I’m not having the greatest day, so I’ve been moping around being unproductive. I’m currently out of chocolate (the only legitimate sweet treat in the world), so I’m settling for the next best thing: gummy bears. I think I’ve had about 20. It’s not all bad though! They’re organic! Ha.
Alright, moving on! There is a time for meaningless jibber jabber and unhealthy amounts of sweets, and there is a time for getting down to business (in this case, writing)!
My mom was American (of European descent) and my dad is Chinese (Shanghainese to be exact). Mama was born and raised in the good ol’ US of A and daddy immigrated here when he was 8 (to Harlem to be exact! He throws a lot of people off with his Chinese face and Harlem accent)
I don’t think about my Chinese heritage and culture that much. Honestly, I don’t KNOW that much about Chinese culture. The most “Chinese” I am familiar with is Chinese food (and no, I’m not talking about your local Chang’s. That’s not real Chinese food. It’s Americanized Chinese food.) I recommend you checking out some of the shops and restaurants in Flushing, Queens or in China Town, Manhattan (Canal Street area). I quite like Lake Pavilion for dimsum and Big Wong (don’t look at me; I didn’t name it!) for everything else (soup dumplings, pork over rice, duck over rice). If I could, I would invite you to a home cooked meal by my grandma (may she rest in peace), because that’s the REAL stuff.
Two of my favorite dimsum delights! Ha-churn (Shrimp in rice wrapping) and Sesame balls
I studied Chinese (Mandarin) for a year at my university. It was quite fascinating actually. The letters in the Chinese language are like individual little works of art. So many complicated strokes go into each one. Not to mention the seemingly endless different pronunciations of very similar words. One wrong inflection in your voice and your “How are you?” turns into “Are you a good horse?” That was a fun year. I wish I had kept up with my Chinese afterwards, but unfortunately, I got caught up with my other classes and Chinese seemed unnecessary unless I planned to start teaching Chinese to my elementary school students.
My Chinese professor introduced us to Teresa Teng, a Taiwanese singer from a few decades back. She made us each sing two of her songs in front of the entire class, so that was humbling (but fun!). The late Ms. Teng had the sweetest demeanor and voice and she helps me appreciate my Chineseness. (Also, she dated Jackie Chan, so how cool is that?)
My favorite thing about being Chinese is being around other Chinese people. There’s something about being around “your people”. Knowing that your have this whole history and ancestry in common. A camaraderie, a confidence, an appreciation. Not to brag, but Chinese people are just in general pretty awesome. So if you don’t have any Chinese friends yet, you should really get on that 😉
Do you know a lot about your heritage? What are you most proud of?
P.S. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! I wouldn’t be who I am (well, I wouldn’t be at all) without you ❤ Love you to the moon and back