Magic Continues at TACL-LID Camp

It ended with a pinch, a squeeze, or even a simple hand on a shoulder. “Touch somebody who has made an impact on your life. Touch somebody who made you laugh. Touch somebody who is now your friend”. Such a simple gesture left 42 youths with a deep connection and impact after attending TACL-Leadership Identity Development (LID) Camp at UC San Diego during the month of August. It had been 10 years since I last attended LID Camp and it was now my first time serving as a camp counselor. I was…

What Would You Tell Allie, a 6 Year-Old Taiwanese American Adoptee?

Recently, Lora C., the loving mother of 6 year-old adoptee Allie C., messaged our TaiwaneseAmerican.org Facebook Page to ask for our advice about how to help her child learn about and accept her identity as a Taiwanese American. I was moved by how much Lora was willing to share with us and how she regarded us as a potential community resource, given that their family lives in the Midwest, where there are relatively fewer Asian Americans. Even though I was uncertain about how I could help, I arranged…

Loops of Yarn

by Annie Lin I didn't learn to knit from my grandmother, even though she was a knitter. She spent almost every summer in the backyard of our house in suburban Southern California, perhaps because plane tickets out of Taiwan were cheaper then or perhaps because it was a way to escape the humidity of Taipei in July. When she wasn't weeding the garden or laundering our clothes with a bar of slippery brown soap, she was sitting in a lawn chair next to a plastic bag of green or gray yarn and knitting…

The Making of the Taiwanese American Identity

Growing up in the Taiwanese American community, I learned as a child the importance of understanding how history and politics shape and define our community. We become well versed in geopolitics across the span of several centuries, including comparative cases of identity formation and nationhood. We learn the story of how groups of diverse peoples living on an island, called Ilha Formosa by Portuguese sailors on a Spanish ship, became caught between the warring visions of ambitious and powerful…

Taiwanese Oyster Omelette Reduxe

*This is a post-script to "Flipping Out: An Irreverent Photo Essay on Making the Taiwanese Oyster Omelette" (“Oh-ah-jen” 蚵仔煎) since people inquired about recipes As Mrs. Lin did not use a formal recipe (like all venerable grandmother chefs, she comes from the "a pinch of this" and "a handful of that" era), below are tried-and-true recipes from two tasty Taiwanese food sites: Taiwan Duck and its excellent step-by-step video on how to cook (and flip) the oyster omelette. Mrs. Duck—okay,…

Flipping Out: An Irreverent Photo Essay on Making the Taiwanese Oyster Omelette

Ah, "Oh-ah-jen" (蚵仔煎). Oyster omelette. Taiwan night market staple. Street food favorite—and rare find in the United States. McD's does not exactly have an Oyster McOmelette on the drive-thru menu. So, last Saturday, several of us made the pilgrimage out to Union Church in Astoria, Queens to take part in TAP-NY's "Cooking Series" (aka Cooking 101 with a Taiwanese "Ah Ma"). Mrs. Lin, our oyster omelette Yoda, introduced us to the main ingredients of sweet potato starch, eggs, oysters…

Finding Myself through the Taiwanese American Community

I grew up in San Marino, a small 3-mile radius town that was pretty Asian. No, I mean really Asian: my high school was 75% Asian, and probably 30% Taiwanese. I always knew I was Asian because I looked it and spoke Taiwanese at home, but I didn’t actually know what that meant. So when I went to college at Northwestern University where the Asian population was (only) 20%, I was in for a culture shock. “Oh my God, white people.” When I got to Evanston, I was hyper aware of my Asian identity.…

Reflections and Echoes of 228

I recently listened to an inspiring speech by a young Taiwanese graduate student named Lin Fei-fan who had flown in to the San Francisco Bay area as an invited speaker for a commemorative event sponsored by the Formosan Association for Public Affairs’ Young Professional Group and the Taiwanese American Federation of Northern California. Lin is one of the principal student leaders of the Youth Alliance Against Media Monsters, a student-organized group that is raising awareness about the issue of…

Midwestern Roots

I am deeply, deeply Midwestern. I often forget how much of an Ohioan I am until, of course, I leave Ohio. Then, wherever I go, it becomes painfully obvious that I am, indeed, from the Midwest, the Rust Belt, the Corn Belt. Not everyone knows what this implies, but as with any stereotype, the word comes with a myriad of associated traits. UrbanDictionary says that Midwesterners are: considered a different breed. the good: they're nice outgoing people with morals. the bad: they're nice outgoing…

Roots and Leaves

My grandmother brews smells in the kitchen long before I learn that olfaction is the sense most loaded with memories. Thighbones filled with creamy marrow bubbling in beef stew; young bamboo stems boiled, cooled on ice cubes and dipped in sesame oil; braised three-layered-pork; preserved eggs and soybeans stir-fried with short hot peppers that go straight to the insides of your forehead and rouse a cacophony of sneezes. Hers are recipes thick with nostalgia, dripping sauces and spices preserved from…