I apologize for my rudeness; I should have introduced you sooner. Please, avid readers, meet my mom, dad, and two sisters, Diana and Elizabeth.
I call my dad “Papa,” and my mom “Mama.” My parents run the clinic that I was working at over the summer. My classy mother is an ex-attorney turned office manager and a hard bargainer who will stop at nothing to get the price she wants. I look up to my father, because he embodies the American Dream – he is a self-made man who immigrated to the US when he was 10 and became a doctor. He finds no shame in shaving his face in public using his iPad as a mirror. My older sister is the one in the lovely purple – she is our Chinese tour guide extraordinaire. She has been taking Chinese for 6 years now and is just completing her masters from National Taiwan University. Diana dyed her hair for Burning Man, but plans on letting it grow out. Let me introduce you to my younger fashionable sister in the blue, Elizabeth. She has had blue hair for a year and three months. One of the first times I saw her with the new do was when she came to San Francisco to visit me for Love Evolution (Love Fest), a crazy 12 hour rave style dance party in front of City Hall. People were so excited about her sense of fashion; they came from all over and ask if they could take pictures with her.
I am proud to come from a strange family, where pet chickens in suburbia and tying your children on roller blades to the back of the minivan to teach them how to water ski is perfectly acceptable. We are on the loud side, but wouldn’t you if you had an amazing story to tell? I am not sure how many complete strangers and family friends have jokingly asked me, “What’s wrong with you?” At first I was completely confused and wondered if my shirt was on inside out. Turns out they were wondering why my hair is not some flamboyant color. I just tell them that I wanted to look different!
Upon arrival to Beijing I notice the stares we get from the sea of black-haired people. We walk down the mega shopping center and the sales-girls claw at the colored strands of my sisters’ hair in sheer amazement; a traffic officer makes small talk, laughs and asks me to take pictures of him with Elizabeth. In general people just love seeing something completely different. I really thought there was a larger subculture here; after all, I thought colorful hair and trendy clothes were just…Asian. Turns out, I spent too much time in my home town of Rowland Heights; I was thinking Taiwanese, not Chinese. I guess now I will have a better shot at http://alllooksame.com/.
I love my family for having the courage to stand up and just be different.