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Written by on February 7, 2014

Possibility. Imagination. Conversations to remember. A Future for all of us.

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Imagination has no limits today. I love that about Halloween. Education has no barriers today either. I love that about the Natural History Museum. (Whenever we talk about Chicago, eight-year-old Little Brother has only one word, “Sue.”) Even now, three weeks later, the memories of this day and the imagination it inspires insulate me from the hateful racist and sexist rhetoric churning outside my door.

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Written by on November 29, 2012

Making Teriyaki Sauce for Thanksgiving Eve

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Of course, Thanksgiving (Eve or otherwise) is not really about the food. As I told the children in my most recent presentation on Asian harvest festivals, it really is about the people—all the family and friends we call home. And in this, all of our different cultures really are more alike than not.

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Written by on November 22, 2012

This Halloween: Dress classy. Dance cheesy. We’re a Culture, not a Costume.

This Halloween: Dress classy. Dance cheesy. We're a Culture, not a Costume. Comments Off on This Halloween: Dress classy. Dance cheesy. We’re a Culture, not a Costume.

As Halloween nears, whenever I teach late, I come home to find a different cast of characters galloping triumphant through my house, including Howl’s Moving Castle, pirate vs. ninja, kung fu masters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Steampunk, Goth Lolis, and more. A raucous combination of cosplay and Halloween, the spirit is festive, the creativity fun, the details impressive. Last week, even my old prom and wedding dresses were both trotted out and Steampunked. “Don’t you kids have homework to do?” And the background music in our house these past few weeks has been Psy’s “Gangnam Style” with its driving beat and in all its many variations.

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Written by on October 25, 2012

Mooncakes and Yo-Yos

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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.

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Written by on September 27, 2012

Rhythms of the Season

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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!”

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Written by on September 13, 2012

Culture on the Volcano

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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.

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Written by on July 26, 2012

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