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I have enjoyed the easy camaraderie found with these folks whenever we have met since then, especially Ryan Suda, who is just such good people. The conversation always flows and the ideas for collaboration come easily. He has helped so many people and organizations over the years, always with a kind heart and easy humor. I am struck by the thought that there are so many different ways of being a leader in the community, and so many ways of giving to the community, but in the end, it always comes back to good people.
We were going to have an moonlit picnic at the park — teriyaki chicken musubi, steamed little dragon buns, a thermos of hot jasmine tea, and of course, plenty of mooncakes. Thirteen-year-old Hao Hao had already written up a grocery list (which suspiciously includes “Pocky — 1,000,000 boxes”). We had four pink and green paper lanterns and candles from Vietnam, one for each of the kids. It was going to be a rare Saturday night with everyone together, just to sit and eat as a family and look at the beautiful full moon, the Harvest Moon, while composing a poem or two for the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (basically, Chinese/Vietnamese/Korean Thanksgiving or Oktoberfest … but without the beer). But then rain was forecast.
After a long trip away from home, one of the first things I always do upon our return is take all the kids to buy groceries at our favorite Chinese grocery store. I love watching them zip around, squealing as they load up our basket, “Ooooh! It’s been so long since we’ve had cong you bing!” “Xiao long bao! I want xiao long bao!” and “I haven’t seen this kind of zhu rou gan in soooooo long!”
I love writing about AAPI issues for the AAPI community because we do not have to stop and explain every last detail, but we can discuss issues at a much higher level and actually move forward. I am able to thrive within the community of AAPI writers, bloggers, activists, artists, and friends that I have found here. They are my safe place to fall. They are my wealth of resources and connections. They are the people who understand what it means to dream in html, who defend me from trolls, and who get my jokes. With this community behind me, I am able to be a much more effective writer and advocate for the wider AAPI community.
I thought I could go to services 9-10 and then cut out quickly to go to the reading from 10-11:30, but there is no escaping the Aunties at temple. The first time we ever went to this temple, they ran out after us into the parking lot and physically pulled the kids out of the car one by one, insisting we stay for lunch. Today, they take four-year-old Little Brother by the hand and lead him down to the Fellowship Hall where they load his plate full of blueberry cake, potato chips, lilikoi cookies, purple potato tempura, multi-layered jello, purple potato manju, and fresh lychee. One Auntie is concerned, “He has a cold.” I look at his face and wipe his nose, “No, that’s whipped cream.”
Sometimes I find myself categorizing our lives into “School,” “Sports,” “Music,” “Science,” “Arts,” and “Culture.” I want to make sure that we are living balanced lives, that I am exposing the children to a little of everything, so that they will grow up to be well-rounded, like the old Renaissance ideal. It is refreshing to be reminded that life is not always so easily categorized.