Sharing Is Caring

Growing up, trophies for places other than first and ribbons for participation were acknowledged but otherwise overlooked. When my sports team earned a 3rd place trophy, the only reason it was kept was because the cost of the thing was built into the enrollment fee. When I received a finisher’s ribbon for completing a 50-yard race of butterfly, it meant only two things –

  1. My arms and legs were working fine as my pediatrician predicted, and
  2. I was not fat, as my pediatrician was concerned about.

Being successful in such endeavors had several benefits –

  • Fulfilling expectations for personal enrichment and growth,
  • Assuring that my parents’ time and money were not completely wasted, and
  • Making my parents look at least okay when comparing their kids with their friends’

Recently, however, Mama Kim has started to become more involved in the B+ kind of moments in my and my siblings’ lives. It used to be about informing the parentals about just the topic sentence, but for once we were starting to be asked about the filler “fluff.” This sudden 100-degree change (let’s be realistic – it wasn’t like the three of us were screwing up so much we needed all 180) had us slightly alarmed, but we attributed it to the fact that we had all flown the coop in a short period of time and she was making an effort to keep us close.

My mom (to my sister): Hi! How has your vacation in Australia been?
My sister: Pretty good. We’re leaving Sydney early to go to the Maldives.
My mom: Oh, really? How come? What time did you wake up? When is your flight? How are you getting to the airport? Do you have a hotel booked in the Maldives already since you’re getting there early? What is Sydney like? Is it a direct flight? Will there be a meal served on the flight? What is the food like in Australia? Did you only eat Western food? What language is spoken in the Maldives?
My sister: We are leaving in 15 minutes. I have to go now, bye!

Keeping open the lines of communication

Keeping open the lines of communication

As I consoled my mother and tried to convince her that my sister had been in a rush and wasn’t ignoring her, I tried to empathize and asked her if maybe playing 20 Questions was not the most effective form of communication.

“We are family! Family is supposed to share all of the details in each other’s lives, even if it is not important! Just think, if we only talked about the important events in our lives, your brother would never have anything to say to us!!!

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Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

I’m not sure exactly how or when, but one day I woke up to find I had reached my 20s and all of a sudden, I was supposed to be flushing out toxins with juice cleanses, finding my alleged “inner zen” in yoga classes, and sipping latte art I really couldn’t afford. Not too long after, some former queen bee Instagrammed a selfie while hiking, and suddenly everyone had to wear Lululemon all the time, all over the place. Since I couldn’t afford the latte art to begin with though, I just bought whatever ass-kissing replica of a capri pant Target produced.

To be honest however, I’ve been enjoying the hiking part of being in one’s twenties. It was refreshing to disconnect from my phone and appreciate the nature I normally couldn’t find living in suburbia. Before I knew it, my mother was hopping on the hiking bandwagon as well and transformed into a trail enthusiast, inviting girlfriends to visit us in Las Vegas so she could introduce them to the free and sober side of Sin City no tourist would have ever expected to find.

Our inaugural guest was one of my mother’s best friends of almost 30 years, and one of the more athletically-inclined. We decided to take a field trip about an hour away to Valley of Fire one morning, and wow. Toto, we certainly weren’t in Kansas anymore. And so the three of us roamed the state park, the only Asians not having to stop every 17 steps to document our adventures with an obnoxious iPad.

Fuego!

Fuego!

While making our way through the trails, my mother commented,

“Imagine how fun it would be to rock climb across these canyons!”

And in true best friend fashion, her gal pal responded without even missing a beat,

“The only thing better than rock climbing across these canyons is if you were to Wuxia kung fu across.”

Ain't nothin' like a kung fu thang

Kung fu – improving hikes one trail at a time

Give Them the Finger

My mother is not a woman of staunch religious conviction, but if there is anything she does believe in, it’s that professional medical assessments are a last resort and are to be relied upon only when all other options have  been exhausted. We Kims avoid hospitals like the plague (no health-related pun intended) and scorn offers for aspirin and ibuprofen. As far as my mother is concerned, there is <almost> no medical malady that cannot be healed with the power of time. And for those that truly cannot, there is eastern medicine: gut-wrenching, gag-inducing, throat-burning herbal cocktails that…oh, it looks like they do work.

So when I came home from a weekend trip in my freshman year of high school with a very badly fractured finger after a poorly-timed catch in a game of kickball, my mother’s personal evaluation was that as I was still able to continue walking, eating, breathing, and sleeping, a visit to a doctor would not be necessary.

Several weeks later, the pain had subsided, but my finger remained deformed as a result of the injury. Mama Kim sighed as she reluctantly lugged me to the family doctor, who sternly advised that the only way to return my finger to the way God intended was by re-breaking it.

“Oh, no, sir. That is not happening. This fracture was on my right hand and I write with my right hand. If I have to wear a brace on my finger I won’t be able to hold up a pen. And if I can’t hold up a pen, I won’t be able to keep up with any of my schoolwork. And if I can’t keep up with any of my schoolwork, then my grades will slip. And if my grades slip, I won’t be able to get into a decent university. And if I can’t get into a decent university, I won’t be able to get a good job. And if I don’t get a good job, I won’t be able to pay my bills. And if I can’t pay my bills, I will die. Do you see why I cannot afford to have my finger re-broken?”

I usually just tell people I'm distinctly double-jointed in my middle finger

I usually just tell people I’m distinctly double-jointed in my middle finger as a result of right-clicking too much with my mouse. I know, it looks STUPID.

