Nǐ chī le ma?” Have you eaten lunch?”

It was the kid’s version of a drug pat down at an international airport. “Do you mind opening up your milk carton?” The command came from Miss Kindermen, my second-grade teacher, her hair spun into a black beehive while my eyes were mesmerized by her psychedelic dress. She looked like she belonged on Laugh-In, not a classroom. Her blue-shadowed eyes […]

Born to be like ginger

In America today, I officially turn into human wallpaper. It’s my birthday, or 生日快乐 shēng rì kuài lè, in Chinese. But no Barbie dolls or pin the tail on the donkey games this year. I turned sixty. The big Six-O. In dog years, I’d be dead. In America, childhoods that pre-date Google means you have become as desirable as panty […]

You Care Too Much

The three words silenced my room: “What the hell?” They weren’t from a junior high student, because the utterance would have been in Chinese. The slip of the tongue was from a second grader. From the same kid who doesn’t know his sight words. I looked at a coworker, who heard it too. While I was thinking about school policies […]