Joyce-Norman-350I am the 4th child of 5 and the first american born child of a chinese immigrant family. i was born in 1957 and growing up, i think back upon the need to have to balance my chinese roots with my being assimilated into an american upbringing. i was lucky to have a dad that spoke english and a mom that only spoke cantonese. one of my funniest childhood memories is my dad speaking to me in cantonese and i was answering in english.

I grew up with traditional chinese parents who kept to their own culture, but was growing up in a time when women’s liberation was occurring and the hippie generation was coming to the forefront.

As a child, every sunday we went to chinatown in manhattan, so my parents could shop and go have tea with their friends. the kids were sent to chinese sunday school and afterwards attended chinese movies. the attached picture was of myself and my younger brother, norman taking a photo at our chinese sunday school. during the weekdays, we went to the public school with jewish and italian classmates, and on weekends, we switched back to our own culture. i give thanks to attending the chinese fighting flicks because i learned that women could fight with swords too! As an adult, i try to remember and honor the chinese traditions, but also embrace the independence of being an american woman!

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