How do you answer the question, “where are you from?” I always have trouble with this question nowadays. And even though I remember it was easier for me to answer this question when I was younger, I can’t remember what I used to say.
I bet I automatically assumed it meant I have to tell people I’m from China. I bet I thought that’s what people meant, like you don’t look like us so where are you from exactly? Then it turned into tell people the last place I lived like it would go something like this:
“Where are you from?”
“Not Baltimore City. Those two are different. That’s what I tell everyone…”
After this exchange I just sound conceited or something so I feel defeated because that’s not what I want to come across as at all.
Nowadays it becomes a conversation like this one, where I’m trying to figure out how I’m supposed to answer the question so that’s what I say and I end up giving my “life story” about where I was born to where I grew up and where my family has moved across the States. Then I feel like I’ve given TMI too soon and that leads to feeling defeated again.
So now I’m just left with the question hanging in the air and me a deer in the headlights. Awk…ward…
I like men; I’m just afraid of them. So I continue to live my nun existence and it will probably stay that way until I’m 100 or die, whichever comes first. I’m fast approaching my expiration date, though I hope I taste sweet, not sour when that happens. My stomach hurts. Ow. It’s really windy outside and makes me think of Chicago. I used to live there, but I don’t really have any pleasant memories unless you count a long time ago in my childhood that I’m fast forgetting yet holding onto at the same time. I can’t wait to fart it all out. Happy Veterans Day to you. I found out recently my grandfather is a WWII vet. He’s dying in China right now and there’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t know why I keep thinking that. He was 15 when he joined the army. He used to be a little over 6 feet tall. Well, physically he’s not anymore, but he will always live in my mind that tall because he was my hero growing up. Played basketball and ping pong and played board games with me to keep me company when my parents weren’t home. It’s because of him I’m pretty tall for an Asian girl haha. For an American I’m about medium height though.
wo ai ni, lao ye
There are so many places in America I still haven’t seen. Come to think of it, so many places in my country of origin I haven’t seen either.
This morning a manager was talking about her big family–her cousins, their kids, and more. That got me thinking that she’s lucky her whole family is here in America. That’s how it is with many American families. But it’s different with mine. My immediate family immigrated here a long time ago and besides one cousin here in the States, the rest of my extended family is back home–China. Growing up, my friends were fascinated with this fact about me and would sometimes ask me questions. They didn’t mean any harm and I was never left with a bad feeling, but I do remember sometimes feeling a bit angry thinking about it.
Thanksgivings and Christmases, it’s always me, my mom and my dad. Everybody else comes back from holidays with stories about aunts (by the way, an ant is a bug and an aunt is a relative) and uncles and cousins and grandmas. I would get jealous that everybody else could see their crazy family whenever they wanted (maybe not whenever, but pretty much when the other option is having family overseas) and my parents would have to wait until it’s daytime over there to make an international call to siblings or parents.
I don’t know when was the last time my parents got to celebrate Chinese New Year the right way in China. And I was so young when I left that it’s basically like never experiencing it at all.
I just hope that whoever has family here appreciates the closeness, even if your family is crazy and loud and obnoxious.