you can never go home again

I had the privilege of flying on one of Eva Airlines' Hello Kitty planes today.   Everywhere you turn on the plane, you see signs of Hello Kitty: from the pins on the flight attendants' uniforms, their pink aprons, the pillow covers, to the air freshener in the lavatory.   I started chuckling as I [...]

I am not here

No, really. Perhaps I am having too much faith in the universality of Internet access, and also in the lasting prowess of my cellphone battery. I am hoping that I could continue to overshare while traveling to/in Asia. I said Asia because I am going to be in Shanghai and then Taipei, and you know, I cannot say China [...]

Splendid

Today is the Lantern Festival. I completely forgot about it. It was only when I noticed the headline on The Atlantic, "Chinese Lantern Festival 2012" that I remembered. Today marks the end of the Chinese New Year. Looking through the beautiful photos, I wish I could say, "Yup. These remind me of home."  Of my [...]

Going Home. Again.

Waiting to get on a plane that will take me to Tokyo Narita, and then onto Taipei. I am making my annual solo trip back home so I can pack 359 days of homesickness, guilt and filial piety into a 3-day visit. (I will spend 3 days traveling due to time zone change and the [...]

The phone rang. At this hour I knew it has got to be from my mother. What does she want this time? Is always my first thought. Then I feel guilty about it. More often than not, however, I get to stop feeling guilty because she is calling to add to my shopping list called [...]

Where I’m From

I am from sunshine, sweat, and bricks of humid air. I am from have you eaten yet. I am from rice, salted fish, stir-fried greens, from soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, from ginger, star anise, and cayenne peppers. I am from concrete jungle, clothes lines stretched-across the rooftops, the smell of sun in the fabrics, [...]

  Sometimes, for no reason at all, I would get a severe attack of homesickness. Without any provocation, my heart would ache and I would get a sensation of emptiness and at the same time heaviness inside my stomach. I recognize that feeling well. It is an intense loneliness that comes from a herd animal [...]

Leaving

    I started getting it, bit by bit, that the thing between parents and children, the thing that ties you together is that all your life, you are forever watching them walking away. [The inadequate, rough translation mine] I read this in a book by Lung Ying-tai, a renowned cultural critic in Taiwan, on [...]

I sometimes feel very sorry for my children: because how I am caught between two worlds, they too are caught between two worlds. Many of you have commented on my responses to the Tiger Mom Controversy with great insight, grace and kindness. One comment that made me pause and reflect upon the factual state of [...]

I am sitting in the United Airlines lounge, home for the famous automatic beer pouring machine, (not quite) halfway back to Chicago, but already I stop talking to people in Chinese, and I am transitioning to my American self again. (My apology for falsely reinforcing the dichotomy of East vs. West. This is strictly personal: [...]

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