Come summer I will be moving away from Boston To New Jersey. Honestly with packing and everything I have not had much time to post stuff for the blog, though I have still been sharing stuff on the social Media parts of the Boston Chinatown Blog.
I think some readers are wondering what my role on the Boston Chinatown Blog would be if I was in New Jersey. How could I still blog about Boston's Chinatown? Obviously for the blog to maintain a close connection to the heartbeat of what is going on in the community we need to maintain ties with people on the grounding Boston. And we do. Whether it is contributors who write directly for the blog or people who feed and news stories info to the contributors.
Basically, even from New Jersey I will still be able to contribute. Whether I am writing about memories or if others are telling me what to write about a current event. To me, Boston's Chinatown is my Herng Ha. So just like so many others who read and contribute to the blog but no longer live there, I will also care about my old neighborhood.
But the truth is, that I have ALWAYS had an insider outsider feeling in Boston's Chinatown. Not just because I am mixed either.
My mother was from Philly and so I spent most of the summer there. That means in my childhood I did not attend many August Moons.
I wnet to Nativity Prep in Roxbury instead of JQS or BLS so at that point, like many Chinese Americans, Chinatown became more of a weekend place for me. Dulcimer lessons with Zhang Lao Shi, Wushu with Bo Sim Mark, Chinese at Kwong Kow.
Then, I went to boarding school at Groton. That is when I started to feel most foreign in Chinatown. Because of the dress cod eat Groton I began to dress differently from most of my friends. I did required sports like crew instead of joining a volleyball team (which I may not have done anyway.) And also even the groups of people that I hung out with in Chinatown, mostly FOB, was different than the groups of Jook Sings that tended to stay closely knit with each other. There wasn't animosity between the different groups. It's just that in general we did not hang out.
When I was living at the Kung Fu school did I think much about Chinatown? Honestly I thought most about China or other part of the US. There were chefs who were ambitiously looking toward the rest of the US as a place to travel or start business and they were simultaneously sprouting ideas in my head about going to China, where I could probably teach English in Taishan, not because of any particular skill, but simply because I could sell my white face and also speak Taishanese.
When I was in Chinatown, it was just a place. a stepping stone. When I was out of Chinatown, it was more like an idea, a family, a herng ha. What I am saying that sometimes it is better to write about Chinatown NOT being there.
Or looking at it with foreign eyes. You only really appreciate it when you are not in the middle of it.
In the coming days I will probably be writing more about the IDEA of Chinatown. The Chinatown of the mind. But not the one created by Hollywood. MY Chinatown of the mind.
And hopefully I can get more contributors to wrote about stuff going down in the community. But I have found that many of the contributors also write or tell stories about a Chinatown of the mind, from their memories or from their hopes for the future.