Friday, July 3, 2009

American Generation

I am a first generation Filipino American. Somehow I got very Americanized ... Southern California girl Americanized to be exact. I was a cheerleader with a valley accent. I only know a few words in Tagalog. I am a sorority girl who never moved back home after graduating from university.

I am proud to be an American, but there is a much larger side to me that is curious about cultures that have a much longer history. I will admit (and you can ask Miss) that I suck at American history and geography. I would probably fail an American citizenship test, but would pass a British history exam with flying colors! I think it is sad that when I watched the John Adams mini-series on HBO and learned things I probably should have learned in high school!

My daughter is what some call "howlipino". Half howlie and half Filipino. She is now second generation American in my family, but her father's family has been here for quite a few generations.

second generation

I am attempting to teach her some Tagalog, but thanks to Nick Jr. she has picked up more words in Spanish and Chinese. As she prepares to enter Kindergarten in a year I am feeling the pressure to learn about this great country we live in. I don't want her (or I) to be one of those sad statistics you hear about Americans who know more about pop culture than their own country's history. I want her to know the entire story of Pocahontas instead of the Disney-fied version. I want her to know that Independence Day means so much more than hanging out at the beach, fireworks, BBQ and red/white/blue cupcakes.

cuppy cakes!!!!

I want her to be proud that she has an American passport when she travels. I want her to know the National Anthem. I want her to wave that little flag knowing what the stars and stripes mean. I want her to know what it means to be independent.

Happy Independence Day!


  1. AnonymousJuly 03, 2009

    Howlie? You kill me. Thanks for adding a new word to my American English lexicon.

  2. It's true. She completely sucks at state capitols.

  3. I'm second (born) generation American on my mom's side. I think there's a cycle that happens with the culture, but it's just been my observation with my own family. My mom's generation Americanized very much, didn't preserve their native language, didn't pass it along to my generation. My generation, myself and my cousins, seem to have a greater interest in our heritage. I kind of resent my mother for not preserving it all. Not that your daughter will resent you, it's just been my experience. I wish she had made an effort to remember the German my grandpa spoke at home, to teach it to me.

    I appreciate being American, I'm proud of it, but I also wish my cultural heritage hadn't been watered down so much just to fit in. It's a tough tight rope to walk.

    On my father's side I'm Native American. So that's an even longer history there.

  4. Learned something new today. Howlie. Your daughter is gorgeous. And I think it is awesome that you are trying to teach her more about our great country and about her ancestry.