The Pain of Losing Your First Language
What else did I lose to assimilate?
Nei hou?Ngo gong siu siu gongdongwa
Why do I have to be so Chinese?
How old are you now?
What if we’d never stopped talking? Who would I have been? What would we have shared? What stories could she have told me?
HaSounds like something my grandma would have said.
Can anyone else hear this?
Maybe I can learn it again
laalaaauhuh What are you doing?
What are you doing?
Kristin Wong is a freelance writer and journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, ELLE, Travel + Leisure, and The Cut among other publications. She frequently writes about behavior and identity and is also a staff writer and researcher at Hidden Brain Media, where she contributes to the Hidden Brain podcast and radio show.
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In her illness, Korean food was all my Polish-American mom from Jersey wanted to eat. It was all that she could bear.