This weekend I helped with a class of second graders at a retreat for Chinese Americans. The parents attended conferences, and I was part of the child care hooplah. It was a fun-focused type thing for the kids, with crafts and puppet shows and snacks and recreation.
It was really great to be around people speaking *my* language again, even though no one spoke Chinese to ME, personally, because they thought I was an American White Girl, which, technically, I am. I did speak a little with the kids when they asked me if I knew any Chinese.
I was surprised and saddened that the American Chinese children were far less easy to impress than were my Chinese students in Beijing. The kids this weekend flew through all of the crafts (and they did a really crappy job at that!) and whined about everything.
"I don't want to do this, I don't want this blah blah blah"
My students in China were happy to spend 25 minutes on coloring a picture, and they really would put effort into it to make it look good. The kids this weekend didn't know how good they had it. We were doing cool crafts, too! We had beads and rhinestones! Rhinestones, I tell you!
This one little girl walked in the room, and the other teacher said, "Where did you come from?" (they were from all over the South East).
The little girl said, in a COUNTRY accent, "China."
"You drove here from China this morning?"
"No, I'm from Georgia."
"Where did you live in China?"
"I don't know."
I have the suspicion she had never been to The Motherland.
I don't go around telling people I am from Ireland or Ukraine, just because that is my heritage. What gives?