Tag Archives: Chinese American

OPINION: Searching for Kinship in Psychotherapy

by Angelina Li 李羽茜


I first entered psychotherapy as an undergraduate business student. I didn’t know what was wrong, just that I felt terrible, lonely, lost. I deeply craved connection with other people, yet, despite my ongoing efforts, felt so alienated and like I didn’t fit in. I tried psychotherapy on a whim by enrolling in a research study through my school’s psychology department. 

The study aimed to teach the participants acceptance/mindfulness-based techniques to manage anxiety symptoms. It seemed like a good place to start for me, someone who was a beginner to therapy and had limited financial resources. It was the first time I had experienced being with someone whose primary role was to listen, and it taught me techniques I still use today. Once that study concluded, I was referred to my current therapist who I’ve been seeing for five years. She has become a very important person in my life. 

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Hungry

by Andy Panda


This comic is a story of common miscommunication between my grandmother, who didn’t speak much English, and young me, who didn’t (doesn’t) speak much Chinese. The dialogue is in both Chinese and English to emphasize the miscommunication, but includes enough of each so you, the reader, can understand what is going on. In the end, food becomes the ultimate communicator. Growing up with an immigrant grandmother, when neither of you spoke the same language, was sometimes difficult. My grandmother and I shared a room (that’s a whole other comic) and she babysat me often, yet we could barely communicate. Like many immigrant families, we had to just make it work. This is a story about one of the times we just made it work. Thanks to PARISOL for translation help and to Bill Cheung for the pun idea.

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Dumpling-Making Kin

by Ching-In Chen


I grew up making dumplings with my family — my mother preparing pork, shrimp, tofu, egg, and spinach, all seasoned by soy sauce and sugar, and enlisting my little brother and I to help wrap while my father was stationed by the stove as “the boiler,” watching to make sure the pot had boiled three times. 

As a very anxious and socially awkward young person, I often felt like I didn’t belong anywhere — not in school and not in my family. Concentrating on pressing the dumpling skin together over the filling, I got to a humming place where my body and mind worked in concert with each other, each finger moving surely into the next motion.

As a young adult living far from biological family, the thing I missed the most was the family tradition of making food together. I experimented with creating my own traditions for birthdays and other holidays with makeshift kin. I started to host an annual dumpling-making party around my birthday, close to the Lunar New Year. A way to take stock of the community I had gathered or maintained over the past year. An invitation to build in the new year by inviting newer friends to make food with me.

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Year of the Ox

by Jiéyì 杰意 Ludden


新年快乐 Xīnnián kuàilè!

I was born in 1991 on the first day of Lunar New Year in Nagoya, Japan to a Chinese mother and a white American father. My brother, my dad, and I moved to the States when I was 5 and my mom followed a couple years later. Throughout elementary school, we would go back to China to stay with my mom’s family every other summer. We’d spend the whole school break there, almost three months at a time, and come back just in time for school to start in the fall. One year in early elementary school, we landed on the first official day of school, so I started school a day late. The, at the time, 14-hour time difference meant that I was so sleepy that first day back that I fell asleep during class. I’m grateful that my teacher was understanding.

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Unforgotten Seattle: Journalist, Museum Exec, and Runner Ron Chew Finds Heroes of Seattle’s Unforgettable History Amidst Everyday People of Color

by Glenn Nelson


The whole thing just kind of snowballed on Ron Chew — the book writing and the running. One day revealed to him a rapturous synergy. He realized that the running — the moving — jarred things in his brain: memories, organization, solutions.

Down the home stretch of completing his book, Chew vowed to run 10 miles. Every morning. Every day, until his book was finished. One day he surmised that 10 miles was so close to a half marathon, he increased his mileage. And then he determined he should do them at a swifter pace.

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