I almost forgot it is Thanksgiving Day back in the States. You know how I feel about Thanksgiving? I think every friggin’ day should be Thanksgiving, like how my mom says every day should be mothers day. I was not going to make a list of stuff I am thankful for in protest–but I will, anyway, because it’s fun. Here’s a few of the things that make me happy everyday.
1) I am thankful that I have good Asian genes and will continue to look the way I look right now until I am well into my forties. Then I will get plastic surgery, and continue to look 26 until my early sixties, at which point I will age gracefully. Also, I am thankful that I have not gained any weight since college. Granted, I’m not as skinny as I was at my skinniest in college, but that’s because I was depressed and not eating. Sure, I’d never looked hotter, but, you know, every time I rip off great big pieces of fried dough and push them into my mouth with my index finger, shovel dumplings with chili sauce into my gaping maw or tilt giant bowls of shaved ice topped with sweetened condensed milk and fragrant green beans down my throat, I think about how grateful I am to have a healthy appetite in the very best country for snackfiends.
2) I am thankful that I have parents and a fiance who can tolerate my increasingly offensive sense of humor and my increasingly complicated and codependent relationship with my Blythe dolls.
3) I am very happy that Ron and I got such a good deal on our apartment. Granted, we seem have a constant fur and dander problem despite not owning any pets and the previous tenants’ hobbies seemed to have included flinging food at the walls, rubbing dirt into the floor and slamming holes into the walls, but it’s roomy, especially compared to my NYC place and located within twenty minutes walking distance of at least three yarn stores. Whoopee!
4) I am very lucky to have a scholarship that allows me to study Mandarin full-time at one of the top institutions for learning the language in, I daresay, the known world. I still can’t figure out why the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York gave it to me, but who am I to question their judgment? Being fluent in Mandarin will be an enormous plus for my journalism career, and it will also open up a whole new world of trashy gossip magazines for me.
5) I am grateful that my Mandarin skills were so crappy to begin with that my parents (and indeed all my relatives) coo in pleasure and beam with pride when I say “ni hao” or pick out two or three items on a menu all by myself.
6) I am thankful to be a second-generation Asian-American. Sure, being part of a racial minority has its pitfalls, but if it weren’t for bigoted people filling up the bottom end of the intelligence bell curve, I wouldn’t be considered above-average, intelligence-wise. And if I hadn’t gotten into my elementary school’s gifted and talented program, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to play with my school district’s first laser disc player. Fun! That, and it’s nice to have two whole cultures to mess around in. Life is never boring.
7) I am grateful I have such an awesome class my first quarter, and that my teacher and classmates made learning Mandarin fun. I was afraid the classes would be boring, depressing and drearily irrelevant to daily life in the same way all my previous language learning experiences were, but that hasn’t been the case. The class isn’t easy, but it is a blast.
8) I am glad someone always uploads each episode of America’s Next Top Model onto YouTube.
9) And, last but not least or finally, I am happy that everyday for the last three months, I’ve been able to wake up to the realization that I am in Taipei, reunited with my Ron after 18 months apart, regaining fluency in a language that I have always felt was integral to my identity and discovering all sorts of fascinating things about my family and cultural heritage. I am aware that not everyone has this kind of opportunity. Though studying Mandarin is difficult and it’s scary not working, everyday feels like a permanent vacation.