk gooey (5 minutes exactly if you want it running down your fingers when you take a bite). I eat these eggs with seasoned salt or salt mixed with curry powder. I like eggs in my ramen. It’s the first thing I eat because the yolk will turn solid if you leave it too long. Placing a fried egg on a sandwich is like eating the sunrise.

I like the egg as a metaphor for potentiality, insulation, or protection. For those born in the 80’s, we watched eggs frying in a pan as we waited for the cartoons to come back on. In the right setting and position, eggs can be strong and stable. We teach kids about gravity with eggs. Lost opportunities, death, failed relationships, and the rigid hands of our primary caretakers easily crack our shells. Do we need to be destroyed in order to find our purpose? If so, then your omelette is a revolution.

I like eggs as projectiles. I remember one Halloween, my brother and I hid up in the tree in the front yard and threw eggs at passing cars. We only aimed for the tires so that they wouldn’t notice the impact. I laughed so hard. Eggs rotating on all three axes as they are hurled through the air is a beautiful sight – it’s the reason why the iPhone’s slow-mo video capturing exists. Eggs as a replacement for baseballs make picnics fun and family reunions bearable.

Have you had an egg today?

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Motherland

Come Fly With Me

When I was 13, my parents took the family to the Philippines. We stayed with my grandma who seemed timeless. I never really knew her at that point so she seemed to be more of just another elder whom I had to show respect.

My cousins lived in the same neighborhood so I saw them a lot. They asked me questions about America and complimented me on my sense of fashion. I had to fly across an ocean to find out that I was dressing correctly for a kid that was worried about not fitting in with the other kids at school. My cousins were not resentful – thankfully – of my circumstances and seemed proud of me. I didn’t have a clue why they felt like this.

I saw unfathomable poverty. I saw a dormant volcano. I met kind people who questioned my Filipino identity and played basketball in slippers.

The typhoon that struck the Philippines was another facet of the complex disconnection that I have experienced from my ethnic origins. I am most likely not alone in this experience considering the large population of Filipino-Americans just in California. I have a feeling that there are many who feel no sense of  fundamental connection to this country they – in actuality – know nothing about. Sure, we may think we know Filipino culture because we like to eat lechon and pancit at family parties. But I have come to accept that I must seriously question my notions of what makes me a Filipino when I can’t put two sentences together regarding the social contributions of José Rizal. I don’t know what it’s like to breathe in the smog and sweat saturated air of a dense metropolitan jungle city – day in and day out. I don’t know what it feels like to live in a country that is politically, militarily, and culturally subservient to a dominant empire like the United States.
I think I’ll travel back to this foreign land – can I really call it my motherland? – when I’m old in or mind. For now, I’ll love the Philippines because it gave me brown, age-defying skin; kind and generous people; and the slowly developing ability to live in two cultures.