Most Saturdays I park at the market near where we have class. The narrow walkways and alleys just aren’t conducive to parking even the smallest vehicle. Plus, there is the added bonus of having a parking “bantay”, similar to a security guard, who watches over the lot. One bantay in particular, Paul, has been around for as long as I have, so I am familiar with his weekly presence, eagerly waving me into an open spot. Dan teases me about my “boyfriend”, and swears that he has a crush on me. Sure, whatever. But it is a good idea to remain on good terms with the guy who prevents your car from being broken into, slashed, or defaced. So, we always have a few minutes of chit chat as I come and go, usually in a fabulously confusing and glorious hybrid of Visayan and English…”Vis-Lish”, the only language besides English that I am truly fluent in.
A few days ago, it was hot. Surprise. But this wasn’t your typical tropical heat, it was a stifling, steamy, exhausting heat. As I was backing out of my spot, Paul ran to my window to say goodbye, and to hopefully secure a small tip (again, keep your bantay happy!). As I handed him a few pesos, he asked how I was, to which I replied, “init!” (hot!). You can always tell when it’s exceptionally hot, because the locals agree. “Yes, very hot!” Paul replied in English. I wiped away the bead of sweat that started to run down my forehead, crinkled my nose in disgust, and said “singot” (sweat). Phonetically, it sounds like “sing-oat”, with a very soft, almost nonexistent “t” on the end. “Single?!?” asked Paul, with a bit too much enthusiasm in his voice. “Where is your husband now?”. Oh boy. “No, singot! Sweat! My husband’s at home!” I could literally see him deflate with disappointment. Maybe Dan was right after all. So, just when you think you’re starting to get a handle on the language, life, or a parking attendant, throws a curveball your way. Always fun when I decide to venture out of the house!