We went to a christening party at the weekend for our lovely babysitter’s little son. I think Filipinos must be the most hospitable people in the world. Since our involvement with the Filipino community in Brussels began, we have been deluged with invitations to a range of events.We turned up last night to find that we were the only non-Filipinos in the hall aside from the DJ (they do big christenings, the Filipinos). On our arrival, the Princess ran to the stage where the threw herself into an energetic dance routine to the tune of “itsy, bitsy, teenie, weenie, yellow polka dot bikini” while I hovered awkwardly behind her ready to grab her, if she got too near the footlights. Tragically, I have to report that she has inherited her mother’s sense of rhythm.
When there was a break in the music, I suggested to her that we might ask the DJ to play a request. She was very taken with this notion, so we approached the pony-tailed Belgian to ask for “It’s raining men”. The Princess was concerned that he mightn’t have it, but it seemed to me, that he had the kind of playlist that would not only give us that but “I will survive” later as well. We approached the young man and in my fluentest French, I asked for “It’s raining men”. He looked at me blankly for a moment (always unnerving for the foreigner) and then he said “I’m sorry, I don’t speak French, I’m Irish (small pause) and so are you”. It turned out that he was the boyfriend of a Filipina friend of our babysitter and he has been living with her in Brussels for the past year. He speaks fluent Tagalog (so he said, who was I to quibble?) but he hadn’t managed to pick up any French working in an Irish bar in the EU quarter (again, no quibbling here). “How did you know I was Irish?” “Oh” he said, “I was told there would be an Irish couple here and I knew it was you two the minute you walked in the door”. Foreign and sophisticated, that’s us.