My mother has a fondness for pictures because she has so few from that time. She treats hers like a treasure chest, maybe because it is. My parents both grew up in the Cultural Revolution. They met at Huaxi Medical School, but their school was delayed by one year because there were still at collective farms. My mother’s parents were professors and had to constantly move around, so much so that my mother is unsure of where she was born. My parents still had promising lives in China. In the picture of my parents in front of the fountain, the building behind them is where my mom was Head Director of OBGYN. My father was a professor and doctor at the building by the lotus. My brother was born in 1990 in Chengdu. Before they emigrated, he had never thought that a life outside of there was possible. They moved to escape the medical system, but had they stayed they would have been much wealthier and led better lives. I imagine my life if they had stayed, because I would not have a life. The one child law would have prevented my birth, which anyways was the result of my parents’ fear of losing my brother after the first school shooting in America. My connection to China is stronger than most of my first generation friends but I know I am different. I am the only member of my family not to be born in China. I do not speak their dialect. I will never be one of them.
– Dawn Zeng