Entry 3: For the Love of Lumpia


The first time I made lumpias was Thanksgiving, circa 2009.

I know, lumpia on Thanksgiving.  But it felt like the right thing to do at the time and you know, you do what you gotta do, especially on Thanksgiving.

“I”m hungry, what do we have?” my husband asked the night before the big holiday

Luckily for him, I had been prepping the lumpias and fried a few of them up for him.

As I plated the rolls, I watched him eat as ambiguously as I could. It probably will seem a little weird, but whenever I cook something new, or serve something that I’ve never served to someone, I do this thing where I watch them eat as ambiguously as I can, only from a third person perspective it doesn’t look ambiguous.

“Why are you looking at me all weird?” my husband will ask when catching me staring.

“Is it good?” I’ll ask.

“Yea,” he’ll say.

There is a brief pause.

“But is it good?  or like… goood goood? Like… do you want more?”

With the lumpias, there was no need to question whether or not my husband liked them; after eating the few that I made him, he requested for more.  Since that Thanksgiving holiday, the lumpia has become my family’s go-to food, with batches kept in the freezer for those times when we want to eat them, which occurs fairly quite often. I’ve made them for friends to keep in their freezer, brought them to parties to eat, and have had such positive feedback as omg, this is hella bomb and  Teach me how to make them!

While I have had positive feedback from a lot of people, there is one approval that I haven’t seem to have gotten: that is the approval from my fellow Filipino.

Countless times I have made them for my Filipino friends who have eaten them, but have never received the same dramatic approval as other people have given me ( like omg this is so good! omg I’m going to eat like 10) They’ll eat it, and then move on to the rice.  Which makes me question, are my lumpias even authentically good? 

I’ve been struggling with justifying this need for an authentic approval, trying to convince myself that it doesn’t matter if they say nothing. I mean, there are kids that can’t even eat lumpias, and I’m worrying about whether they are legit. But who am I kidding? In the back of my mind, it does matter. I want to know if I’m doing something wrong from someone who knows what’s what. It’s like that one time in yoga class when the instructor was like your arms needs to be turned out with your elbows pressing against your body, palms up as if it touching the earth and you are one with your being. I appreciated that, Thank you yoga instructor.

Perhaps it is that – for Filipinos – a lumpia / Filipino food in general is an everyday thing that doesn’t require dramatic approval each time it is eaten; it is just a know fact that it’s good stuff.  I mean, I myself don’t have foodgasms everytime i have a lumpa, so I shouldn’t expect everyone to have it. On the other hand, the first time I had a true Mexican taco? I tilted my head back and closed my eyes and was like.. yeessss!

I should just take it as approval enough that my lumpias are being eaten and not be too hard on myself. As long as people enjoy them and I enjoy them, that’s all that matters, right?


Entry 2 : A Filipino in Tuscon

One of the first things I googled when moving to Tuscon was  first seeded into my head.

Are there any Asians in Tuscon? In particular – Filipinos? 

It was a search that garnered a number of results from a number of websites and forums, but there was one answer that stuck out to me the most:

If you’re asking this question, maybe you should branch out.

It is true, many of my friends that I grew up with and that I have now are Asian. Was it important to me that the new area I moved to had Asians?

I evaluated, and came up with the answer of no, not necessarily. It didn’t matter if I ultimately was the token Asian. In fact, being the Token-Asian could be a good thing, I could become a guru of some sort, answering all questions revolving around being Asian

What is soy sauce? With an egg roll, do you use sweet and sour sauce to dip? How do you cook rice in a pot? How do you cook rice in a rice cooker? 

What did matter, was whether I had access to food that I may have cravings for.

Here in Seattle, Asian food is everywhere. If I’m craving pho, sushi, teriyaki – whatever, I would just need to go 5 minutes in any direction of my house – well, more so in the direction of Highway 99 – and BAM! Asian food.  In Tuscon, I have yet to explore the food in surrounding, but from what I’ve read – Tuscon is like the Mexican-American food capital of the world. Which is great because I love car but – what if I crave chicken adobo? What if I am wanting Filipino lumpia? Fresh Sushi ? Where would I go?

The struggle is real folks, and the only real solution I see is to fly home every time I’m wanting good Asian food,or learn how to cook all the favorite dishes. I’m not concluding that Tuscon won’t have any good Asian food because there are Asian people and they do have Asian markets ( I google mapped this) and like I said, I have yet to explore,  but – it’s better to be prepared.

Entry 1: Big News

I woke up feeling that the day would be as normal of a day as ever: I would wake up, go to work, come home from work, do  chore here and there, and basically run through all the repetitive things that I had been doing on a day to day basis.

But, as it would turn out, the day wasn’t going to be normal. By mid-morning, just after my first cup of coffee, my husband imparted some news that would change the normalcy of my life.

We’re moving to Arizona.

This wasn’t completely a surprise, my husband had applied to a job in Tuscon a million moons ago, got the job, but due to top-secret security measures that required him to pass a government background check, it took nearly 8 months to get a security clearance. The year had started out with the hype of moving, had faded into a somewhat disappointing thought that it maybe wasn’t going to happen, then – just as I was accepting that it probably wasn’t going to happen – Fate decided to let us know that (just kidding) we were going to move.

I received the news and began to hyperventilate: the tears began to well in my eyes that were a mix of happy and sad emotions: I had spent a majority of my life in Seattle and while talk of moving had just been talks, it was quickly and aggressively becoming a reality. I didn’t know if I was ready.

I proceeded to go back to the normalcy of my day; it seemed as if the rest of the world was going about just as it had always done, but in the back of my mind lay the truth that it wasn’t and wouldn’t ever be the same.