Saturday, October 8, 2016

Halloween Memories...

For an immigrant mom, Halloween can be confusing.  My own mother, never having experienced Halloween herself in Taiwan, was not prepared for it.  Most of the time, it was an after thought and a scramble to get me into a costume.  Over the years, I would hear over and over again about what a cute Peter Pan I made when I was one year old.  It seems ironic that I would have such an awesome costume at a young age, because that would be the last of it for the next eighteen years. 

In the first grade, I found out about Halloween from my classmates at school.  I went home that day, thinking about how unfair it was that I didn’t know it was Halloween.  On the verge of tears (I rarely cried because we weren’t allowed to at home, and it didn’t make sense to do it, nobody ever reacted anyway), I reluctantly told my mom it was Halloween.  I had no costume, no plans to go trick or treating, and I was devastated.  My mom, never one to dwell on tears, quickly put together a clown costume for me with a brightly colored blouse of her own, some baggy very MC Hammer looking pants, and adorned my face with circles with her lipstick.  We ate dinner at my wa-puo’s house that night, and she explained we were going to go around the neighborhood before dinner to get some candy.  We didn’t even have a cute pumpkin basket, but the plastic grocery bag would suffice.  At the age of six, I was grateful my mom had made it work, and even though I wasn’t entirely ecstatic or jumping with joy at my improvised costume, my mom didn’t give me any opportunity to mope as she reminded me how resourceful she had been on such short notice.  The Chinese daughter knew there was nothing to cry about anymore.  Ma-ma had saved the day.  But secretly, I told myself I’d remember next year.  I told her right then and there that I wanted a costume next year.  She agreed. 
Second grade came.  We made a trip to the Halloween costume shops in the mall before Halloween this year.  I ended up leaving with a princess tiara and princess wand.  Even though there were a lot of other costumes around, I seemed to have an awareness of prices and knew most of the stuff was too expensive.  I was too scared to ask for anything big, so the tiara and wand were perfect.  My mom quickly told me she could find the rest of my costume at home, and I agreed.  She paired a long sleeved turtle neck with a blue wrap around long skirt, one she had upcycled from her own closet that now sat securely on my with a safety pin.  I was overjoyed at my costume, until some white kids ridiculed it.  I felt like the poor kid.  I didn't really feel like I had any friends at school quite yet, so I just kind of kept it to myself.  It was not a happy time, fortunately for me, the photos my dad took were all of us at home with our family, when I was ignorant of my poorly put together peasant's costume, so I was still happy and excited at the time.  I just didn't have the heart to tell my mom my costume still sucked.  
In the third grade, I was a waitress with the help of a folded red apron over a white blouse and black pants, a matching red handkerchief on my head, and a matching tray.  I had always enjoyed serving other people, so being a waitress was exciting for me.  We even got a photo to remember it.  I actually really wanted to like the white girls who always wore neckerchiefs, poodle skirts, and a ponytail.  But when I tried to explain it to my mom, she laughed at the idea of wearing a skirt with a dog on it.  That idea ended quickly.  I’ve always wondered what the Chinese girls in Taiwan wore in the 50’s.  I think they were mostly in qi-paos still, but I’ve never actually asked my grandma or my mom.  I just know the American 50’s poodle skirts were not part of their wardrobe. The waitress costume was an upgrade from the year before.. even if it was using mostly stuff I already owned and wore.  
In the fourth grade, we got a little creative, but not necessarily in a good way.  I had always enjoyed the I Dream of Jeannie 60’s show with Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman.  So when my mom asked me what I wanted to be this year, I told her a genie. We couldn’t find a genie costume anywhere in my size, and I expressed concern about the bare mid-section in all the off the rack costumes.  My mom had a simple solution, we’d just make the pants ourselves and pair it with a matching pink shirt.  Brilliant!
Without the internet, we couldn’t just google the outfit from the show, so we recalled what we thought the genie wore and made our way to the closest craft store for some pink chiffon.  Upon bringing it home, I noticed it was quite sheer and transparent, especially over what would essentially be a pair of underwear.  When I expressed concern to my mom about it, she said she could fix it.  She would sew the pant legs underneath a pair of shorts I had that were also pink.  It sounded like a legit solution to me, so I agreed. 
