It’s Chinese New Year. What should I do?

While at Trader Joe’s this past weekend, I felt it coming…a stranger wanting to talk to me and then it happened.

Stranger: “Miss, you’re Chinese, right?”

Me: “Yes.”

Stranger: “What should I do?”

Me: “About?”

Stranger: “Well, it’s Chinese New Year right? What does the year look like for me? Can you tell me my Chinese Zodiac and what’s in store for me? Like what colors should I wear? What should I watch out for? What should I do to celebrate?”

Me: “Ground Hog. You’re a ground hog. Now go back into your little hole and wait to come back up when I say so. That will give me enough time to figure learn more about your zodiac and the year ahead. Seriously?!.”*

No. I was not getting hit on. Her kid was in the cart and this really happened. This didn’t bother me as much as comments like: “Can you tell me what my name is in Chinese?,” “How does dog taste?,” and “You’re Chinese, how come you can’t understand Korean and Japanese?”.

Yes, while I can appreciate that she seemed to be genuinely interested, I think what really frustrated me was that I was put in a position where I felt that my response would be a reflection of all Chinese people. A HUGE and unfair responsibility. While these thoughts are self-imposed, I try to tread lightly in these types of situations. Other times, I can’t help but just laugh. Have you ever been put in a similar situation? How do you respond?

Last week’s ABC’s Fresh off the Boat is refreshing, validating and speaks to me. Apparently, it’s also the first sitcom to have ever aired an episode celebrating Chinese New Year! (Way to go!!!) I hope you understand what I mean, get a good laugh, and of course…have a Happy Chinese New Year! Whatever you zodiac sign may be, whatever dishes you have, may it be shared with your family and loved ones because that’s what Chinese New Year is all about, family.

*No, I really didn’t say this. I only thought it. Instead, I went into a deeper conversation about something else (the canned Smoked Trout) and the entire conversation ended up being about her kid and nothing about Chinese New Year. Not surprising at all. 


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