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, of gardenias, jasmines and sweet osmanthus.
I am from morning glories winding along random barbed wires, coconut trees lining the streets crowded with motorcyles, from white azaleas strewn on the ground after thunderstorms like discarded Kleenexes.
I am from greetings, and salutations, from strangers in the streets who are also uncles and aunts and brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews and grandmas and grandpas.
I am from blood is thicker than water, from you don’t turn your back to your family, from families stick together.
I am from proper, ladylike, and demure. From handkerchiefs and silk scarves and pocketbooks. From you should always make sure your hand is not empty and idle. From knees together, ankles crossed.
I am from politeness, decorum, and unwritten rules that everybody abides by.
I am from hospitality, from it takes a village, from gossips and busybodies.
I am from if you swallow the watermelon seeds it will sprout from the top of your head, from don’t point your finger at the new moon otherwise she will come and cut off your ear when you are sleeping at night. From if you cry or misbehave, Auntie Tiger will come and eat you up.
I am from humility, gratitude and contentment.
I am from nobody owes you anything, from be grateful even if someone gives you a mere roll of toilet paper, from nothing you get is because you deserve it.
I am from temples, incenses, and gods and deities.
I am from reincarnation, from Karma, from eighteen layers of hell.
I am from lurid ghost stories of vengeance, from spirits within magnificent rocks and towering trees.
I am from convention, contradiction, and confusion. I am from Post-Colonialism, Late Capitalism, and Rampant Materialism.
I am from the proletariat.
I am from the hushed wrath of my father, the quiet disappointment of my mother.
I am from a bottle of Aspirins.
I am from the deafening silence of a mid-summer afternoon when the only thing you could hear was the cicadas.
Many thanks to Elly over at BugginWord for writing her beautiful piece “Where I’m From” and for alerting us to this wonderful writing exercise. Of course, I did not follow the rules in the template, not because I am some rebel chick but because I am not good at writing descriptive scenes.