When the costume was all completed, I was a Chinese girl in a pink shirt with matching pink shorts and chiffon leggings below my knees which were connected to the shorts. I looked nothing like a genie.  I expressed concern to my mom, and she told me to stop complaining and be grateful.  Filial piety was thrown at me.. something about not appreciating all the effort my mom (who cannot sew) put into the costume. 
At school, we were allowed to wear our costumes since Halloween fell on a weekday.  So I wore my improvised genie costume.  Everyone asked me what I was.  When I explained I was a genie, I got a bunch of puzzled looks.  After school, as if the torture wasn’t enough, my mom reminded me that we had plans to go to the mall, something I had begged her over and over again to do.  When I told my mom I didn’t want to go, she gave me an earful about making commitments and not backing down.  When I told her my costume didn’t quite look like a genie’s outfit, she yelled at me because it was me who was afraid to wear a midriff and me who didn’t want to wear underwear underneath the chiffon genie pants.  She was right.  So I sucked it up, and went to the mall in my non-genie outfit and trick or treated around the stores with my friends.  At least my new closest friends didn’t seem to notice the ridiculousness of my costume.  These new friends had moms who were also immigrants too, so they seemed to empathize. All the jeers came from the cool white girls, so in the comfort of the mall trip with just my own friends made it bearable and not so bad.  
Fifth grade was when it all went wrong. I was fairly tall for a fifth grader, about 5’6 already, so most of the “kid” costumes didn’t quite fit me.  My parents didn’t go through college in the U.S., only grad school, and even then, they stuck to the comfort of like minded Chinese students within the Chinese Student Association of St. Louis, and never really broke beyond.  Needless to say, they most likely never attended any crazy Halloween parties.  Or maybe insane Halloween parties didn't exist back then?  I'm not sure.  
I actually can recall that even then, it was a larger costume, so we stapled the skirt shorter.  We were so grateful that the sizing fit me, most likely because it was an “adult” costume.  My mom thought it was cute, as did I, and I had images of the cute little French maid broom in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  It’s obvious we were both completely oblivious to the implications of such a costume.  Fifth grade.  I think that means I was around ten years old.  French maid Daisy.  
I went trick or treating with my two BFFs at the time.  One was a magician, complete with a top hat, cape, and wand, while the other was a scary old Grandma – she wore an old tattered flower mumu and had a scary rubber mask.  We got quite the looks that night.  The Grandma mask was insanely freaky, the eyes were in the hair and the face was below her actual chin.  Everyone stared at us like freaks.  We brushed it off as we were probably getting too old for trick or treating, and didn’t think much of it.  All three of us were immigrant children, none having been truly exposed to the culture of the times.  And now that I think about it, I got some weird stares from pretty much everyone.  At the time, I thought they were just impressed, or that maybe they had noticed our last minute improvised staples on the skirt.  I'm glad we were oblivious.  We laugh about it now.  
The other day I was telling my mom how I was making my kid’s Halloween costumes again.  I have ever since my firstborn was 6 months, and I've continued to enjoy making them something or buying them full blown costumes that they want.  I don't ever want my own kids to feel the weird awkwardness I did as a kid on Halloween.  I want them to be proud of their costumes and not feel ... sadly, poor or out of place.  My mom thinks my Halloween costumes are a bit overboard but still cute.  She ridicules me for the time I put into them, but then she brags about how talented her daughter is to her friends online as she posts photos of her grandchildren's homemade costumes.  It's just part of having an Asian mom I guess.  So while we talked about this year's Halloween costumes, she began reminiscing on all the many cute Halloween costumes she made me when I was a kid.  I didn't know what to say.  I think it'd be heartbreaking for her to know how out of place I felt for so many years on Halloween.  And then I wondered if she knew about the French maid costume.  Before I could ask her, she told me, “remember that cute maid costume you had?” 

So she never figured it out.

Here's to another fun Halloween of new memories to counter the old ones from my childhood.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Just Buy It

Growing up, we were by no means wealthy.  Our weekends were spent at the flea markets and random garage sales in nicer neighborhoods.  A trip to the local Pic'n'Save meant I might get some new outfits for my Barbies, but a trip to Target meant I would just browse the $15 Barbies from afar, hoping and wishing I'd get one for Christmas.  Our TV was a small 19", if that.  We had a smaller black and white TV with two knobs, one to change the channel, and one to attempt to make the screen a bit more clear.  Eating at Sizzler was a treat.  Most of the time, we had dim sum on the weekends with extended family or we ate at home.

To be generous, my parents were frugal (like what I did there?!)  At a young age, I knew to say no to wine taste and beer salary, and yet I hadn't even taken my first sip of alcohol yet.  My parents were hard working middle class parents, trying to shield their children of the financial burdens and stress they faced everyday.  But I wasn't oblivious.  I knew we weren't rich.  I knew we were actually kind of on the poor side.  I knew the San Marino snobs I took dance with all had four or five recital numbers and I had one.  I knew my parents fought about how much piano lessons were and I overheard my mom say over and over how important it was for me to develop my "class" and have that skill!  I knew my parents borrowed money from richer family members.  I knew my grandma always footed the bill when we went out to eat.  I knew.  They didn't think I knew.. but I did.

In 1996, things seemed to pick up.  My mom began doing real estate and she was really quite good at it.  By 1998, we had our first large screen television.  By 2001, we had cable (still mad to this day that it was after I went away to college!).  My brother, six years younger, never truly experienced the "poor" days of my life.  My dual income parents now made quite a bit of money, so much that my financial aid was reduced a lot my senior year.

Money isn't as hard to come by for my parents as it was when I was younger.  My mom bought me a Vitamix when I was engaged and said it was for my future family.  "So you can making smoothies for your husband and kids every single day."  She gave us her van a few years later when she couldn't stand the site of our firstborn cramped in our Camry.  "Needing bigger car for baby, help him be happier.  Take my van."  Upon Jordan's first time sitting in the van, she commented, "See how much happier he is in the big van?  Kids like big cars, not little cramped cars like you were driving.  This is much better."

So when my mom saw me post on Facebook that I couldn't bring the Vitamix with us to DC (it's got an extremely heavy base), she called me immediately.

"You need to bring the Vitamix!"  she told me.  "How are the kids going to drinking smoothies everyday?!"  she asked.

"Well... it's kind of heavy."  I told her.  "Then Dad can bring you one when he goes!" (For the record, he's coming mid April.. that's 1.5 months into our trip. ....

"Mom, it's okay.  We don't need it.  Lots of poor people do without Vitamixs and are still healthy," (Did I really say that?  Shoot, I didn't mean that I just... wow, my mom really brings out the worse in me sometimes...)

"Don't be so cheap!  Just go buy one!" she screamed.  "I'll pay for it!"

Let me stop right here and tell you how many times she has said this.

"Mom, I can't work out right now at Equinox because it's too expensive."
I'll pay for it!
Mom, I can't buy more clothes right now, we don't have enough money for clothing purchases not out of need."
I'll pay for it!
No, Andy doesn't want to take me to a nice steakhouse, he refuses to pay for fancy food he'll just poop out later.
I'll pay for it!
Jordan broke our TV.  We think we should wait a while so he learns a lesson.  Sure, we can replace it - but it's the principle of the matter.
I'll pay for it!

I know, I know.  Does she even listen to me?

