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Entries in College (1)

Friday
Mar102006

I used to be Chinese

ais.jpgI found my old college ID today. My first thought was "holy crap, I need to call the Hair Club for Men!" My second thought––was that I used to be Chinese. I’m not sure I am anymore.

My dad, George William Ford Jr.—was 100% Chinese. And despite the Western name (long story), he spoke fluent Cantonese. My mom on the other hand was Betty Crocker white. So I have a lot in common with Mr. Spock. We’re both half-breeds sporting bad haircuts. (There’s that hair thing again––calling Dr. Freud).

Growing up, there was no mistaking it. I was that one ethnic looking kid in all my class photos. I remember kids asking me things like "do you celebrate Christmas?" No, but Pearl Harbor Day is quite festive.

And when I graduated from the largest high school in Washington State, of the 400+ grads, there were only about ten of us that knew our way around a set of chopsticks. It was so bad that people on occasion mistook me for my good friend Rey. Keep in mind, I’m half-Chinese. Rey was Hawaiian/Filipino, six inches shorter, thirty pounds heavier and sported a mustache. Yup, aside from that it was like looking in a mirror.

I grew up in your typical Chinese-American home. We had decorative Buddhas all over the place, Chinese prints, Asian lamps and furniture. My dad ran a Chinese restaurant and taught martial arts on the side. If you ever go to an "authentic" Chinese restaurant, where the cashier is the only one who speaks broken "Chinglish", where little kids run around like they live there––that was me.

But now that I’m exploring adulthood I’ve realized how American I’ve become. My wife is blond (usually, shhhh, don’t tell). And except for my daughter Madi, who has Asian eyes so beautiful they could stop traffic, the rest of my family looks pretty much like their last name could be Von Yorgesbergerstein. Or simply, Ford.

With that in mind, I’m nourishing my roots through my work. You can catch a glimpse of it at Tribe’s Flashing in the Gutters.

There’s a little ditty entitled Dim Sum. Let me know what you think.