On February 29, that special leap year day, I witnessed my first ever charity fund-raising auction.
The event? The Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center Chinese New Year Banquet.
On the plate for live auction included: a World Series 2007 signed baseball, a basketball signed by the whole Celtic team, and a power lunch with Sam Yoon, the first Asian American to be elected into the city council of the City of Boston. Sold! for a cool $1200 to $3000 each.
Uncle G and Auntie E have been long-time patrons and contributors, as well as members of the center, and they booked two tables so that friends and family can join in the dinner and the festivity.
Here, with Uncle G and family, including S's boyfriend (whom everybody thought looked like B.Obama!):
The venue was at Empire Garden Restaurant, just across the street from Penang restaurant in Boston Chinatown.
My first glimpse into the Asian American community made me realize that so many of the members of this community are not just Chinese, but have truly assimilated into the fabric of American life, and count among them caucasian Americans as family.
I spoke to at least two families whose children are a result of mixed marriages, and the kids are quite good-looking!
Speaking with people, and immersing in that vibrant slice of life one might call the immigrant experience made me realize that one is able to find belonging and family anywhere. And in trying to make a foreign land feel like home, nothing is more precious that retaining one's own corner of culture.
As you might see in these little imps putting their best foot forward in the traditional Chinese lion dance: