I’m thrilled to share an essay on Shondaland about a very important topic: my love of the Filet-O-Fish — and why it was the only McDonald’s item my immigrant family would eat (besides the fries, of course). I loved hearing from so many people after this piece ran about their own McFish stories. Anecdotal evidence suggests it’s a fast-food favorite of many immigrants: Chinese, Bengali, Korean, Somali, Filipino, and more.
Illustration by Brianna Ellis-Mitchell for Shondaland
As I look back on 2017, I wanted to share a few things that I wrote this year.
I wrote about my relationship with swimming and how it helps with chronic pain and writer’s block. It was my first published personal essay, thanks to editor extraordinaire Nicole Chung.
In April I wrote an essay about visiting Manzanar, site of an internment camp where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II.
In August, in the midst of Hurricane Harvey, I penned a love letter to Houston, my hometown.
Journalism wise, I reported on gentrification in Chinatowns across America.
I interviewed educators, parents, and kids about how youth and schools are coping with the political climate after the presidential election.
I talked to education experts about whether colleges and universities are ready to serve the increasing number of students of color.
I got to do some uplifting stories too, like this one about a 70-year-old immigrant woman who ran 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents.
I interviewed actor Danny Pudi about his childhood and his first romantic lead role in a film.
And I talked to novelist Lisa Ko about her debut novel, “The Leavers.”
I’m the guest this week on Southern Fried Asian, a podcast about Asian Americans from the South. I talk to host Keith Chow about Houston, hurricanes, and how to get your queso through TSA security. He’s also the founder of pop culture website The Nerds of Color. Even though I work in radio sometimes, hearing my own voice is still weird.
Listen to the episode here.
It’s hard to watch your hometown destroyed from afar. I wrote a love letter to Houston in Vogue about the things I love about this city that shaped me, and the ability of ordinary people to rise up to care for one another.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
Justin Chon’s “Gook” opens nationwide this weekend. Haven’t heard the buzz about this film? Review here and here and great interviews with the director here and here. I’ll be moderating the Q&A at the Saturday night screening in Berkeley. Come out and support! Here’s a list of other cities it’s playing in:
I wanted to share a few photos I took in early April when I drove to Manzanar National Historic Site, the former internment camp where Japanese Americans were incarcerated, to write this essay for NPR. 1) Vacancy sign in Cartago, CA along U.S. Route 395. I had to drive the southern route from San Francisco because the northern route was impassable due to a storm. This added two hours to the drive. (Total drive time: about eight hours). 2) Recreation of a guard tower at Manzanar. There had been eight. 3) The remains of what was once a garden at Manzanar. Residents built gardens to make camp life feel a little more normal. 4) Offerings by the Manzanar cemetery and monument. 5) The post office in Independence, CA, the closest inhabited area to Manzanar, about six miles north.
I have a personal essay on Catapult about my relationship to swimming and how it helps me get through chronic headaches and writer’s block. This essay has been many months in the making. Though part of me is wary of putting something so personal out in the world, I’m thrilled to be in Catapult. If you don’t know it, be sure to spend some time on there. The site is full of great writing.
Art by Ellen Orseck / Image via brad, flickr