Thursday, August 14, 2014

Home and Hair

When I returned home last week, it took a few days for everyone to get used to me, because I looked quite different from the last time they'd seen me. In particular, comments were made about my hair, which I'd had bleached to a sandy blond color. While I was expecting some adverse reactions, I didn't think my family's responses would make me laugh so much:

Said my grandfather, in Taiwanese, "Your hair is whiter than mine!"
Said my grandmother, "Andrew wants to look like a famous Korean singer!"
Said my mom's younger sister, "Wow, so cooool!" When she speaks in English, I can't tell if she is being sarcastic or not.
Said my 11-year-old cousin, visiting from overseas, in Chinese, "At first, I thought you were wearing a towel on your head. I thought you were grandma!"

My brother and sister-and-law and their dog are temporarily staying in the house, too, and Hoagie the 3-year-old beagle-basset hound mix wouldn't stop growling and barking at me when we met for the first time.

Said my father, "He doesn't like your hair."
Said my mother, "Why is your hair that color?"
Said my uncle, to my mother, in Chinese, "Wow, you have a 外國人 (foreigner) in your house now!"

Well, all I had to say to all of them was, essentially, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." Or, "입향순속(入鄉隨俗)."

I then went off to a family wedding in Southern California, where the rest of my extended family commented on my hair, then greeted me, then wondered if I would be mistaken for a member of my cousin's fiance's family, who are Korean. As it turns out, while I had plenty of opportunity to practice Korean with the Kim family, I stuck to my own for the evening. It was a wonderful family reunion, the first time that everyone had been together at the same time since our grandfather's funeral last September (and probably the last time for another year or longer).
All nine cousins, plus spouses, plus A-ma! Such a happy reunion! :) Congratulations to Johanna and the newest family addition, Daniel! Photo taken by Jen Lee.
Now, I'm home and apartment-hunting full-time until school begins in a week and a half. It's lovely being back in California. I get to enjoy home-cooked meals, sunny, dry weather every day (although there is a drought...), and the freedom of having no plans and no responsibilities. But it won't be long before this awesome vacation ends...

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