Su Jia Tun

Su Jia Tun
Su Jia Tun

Monday, February 14, 2011

And everthing I see becomes Shenyang to me!

Ok so those of you who were around for Tootsie Rolls iconic song know what I mean and those of you who weren't, are just too young. Kidding of course, although when someone I work with says they were born the year I graduated from high school it does freak me out a little. I then remember that they are probably just really young. Don't enlightened me, when I am older and don't do the math the thought that they are just really young will still make me feel better.
This month I have ridden the bus with Chinese people, chatted with my friends at the Chinese grocery store, chatted with friends at the Chinese newsagents, gone to a Chinese New's Year's party at my fellowship and held a Chinese New Year's housewarming.Best of all my kids thought ravoli was Jiao Zi, and I have wanted to cry for missing a place and laugh at the silliness all at the same time.
I would speak Chinese all the time now if you let me now. I was watching a TV show last night where they were interviewing a Chinese lady and I translated, so did Darren, and realized the translater wasn't doing that great of a job.
I even watched the Chinese news on SBS, it was from CCTV 4, one day while Ethan was home sick!
When someone asked about all the Chinese decorations in our house and whether they were for Chinese New Year or for all the time I said, " The decorations made things feel more like home."
It was only later I realized how confused I really am when I use the word home to describe China. What word would I use to decribe the U.S. for heaven's sake? What word do I use to describe Australia?
If, " Where are you from?", was a confusing word before it has taken on all new epic proportions of crazy confusion now. I honestly just don't know the answer.
Would you like to know Where I was born?, or Where I grew up?, or Where my parents live?, or Where I was before I moved to Australia?, or Why I have an accent?, or Which place I have spent a third of my life in? or Which school the kids were in before they were in this school?.
Please pick one and then I will answer accordingly, otherwise this conversation could take awhile and I am just not sure even I have the patience it would take to explain, " Where I Am From".
If it's hard for me I shudder to think what the kid's will be like when asked that question. We used to coach them that they were from America and Australia but now that's just not relavent. We have to add that their birthplace was Shenyang or that before they were here they went to a school they loved called Shenyang International School and in that school were so many different nationalities that are all a part of their current cultural make up.
Is it easier to put on the persona of the place that people will be most comfortable with?
I think we all do that. I am wife to all my husband's friends' wives, or someone who worked overseas, or an miss. ( look out for the m word there, loaded word if ever there was one) to those who understand that best, or former teacher, or mother, or...
And maybe it's easiest, but it certainly doesn't really make up all of who I am. It doesn't explain why, for the moment, I am more comfortable in Chinese than English sometimes. Why I enjoy southern iced tea and fried jiao zi at the same time and would like Tim Tams for dessert please. This, by the way, being my idea of what food in heaven will be like. Hopefully we eat cause the southern American, and Chinese person inside me is just absolutely in love with all the possibilities of food in heaven.
Please excuse the irreverence.
Anyway I haven't worked out this transistion thing yet. The books are right but experiance puts the heart into the knowledge. I will let you know when I have it all figured out. Don't hold your breath.


  1. Can feel your pain! Expats only makes sense to other expats. =)

  2. Too true! Spent time with other expats recently and it was awesome!