When I try to explain where I’m from people imagine…

The jump-off line is from In Your Next Letter by Carrie Shipers. 

When I try to explain where I’m from people imagine shopping and food. I interrupt with tall buildings, noise and the stink of markets. Here, most of the food are frozen so they don’t stink as bad. But in a market where you can buy live chicken, fish, prawns etc., there is always wetness on the ground that you want to avoid stepping in and you want to be able to shut your nostrils like a camel. Even the vegetable stalls can smell unsavory. 

When I try to explain where I’m from people won’t fathom how many subjects we had in primary school and that we had school on every alternate Saturdays, known as the long-short weeks. The long weeks were where you had school on a Saturday and the short ones you had to yourself. 

When I try to explain where I’m from I can tell them about food hawkers though in truth I never frequented them. I don’t like the concept of eating on the street as I walk, except for ice-cream. I saw the hawkers as safety hazards mostly as they pushed their carts on the street to evade being caught by authorities for selling without a license. Not that I’ve ever encountered that personally. Or maybe once or twice but not en masse like on TV. 

When I try to explain where I’m from my memory is fading. What else could I say? We had yumcha which is a Cantonese thing. Now it’s everywhere but the fact is some families make it a weekly thing there. Some even have it as a daily routine, alone. 

Published by moonlakeku

intermediate Chinese fantasy writer working on her debut series

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