An autobiographical tale of a little girl lost in the Orient
– excerpt; in progress
excerpt; in progress
I have a Chinese middle name, but I have never been able to properly pronounce it. I am of Chinese descent but I am from New York, and both of my parents were born in the U.S. My dad is the only one in our household who can speak Chinese, so, much to the dismay of my grandparents, we only ever spoke English at home and I never learned their language.
The first time I went to China I was 20 years old. I went for 30 days, by myself, speaking only English. In many ways it was very alienating, discovering a country that I felt was and wasn't mine. I felt very foreign and very ashamed that I wasn't able to communicate.
It was also the most rewarding experience of my entire life - I met relatives I had never heard of before and many more incredible and generous people, I saw & heard & smelled things I could never have anticipated, and I acquired a new appreciation and enthusiasm for Asia and for my heritage.