Being Half Asian in Korea

Half-Asians have a spider sense for other half-Asians. It's hard to describe what, exactly, makes someone "look" half-Asian. I've met halfies with pale skin and dark skin, straight black hair and curly light-brown hair and everything in between. Yet, somehow, we can always find each other in a crowd. That's why, when a skinny girl... Continue Reading →

The End

I hadn't checked the countdown on my phone in weeks. I didn't need to anymore, because I knew the little gray boxes labeled "WEEKS," "DAYS," "HOURS," "MINUTES," and "SECONDS" all had tiny white zeros. I'd started the countdown almost as soon as I'd come to Spain, back when I sat in bed and stared at pictures... Continue Reading →

Being American Abroad

"We're in Portugal," I said. "We can't get burgers." That didn't stop me from staring lustfully at the burger stand in the Lisbon food court. From twenty feet away, I could still smell all the salt, grease, and diabetes. I looked over at Bethany and Amanda, who wouldn't look at me because they were hypnotized by... Continue Reading →

When to Play the “Foreigner Card”

Foreigners in Salamanca are called guiris. I don't know if guiris give off a particular smell, but everyone seems to know that we're not Spanish. My host mother once described my complexion by holding up a porcelain plate, and combined with my Asian-ish eyes, I'm not surprised that people don't mistake me for a local. But... Continue Reading →

The Best Day

The best day started at 5:00AM. I had to catch a 7:00AM bus to Galicia, so I crammed my clothes into a duffel bag, grabbed the "snack" (two sandwiches, a banana, a chocolate bar, and two juice boxes) that my host mother had insisted I needed to eat before lunch, and headed out. At 6:30AM, the... Continue Reading →

Victoria

Las mariposas "My neighbors don't like birds," my host mother said, tearing up another piece of bread and throwing it onto the patio. "But I do, so I feed them and blame it on the man next door." She smiled as she tossed more bread crumbs onto the porch. A tiny gray bird swooped down and... Continue Reading →

No Pasa Nada

"No pasa nada." I hear this a lot in Spain. Translated in the most literal, anal-retentive way, it means "Nothing doesn't happen." But because Spanish is a wonderful language where double-negatives frolic freely without canceling each other out, a better translation would be "Nothing happens." But just as "What's up?" does not actually mean "What... Continue Reading →

A Spanish Breakfast

Victoria, my Spanish host mother, pushed a stool up to the kitchen counter for me. She’d laid out a box of what looked like Spanish-knockoff chocolate Rice Krispies, rectangular semi-sweet biscuits with “TOSTADOS” printed on the front, a bag of pre-toasted mini slices of bread, raspberry jam, a box of orange juice, a plastic-wrapped pair... Continue Reading →

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