Laughing over Lumpia

If you couldn’t already tell by my name, I am Filipino-American. For some reason, it is very common for Filipinos to give their children names that combine their parents’ names. (My mom’s name is Arleene and my dad’s name is Rubin.) I can’t speak Tagalog, Ilocano, or Visayan, I only understand the “bad” Filipino words or when my grandma is telling me to go eat and growing up we didn’t practice traditional Filipino customs. We did, however, make lumpia.

I guess to be more specific, my mom made the filling for the lumpia and my sisters and I wrapped them. I would always complain before starting the lumpia making process and often tried to get out of helping but once we actually started working, I didn’t mind it so much. Mostly because my mom, sisters and I would just end up talking story, cracking jokes (usually at the expense of my mom), and having a good time. It’s funny how something so repetitive and seemingly mundane can result in some serious mother-daughter bonding.

I have yet to try a lumpia that tastes better than my mom’s. I guess a lot of people might feel the same way about foods they have an emotional connection to; foods that were made by someone they love. For some it’s their mother’s apple pie, for others it’s their father’s barbecue. Every time I have one of my mom’s lumpia a huge wave of nostalgia washes over me. I hope that one day I will be able to share an experience like this with my daughters. And I won’t even mind if the jokes are about me.


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