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Amy was Citizen of the Week in her class this week. Today, Friday, the last day of her week, I get to go to her class and share about our culture.

I shared about the uniqueness of being ethnic Chinese growing up in America. We as Chinese-Americans can choose the best of both worlds of being Chinese and being American.

We don’t bother keeping all the Chinese festivals, but we choose the ones we like to celebrate. Chinese New Year is one we like, because we get “red envelops” with money in it from our elders!

We still eat rice almost every night because we like it, but we also like dishes made with cheese, and cheese is one of the few things the Chinese did not discover and never appears on the Chinese menu.

Chinese families pass on Buddhism and ancestral worship. As Chinese Americans, we have greater opportunities in America to hear and freedom to receive the good news of Jesus Christ. We are happy to be Christians and not live in ignorance of superstitions.

I told Amy’s class I brought Chinese chicken salad for them to sample. This dish represents our culture because it is a Chinese American recipe. Traditional Chinese food do not include any kind of lettuce salad; Chinese hardly eat any raw vegetables. But Americans took the sweet & sour taste of the chinese sauce, made it into a dressing, and mixed it with lettuce, almonds, green onion, shredded chicken, and cilantro. The salad is topped with fried chow mein noodles, and mandarin oranges. A few of the ingredients in there gave the chicken salad a Chinese look and flavor to it.

As I thought about what to say to Amy’s class about Chinese American culture, I realized I am still working out the meaning of being Chinese in American. For most of my life, growing up as a minority in a white community, I did my best to stay away from any identification to being Chinese. Now that a few more Chinese are in my neighborhood, (more like 95% Chinese in Walnut, CA!) I am finally accepting the fact that I am ethnic Chinese.

But I cannot be Chinese; I am Chinese American.

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