For a while, I harbored anger at how there was no sense of urgency in responding to my finger injury, though now it no longer bothers me and I don’t even notice it unless somebody else does. The first time I brought it up to my mother, however, she did apologize briefly and made an effort to cheer me up as she chirped,

“Look at it this way. At least your future boyfriend will propose on the left hand, and not the right!”

Well I GUESS.

Hair Tutorial 101

People describe my sister Jamie as “a girlie girl” the same way as they would say, “Honey Boo Boo embodies elegance,” or “I enjoy the music of Nickelback.” She has only recently acknowledged the difference between pencil and liquid eyeliner, regularly gets manicures about once every never, and her idea of dressing up is by not wearing a hoodie. My mother frequently laments my sister’s refusal to partake in any type of retail therapy but has slowly come to terms with it.

My mom: When we need to buy clothes for Jamie, she goes to the store with us and waits around while the rest of us – her servants – pick out things we think would look nice on her. All she wants to do is leave!

As the least qualified person to commentate on personal appearances, my sister felt it was necessary to make known her opinion of my mother’s.

My sister: Now, Mom. I realize it is extremely hypocritical of me to be saying any of this, but don’t you think you’ve had the same hairstyle for long enough? Have you ever thought about, you know – changing things up?
My mom: I don’t want to grow my hair out long. And what do you know about hair, anyway? At least your sister knows how to style hers, but what can you do?

This would probably be the zenith of my sister's style

Look at that hair, getting all crazy

My sister: Wrong! I can style my hair seven different ways. I know how to

  • Put it in a ponytail,
  • Put it in a military bun,
  • Put it in a messy bun,
  • Blowdry it,
  • Straighten it –

Me: Wait. You know how to straighten your already straight hair?
My sister: Yes. I can also

  • Brush it, and
  • Not brush it.

DIY SportsCenter

Dinner one evening in 2010 was like any other, with everyone around the table discussing what was likely to have just been school and work. The conversation came to a sudden halt when my mother mentioned slickly to us between bites that Tim Tebow had been selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Four pairs of eyes suddenly honed in on her to an orchestra of dropped jaws and fallen chopsticks.

Everyone else: WHAT!?
My mom: You know, Tim Tebow! He got drafted in the first round by the Broncos! I’ve been watching the NFL draft on TV the last few days.

"Thank you Jesus for extending my fandom into the Asian female 45-54 demographic"

“Thank you Jesus for extending my fandom into the Asian female 45-54 demographic”

Oh, was that what she’d been up to recently? And just like that the Kims discovered our matriarch’s newfound hobbies.

Fast forward several years to 2013, when the San Francisco 49ers were facing the Green Bay Packers in the NFC divisional playoff game. As we watched Colin Kaepernick zip around the field, my father turned to my mother, the established household authority on all things NFL, to get some background information on #7.

My dad: Hey Mom, do you know where that #7 quarterback went to school?
My aunt: Oh, please! This is football, how would she know something like that?

Ooh, wrong move. The rest of us watched with wry smiles as my mother turned into a public service announcement, educating her sister about what was actually a tremendous personal interest in televised sports. Of course she rehashed the tale of Tim Tebow’s 2010 draft, and further lamented about the recent end of a year-long free subscription to “Sports Illustrated” and informed us she wanted to renew.

My dad: So…where did the guy go to college?
My mom: Oh, I have no idea.

Back Up Plans

My dad prides himself on being the King of Practicality. Even so, he occasionally lets his imagination get the better of him.

Dad: “Just think, maybe one day your brother will become a famous entertainer, your sister will be one of the highest-ranked female officers in the Coast Guard, and you will be the president of Bellagio.”
Me: “See? Aren’t you glad we didn’t go to Harvard? We couldn’t become any of the above if we had.”
Dad: “Oh please. If you guys had gone to Harvard, you’d be professional basketball players by now. It would still be a win for everyone.”
Me: “I think you mean, it would be a ‘Lin.'”

Not Another Post About Jeremy Lin

Yes, we know – Jeremy Lin has become a Lincredible success story. We’re all very proud of him and the fact that the community now recognizes our demographic can excel in extracurriculars besides Mathletes and the state honor orchestra.

Lindescribable

All of a sudden people are actually caring about the New York Knicks and his jersey is selling faster than Kim Kardashian can say “divorce.” I’m not going to lie – I may or may not be a recent convert to the Holy Church of Jeremy Lin too. I just feel like the rest of the congregation might be missing the bigger picture here. Instead of commentating – yet again – about the Harvard grad’s Cinderella story, we should be focusing on the real issue at hand.

Me: “Are we related to Jeremy Lin?”
Mom: “Hahaha…I saw the last 15 minutes of the [Lakers vs. Knicks] game…so proud of him. Funny thing is I just knew him first time from a segment of a Chinese TV interview…”
Me: “You are not answering the question. You’re a Lin. He’s a Lin. Is he my cousin!?”
Mom: “Let’s make him one!”

Folks, there you have it – I’m related to the biggest thing to happen to the NBA since sliced Tebow.

To further demonstrate our family’s support for our newfound relative, my mother issued a family-wide email several days later:

“Hi everybody,

To make everybody’s life easier, I have added Kicks games schedule to my calendar…..thank me!!”

Kicks, Knicks. Same thing.