Relationship: Child of im/migrant

There was not a single day in my house when the tea strainer was not either steaming from the boiling water or being washed in preparations for the incoming tea. For decades, my parents have been drinking tea. Being born in a wealthier family, my mom indulged on higher end tea, while my dad, on the opposite spectrum, drank water enhanced with dull tea leaves. If it was anything that they brought over from China, it was the culture of tea making. As if it was genetically built into her, my mom would make tea whenever possible, suggesting its herbal and possible hidden medical abilities. One day, she decided to teach me to brew my own cup. With each cup that I made, my hands felt the effect of the scalding heat of the boiling water, and the patience of pouring each small drop into a cup. With tea siphoning through the small holed exit covered with tea leaves, the process took up nothing but time and patience. Without a doubt, the tea not only served as a symbol of her tradition, it served as a reminder that my parents, both my mom and dad, had to suffer to get to where they are today. The heat represents the struggles it took for them two to get to the United States, the pressure of learning a whole new language, and the difficulty of meeting both their own and their families’ expectations. The tea-making process may be simple, but sometimes the simplest tasks may be the hardest.

Place(s): China
Year: 1988

– Timothy Jin

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