Bowl + Spoon + Chopsticks

Bowl, spoon, and chopsticks
Bowl, spoon, and chopsticks

No home of mine is complete without a bowl, a spoon, and chopsticks. I spent my childhood and a total of 23 years in Hong Kong and China, during which I was immersed in Chinese culture, language, food, and customs. Expectedly, fixtures of my time there seeped into my subconscious and claimed associations with home – something I didn’t fully realize until I moved to the U.S. for grad school. Coming here, I was challenged not only to accept my new surroundings, but also new ways of thinking, being, and acting. Inherent in this challenge was the unspoken assertion that if I didn’t exhibit a certain degree of conformity, stability and success would elude me. Over the years, navigating the U.S. while also honoring my background has been a constant balancing act, especially as someone who is not ethnically Chinese. At this point, my life is rather void of visible connections to my Chinese upbringing. Instead, connections emerge in the forms of fleeting familiarity and nostalgia – when I connect with someone in Mandarin, when I see couplets hung outside of a home, when I catch a whiff of sweet-smelling bakeries selling hot dog buns and egg tarts. And when I use my bowl, spoon, and chopsticks. 

Place(s): China, United States
Year: 2015

– May

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child