Lunch was probably my least favorite part of elementary school. Now don’t get me wrong, I wanted a break from school as much as everyone else. When asked what my favorite class in school was, I would always cheekily respond with “Recess.” Yet, without fail, five minutes before the bell would signal the end of fourth period, a knot in my stomach would begin to form. During school, I felt like all my other classmates. We all took the same classes, we all struggled over the same homework, and we all played the same games.

ON MY MIND | Loving Asian Parents

Put a group of second-generation Asian Americans together in one room. Get them to open up about their childhoods, to describe what it was like growing up in their household, what their parents were like. I guarantee with 95% certainty that, at some point in the conversation, someone will probably say something along the lines of:

“You know, it was always, ‘Keep your head down,’ or, ‘Don’t rock the boat.’ You know, stuff like that.”

And in case you were wondering, here are some typical refrains from my childhood, too:

“I don’t care if all your friends are going. You have 사모님 on Friday. You know that.” [사모님: Korean title for a married woman – a.k.a. my piano teacher]