Chao-Chung Family Sandwich

It was an amazing weekend spent with family and learning a little bit more about my heritage. It’s not often I come across these moments as much of my family history is lost amidst the cultural-generational-language divide as well as the Pacific divide between Taiwan to America. Or perhaps, now that I’m a little older, what I may not have paid much attention to or never made sense as a kid has now become quite fascinating.

Hanging around the Beachcomber Cafe.

On Friday, I had the privilege of spending a day with my cousin Sun-king and his wife, Gwyneth. He’s a pediatric gastroenterologist (try saying that 10 times) and she’s an amazing pianist. Well, he’s got hidden talents with the violin too, but I have yet to find an opportunity to hear him play. Maybe they can play something for me on my next trip to Taiwan (though I know not when that might be, sadly). We spent the afternoon eating some amazing American fare at the Beachcomber Cafe (one of my favorite So Cal getaways) and topped it off with a trip to Gelato Paradiso and Sprinkles Cupcakes. Then after a couple more pit stops visiting a friend in Irvine and Al’s place, I dropped them off at the Metrolink to take the train to Fullerton for a $6.75 one-way trip. (One of the rare occasions for using expensive public transportation in So Cal in the land of ridiculous car commuters where it takes an hour to drive 20 miles even with freeways up to 6 lanes wide for one direction).

With our Aunty!

Then on Sunday, I heard Catherine was in town. All I remembered of Catherine was that she’s a twin and they were born in America and that she and her brother were really little. But time has certainly passed and she’s now a pharmacist in Taiwan! So we got to have dinner in Rowland Heights at Country Bistro where one of their selling points is their herbal soups. And over the course of dinner, I found out how it is that she’s technically my “aunt” even though she’s 6 years younger than me! Apparently, her dad is one of the younger brother’s of my dad’s dad (my grandpa). And grandpa comes from a family where he had like 14 siblings (I have yet to verify this in detail in future conversations.) Which then makes her my dad’s cousin, and therefore my aunt. And since she’s on my dad’s side of the family, I would then call her “Ah-go”. The Chinese language has special designations to make every relationship clear unlike the English language where it’s just aunt or uncle. But we’ll have to table this one for now as well…

I think my next great adventure may be to retrace my history and explore Taiwan…from the one street villages and oyster shucking communities my parents grew up in. Target travel dates: October/November 2011 (that’s when Taiwan has the best weather as verified by mom). So, who wants to join me?

    • Amy
    • February 16th, 2011 1:01pm

    I would love to go on a family history tour of Taiwan!! Oh, technically, Catherine is your first cousin, once removed, but in Taiwanese culture, everyone’s an “aunt” by virtue of generational distinction. :)

      • Peggy
      • February 17th, 2011 11:15pm

      That’s what the relationship is…but how do you designate that in Chinese? It’s like one character makes that relationship clear…but we have these weird long winded explanations that still don’t make sense after all is said and done!

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