I can really connect with “Warm, Fuzzy Mushrooms” in the February edition. It described the life and culture of an Asian girl with experiences that are similar to mine. I, too, am Asian and know how it feels to be humiliated by my “Asian-ness.” It has shaped me to be who I am today.
Dingyun and I are similar in many ways. My substitute teachers also struggle to pronounce my name and I dread the first day of school because I know that teachers will surely mispronounce it. Like Dingyun, I have learned to raise my hand to spare both of us the humiliation. Some teachers are never able to say my name and call me everything from “Too-yet Nun,” to “Nguyen.”
Both Dingyun’s mom and mine are extremely cheap. As a result, I seldom have name-brand clothes. My lack of fashion sense also saves me from feeling humiliated when I wear oversized clothing to school. Dingyun is content with her life and does not need expensive material objects to feel happy. Likewise, I know that money is not everything, and I can find contentment reading a book from Dollar Tree on my sofa.
Dingyun’s writing style is exceptional and very descriptive. As I read it, I could almost see the shopping center and smell the foods there. My stomach growled as I read about lao po bing, the scene was so vivid.
I am exceptionally fond of this type of writing because I like to learn about other cultures, and I want to write a piece as descriptive as this someday. Dingyun’s writing sums up all of the trademark qualities of Asians - natural cheapness and contentment with whatever they have. This piece is truly a work of art.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.