In Which I Get “Schooled” In English and Enjoy Snack Time

I’ve been drinking tea in place of coffee for the better part of my three weeks here (*DRAMATIC GASP* THREE WEEKS?! I know. This trip is flying by). Today I thought if I could drag my body out of bed in time and get out the door with a few minutes to spare I could get an iced coffee as a treat to celebrate it being Friday. Little did I know that three weeks is all it takes for the brew to go from “Yea I can drink this with just a little half and half” to “If drinking coffee is what makes you an adult, I don’t want to be one.” I’m being overly dramatic but that’s what it felt like.

It’s a very common occurrence for me to talk to someone at work and for someone in a conversation to switch from English to Visayan and back to English. Usually to decide what the best English word to describe something is, particularly as I get more and more curious about the world around me. I’ve been saying for weeks, “You speak better English than I do.” And no one believed me. Yesterday, to the embarrassment of my high school diploma and spending a year in college (and having a fascination with language and words to begin with) I was schooled.

The word was “Viand”. I had to look it up. I thought it wasn’t English, but it was.

vi·and ˈvīənd/ noun literary

An item of food. “An unlimited assortment of viands”

The context was “things you put on rice”. It’s worth noting that that rice is a staple. As I’ve noticed, you have rice with other things for a meal here more times than not. Needing “viand” spelled twice for me to look it up was a split reaction in my head between “I told you so” and “Spend more time looking at words in a thesaurus before you really embarrass yourself.” It turns out it is “late Middle English: from Old French viande ‘food,’ from an alteration of Latin vivenda, neuter plural gerundive of vivere ‘to live.’”

Food and to live. I don’t think there’s a more fitting word for Filipino culture I’ve heard all week. Food, after all, is the center of every day here in the best way possible. In fact, some people from work and I went to Jolliebee (McD’s rival for Filipino customers) for dinner tonight. Between the three of us, I ended up dipping French fries in mashed potatoes and gravy. And yes. It was awesome.

If I thought Oregon’s weather was indecisive I had another thing coming. Like I said on Monday, I’ve been getting these minor headaches at work. Nothing major. Just inconvenient. I am fine. If it’s the weather (we’re getting outer bands of tropical storms making way for China, bringing with it heavy winds and rain) that’s causing my headache, I would be happy. If it’s the fact I’m not drinking enough water despite my efforts, I would be relieved. To try and get my head out of the fog this afternoon I ran down the 7 Eleven near work and got a juice box and a packet of chocolate cream filled Kola Cookies. It did the trick and I felt better almost immediately.

Was a lack of whimsy in my Friday the cause of my headache? Would the problem have been avoided if I skipped to my destination? I do not know. But I do have this half-baked theory that college kids are grown up kindergarteners in a lot of ways. We love naps and snack time. Sleep a lot. Love to color. We’ve reached the cusp of our lives where we watch some of the old shows and play some of the old games on generations old platforms for the nostalgia. Pokemon is cool again. Disney? We love it. Glow in the dark stars and pinwheels for giggles? Maybe that’s just me. I turn 20 in about two months and after today’s protest against coffee and leaning towards a juice box and cookies for snack time, I think my inner child is throwing a tantrum to get out. Peter Pan is coming to my window tonight to take me to Neverland. It’s also common for us to take cat naps on the couches at work during breaks.  I think I’ll take the Friday shenanigans and claim “I’m trying to reconnect to my youth” and maybe doodle a little more on my legal pad at work while I think.

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