Roots…

What better way to start this first post than with my name, my actual name: 魏冰俏 (wei bingqiao)?

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about cultural heritage and cultural legacy, defined by Malcolm Gladwell as the passing down of beliefs, ideas, and methods of doing things from generation to generation. It struck me that I wasn’t exactly sure about mine. Was it more so American, or Chinese?

Sometimes I identify more with the Asian mindset 

Sometimes I identify more with the American ideal 

“From what I’ve tasted of desire”

I think that if I had to choose 

I’d go with my roots 

But I can also say, 

From the environment I grew up in

The ideal about individualism and chasing after your heart rather than following standards, 

Is also great 

And would suffice. 

(Adapted from Robert Frost’s: “Fire and Ice”)

Yes, I’m a lot more Asian than I am American. I guess that Americanization just never struck me, even after 13 years. It’s most evident in my name. I was amazed at how much thought and effort my parents put into those 3 little characters; I just had to write about it.

魏冰俏 was derived from a poem by a leader of China (excluding the first character; that’s just my last name). He’s a controversial figure, whose actions were sketchy, but his talent with literature cannot be denied. As much as I disagree with the Chinese government, I cannot undermine how beautiful the language really is.

This poem was executed as he gazed upon a precipice, filled with hope and ambition for the country; although they were in the midst of a three year famine, somehow the country will still prosper. In the same way, as my parents anticipated the day I’d arrive, they were filled with hope and optimism for the person I was going to be; despite whatever tribulation and hardships will come my way, I will emerge stronger through it all. No matter how hard I try to translate it, it would still be 11,671 kilometers away from the actual meaning (get it? haha, yes, I just searched up the distance from China to America. Judge me. okay I’ll stop). English is derived; Chinese is invented. That makes all the difference in the world.

“风雨送春归,飞雪迎春到”

The wind and rain sends away the spring, while the fleeting snow once again brings it back.

“已是悬崖百丈,犹有花枝

1000 feet of ice has already frozen up by the precipice, but the plum flowers are still blossoming with all its beauty and fervor.

“俏也不争春,只把春来报”

This flower, albeit her encompassing beauty, does not compete with the fruits of this tree for Spring’s attention; she simply brings the good news of the coming Spring.

“待到山花烂漫时,她在丛中笑“

Once the entire mountain is blooming afresh with a field of newly arrived spring flowers, she quietly smiles in their midst.

My parents want me to be like the plum flower: strong, yet gentle; beautiful, yet accepting; optimistic, yet true to myself. They want me to be the one delivering hope in the midst of despair, the one who sees past life’s tribulation, to the beauty it brings. The one that does not deny that there is chaos and evil and that reality is not all fun and games, but learns how to overcome and build up the good things inside of me.

I am thankful for the person I get to be because of them. I am thankful for my cultural heritage, my roots…

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