Our Mahjong Table

In Fun
Relationship: Child of im/migrant
A spectacular victory
A spectacular victory

Mahjong, a tile-based game dating back to the 19th century. Young or old, blue-collar or upper class, everyone can enjoy this intellectually challenging and community-building game. Growing up in rural China, my parents didn’t have much to their name, and when they immigrated here, they could bring even less with them. But language, culture, and heritage don’t require space in a suitcase, only a commitment to sharing and passing it on. No matter how long they work during the day, they never fail to come together around the mahjong table at night to play and talk about the latest gossip. However, no matter how much I watched from the sidelines and tried to learn, I could never understand it and eventually gave up.
I can’t speak my parents’ native dialect of Fuzhounese, I’m picky and don’t like eating a lot of our cultural food, and I have in many ways become more American than Chinese. But when I actually sat down and played this game for the first time, I could see a way for me to finally embrace my roots. The conversations I have with my mom usually revolve around school, but I’ve started taking pictures of all my wins against my brother so I can show off to her the smart plays I made to get the winning set. 
This is just a start, but I hope to continue learning and appreciating more about my culture so I can make sure to pass it on to my children. That way, no matter where we are in the world, my family and I can always stay close to our roots.

Place(s): Fuzhou, China
Year: 2000

– TL

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant