December 31, 2019
Although a half-Chinese, half-Jewish student at Groton, Hong Kong is my home. Since my parents come from different backgrounds, we celebrate both American and Chinese holidays every year. Thanksgiving is particularly important to us as I no longer get to see my parents very often. It’s one of the only times during the school year where my entire family is together. Since my brother and I are both on a different continent from our parents, it’s very difficult for us to ever have any family time.
As a family, we don’t have many traditions, but I cherish the few that we have. Unlike the traditional American family, neither of my parents know how to cook, so we always have to buy a turkey every thanksgiving. Moreover, we don’t only do the traditional turkey, gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce dinner. Instead, we have a blend of cuisine on the table. We set the table with all the standard American Thanksgiving foods, wonton soup, scallion pancakes, 小笼包, and many other Chinese dishes. Oddly enough, every year we have a mixture of beverages on the table. My mother and I drink hot jasmine tea while my brother and my father drink eggnog. Furthermore, we set the tables with both chopsticks and standard American cutlery.
Both Chinese and English are used at the same time. I like to call what we use to communicate as “Chinglish.” It’s a blend of both languages that I think works extremely well. Basically, every other word in a sentence should be from the opposite language. I don’t think we intentionally speak it, but it’s just natural to us.
I find this event very comforting to me because this is what makes me who I am. After all, I am a so-called “Halfie.” I never realized what I grew up with was different from the rest of the world until I came to the US. I thought what my family had was the traditional thanksgiving dinner. It may not be traditional to everyone else, but it will always be traditional to me.