Meet Christine: I’m a Brooklynite, wife, mom to 2 boys, everyday fitness enthusiast and surfer. Love, Life, Surf explores the things in my life and that I love. It also chronicles my quest to learn to surf and the challenges of balancing work, life, fitness and family.
We step into the elevator. Jasper’s hands are clasped around my Mom’s and Everett snuggles in close to her legs.
“I’ll see you in February?” my mom says.
“And I’ll bring you a Valentine’s Day card because Valentine’s Day is in February, right?” Jasper responds
“So is Chinese New Year.”
My heart sinks as my mom recounts some of the traditions associated with Chinese New Year – mostly the one about having a big family dinner.
I’m a first generation American. My parents emigrated from Hong Kong and I grew up in a house full of the vibrant sounds of Chinese language, cooking and traditions. Those were things that I took for granted. Growing up, I always thought it was unfortunate when I met another Chinese boy or girl who didn’t know the language or who didn’t have any real ties to their cultural background. I felt like they were missing out on something – something that has enriched me and has helped to make me who I am today.
And yet, here I am watching my own kids grow farther and farther away from their Chinese heritage.
When the boys were young, I spoke Chinese with them 100% of the time. Now, I try to speak Chinese with them when I can, but it’s getting harder to communicate more complicated thoughts and feelings since my vocabulary tops off at about the level of a 3 year old. We often use holidays as a way to talk about Chinese culture, cuisine and traditions. While the boys were willing to eat a variety of Chinese food when they were younger, now, they often groan and moan about another Chinese dinner on the table. And clearly my lessons on Chinese New Year didn’t stick.
I worry about what I am able to pass on to my kids and subsequently what they will be able to pass on to their children.
How do you help to preserve your cultural heritage, tradition or language?
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