I lived with my grandparents for an entire year when I was in Kindergarten, and my Yiayia took the opportunity to spoil me like it was her job. Every. single. morning. before school she would pour me a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal. But, before pouring the milk in, she would pick out the marshmallows from the oat pieces one-by-one so I could take the marshmallows in a plastic baggy for snack time at school. Looking back on it, it seems like such a minor, absurd thing to do. But, to take the time out of her day and do that every morning means that she must have loved me tremendously.


We all remember Sunday lunches,

When all the little cousins would gather in bunches.

Between you and Pappou

No one could cook better than the two of you.


It killed you to see him go,

And you wouldn’t cook anymore for reasons we know.

After that things fell apart,

The little cousins didn’t see each other, which hurt your heart.


They say time heals the wound,

And so the peace among the family resumed.

Then life passed in a whirl,

God blessed you with a great granddaughter, a beautiful baby girl.


When your voice started to slur,

We guessed a stroke, from what we could infer.

Your diagnoses turned out to be ALS,

From then on our lives became a mess.


Every day we miss your voice,

To hear it once more we all would rejoice,

It’s hard to watch you every day,

And see you slowly slip away.


Sympathy for Farmers

So one story that my grandmother told me when I was a little kid was a- originated from poetry from Tang Dynasty, which is like, the very like, poetry that I learn at a really early time- because every parents would teach their kids to learn this. And the- in Chinese, the poetry- sounds like something- like this [speaks in Chinese].

So if we want to translate that, it means like, it’s super hot in the middle of the noon. And some farmers are doing like, a lot of weeding. And, they are sweating under the sun. And, do you know that the food on our plate and each grain was hard earned- come from hard work.

So, my grandmother would repeat this poetry every time when we were having dinner so she said, like don’t have any leftovers after you finish each meal. So like sometimes, when I was young I like having some- several pieces of rice left. So she would force me to like finish them [laughs], so that the plate is completely clean. And at first I don’t understand, I was like she is so hard on me- pushing me to do this. But, after I grow up a little bit, I found that this is kind of like a polite thing to do. And paying appreciation to the hard work of people. And, showing sympathy for them.

So if I become a grandmother sometime [laughs] I would teach my grandkids the same thing. And- pushing them to do the same thing.