Introducing…. mi madre!

by Sue

My mom is the most adorable lady in the world — except when she starts yelling at me for some mundane thing.  Then she becomes Medusa or I don’t know, some scary person, as are most angry mothers, I’m sure.

Anyway, so my mom.  She’s 4’11”. Just typing that makes me so excited, you guys, because that means I’m actually taller than someone! :-O   She was born and raised in Hong Kong by a chef-turned-policeman father, a shoe-manufacturer-supervisor mother, and a shoe-manufacturer-employee mother.   So you can see how she can be kinda no-nonsense sometimes, as no-nonsense as a 4’11” person can possibly be, I guess.   She’s nearing 60, though don’t tell her I told you that because she honestly doesn’t look it (Asian genes, holla!) and she gets kinda self conscious (like every other woman on the face of the planet).   She learned English in secondary school; there are lots of stories about the oral exams and the studying for oral exams she endured: “This is a man.  This is a pan.   This is a man and a pan.”   She took an ESL class while I was in pre-school after we moved to California when I was two.  So to an extent she can understand (because sometimes, when I get carried away, I talk rapidly…in English at home) and converse with people, but only if it’s absolutely necessary because she’s shy like that — except when she’s angry or…trying to get a hold of me, as last Tuesday night has proven (so embarrassing :-[).  She gets all “Homie don’t play!” on you, only.. she would never really say anything like that.

Anyway, my mom.   Totally still a fob (fresh off the boat, for you people who haven’t caught on the bandwagon yet.. Please check out My Mom is a Fob and My Dad is a Fob for more references; I totally relate to most of the things posted there.) despite the fact we’ve been here in the States for 20 years. But that makes her…totally adorable.   She only sings the “Rah ah ou la la’s” in Bad Romance and the “Boom boom pow’s” when they come on the radio.  And sometimes, like last night when I was falling asleep on the couch, she says things like:

[Preview for Prince of Persia (awful, awful, awful, awful looking movie; I don’t even want to be paid to watch it, unless it was like $1 million or something.) comes on the telly]

Mom (in Cantonese): This movie looks great.  Let’s go see it!
me (mumbling): It looks awful.   You can go.   I’m not.
Mom (in Chinglish): It has Jerry what’s-his-face. He’s involved.  That guy. Jerry.
me: Who?
Mom (in Chinglish): It also has that gay guy.  You know, from Backstreet Mountain.

At this point, I’m not half asleep anymore, but laughing… kinda maniacally. :-| And… she was referring to Jerry Bruckheimer, which doesn’t surprise me.