Thee Woes of a Filipino Cashier

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First of all, we just moved from Fort St. John to Grande Prairie. So we’re now in Alberta instead of being in British Columbia. And because we just moved, I needed a new job. A job that would help me to save money for college (hopefully next year). So I applied for various jobs and finally got a call from Save on Foods. I went in for an interview and a few days later, got a call that I got a job! And that was the start of my woes.

First of all, I’m not really that confident of my verbal English. Yes, I know how to speak the language because I’ve been learning that since kindergarten. But if you try to compare it with with my constant use of my local dialect, BIsaya,I just use straight English during reportings. And that’s where my problem started. I kind of talk fast in Bisaya. Well, that’s because I’m familiar with it and confident in using it. Now that I’m practising my English more, I still carry that “Fast-talk” thing that sometimes I stumble out the words. Shame on me.

Another thing is my grammar. I’ve been taught English grammar since Elementary and I don’t have much problem with it when it comes to writing. However, verbal English is quite different because I have to immediately answer the person. Sometimes, my grammar gets all messed up and I get flustered. I hate it when that happens.

Ever heard of Zucchini, Beets and Leek? If you have then high five! I have heard about these of course. I do watch cooking shows even if I don’t know much about cooking. They usually name these vegetables (?) but I didn’t really know what they looked like. Here, these foods are likely compared to kang kong, gabi and malunggay in the Philippines. The first time I saw these vegetables, I was terribly lost. “Uhm, excuse me. Sorry but what do you call this again?” that’s my usual line the first time I saw these vegetables. What can I do? I never saw them. Good thing some customers just smile and answer me. Some actually have mocking smile but I don’t care. It’s better to ask than to be wrong.

I’m not really the social butterfly. Maybe because of the way I grew up. I was the sheltered type and my friends were my school friends and never really had a neighbour best friend (except at Bukidnon). Now, many of my colleagues (?), workmates whatever are kinda close to my age. My problem? Language barrier and my awkwardness. I kept telling myself, maybe if I’m better in English then maybe I can talk to them more. Or maybe if they speak my language I can get along with them better.

My voice. My English speaking voice that I have already blogged before. There are times when I speak LOUD and the other person still say, “What?”. I just think, “My voice is really that low?” (insert sad face here) I asked a workmate once about my voice and she said that I’m really quiet. Wow.

So that’s it. I’m actually quite tired already of being the new kid, the foreigner and the non-English speaker. I’m finding ways to improve my English speaking skills. Maybe one day I can speak English as fluent and as confident as I speak in Bisaya.

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