And then when I send her photos of clothes I think she might say "I'll pay for it!" she never ceases to amaze me by responding with "That's ugly, don't get that" or "that's too plain, get something fancier" and the best is when Jordan asked if maybe po po  would buy him the toy.  I suggested we take a photo and ask her, she responded with, "stop buying them toys, I'll only buy them books from now on!"

Needless to say, I ended our Vitamix conversation with, "Mom... it's not about the money.  It's about the fact that we're there for 2 months and it's too heavy to bring!  We will be fine for TWO months.  Is this all you called to talk about?  Because if so, I'm kind of busy right now--CLICK.

And there you go.  Just buy it Daisy.  ....


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Never Good Enough

My mom gave me this super cute J Crew mustard skirt almost three years ago. I couldn't fit into it, but took it anyway, hopeful that one day post partum, it'd fit! 

My mom also gave me these super cute Sam Edelman ankle strap close toed heels with faux fur in a deep purple. She got them on sale at Fashion Island in the OC at Bloomingdales (which is why I didn't initially return them for store credit like I would if they were from Nordstrom). 

So... I thought it'd be nice to send her a photo to show her mom, I fit into the skirt and i finally was wearing the heels she got me! 

I thought she'd be flattered or excited. 
I got three missed calls tonight in the span of ten minutes...


Of course, I was so very wrong. 

First, she asked me if I was still doing that diet (I did the Fast Metabolism Diet back in November). I'm actually not on the diet but I pretend I am so I can live off of the principles without thinking much about it... I mindless eat for comfort a lot so it's been good for me to sorta be on the diet during the day. Anyway, I told her no but I still have some weight to loose or love handles, so yes I do have weight loss goals not quite met. 

Your legs look a chicken's and you're too skinny! You need to stop losing weight, you're perfect now! 

I'm not a new Chinese daughter. I know this scene, it's happened over and over before and here I am, still confident more crap is to come.. Maybe not today but also not someday, more like a day in the near future...

As if that was it, she then told me I shouldn't wear such high heels. "You gave me those heels and they're only 2 inches high! You told me they're great heels cuz there not that high!" Ugh, Chinese moms... You can never win with them! 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Being Careful Who Your Friends Are

Chinese moms are very particular about who you become friends with.  Do they get good grades?  Who are their parents?  As I've grown up, the questions have transformed to Where did they go college?  Where do they work?  Are they married?  Do they have kids?  

I learned at a young age that my mom would not be ashamed to openly disapprove of my friends.  Why she wearing so little clothes?  Why she wearing make-up?  Ugh, mom!!! I remember thinking over and over again.  Why can't she understand.  Why can't she just be understanding of my friends?  But she always had a motive for her criticism.  And that was for me to be surrounded by good people.  She knew the power of influence that friends have over us and she wanted to shield me from any dangerous bad grade going out wearing make-up and little clothes type of friends (for the record, the two are not mutually exclusive).

When I got to college and discovered a life of partying, one I had not known in high school as I was focusing on grades, activities, and getting into a good college, I thought my mom might disapprove.  Surprisingly, she was all for it.  This being the right time now.  She went as far to support it, asking me what party I was going to this weekend.  Or inviting all my friends to come party up at our house.  Or letting me go out without a curfew so long as I called her to let her know I was alive the next day.

And then post college when I was working, she was keen on making sure I surrounded myself with reliable team members.  Whenever I complained to her about a nasty coworker or someone who seemed a bit selfish, she was quick to give her two cents about how I should try to stop working with these people or watch my back.  You never knowing they stab you in the back! She'd give the same critique about managers or partners she didn't think were good (based on my stories of interactions with them).  She kept fine tabs on my life.

Not much has changed.  Now I'm in the motherhood stage of life and as I talk to my mom about all the different mom pals I have, she's still quietly judging (for just a second though) before warning me not to surround myself with moms who just complain or hate on motherhood.  It's being important to be positive and love your kids and do so much for them.  Also, don't forget about yourself.  Being important to care for you and take care of your body and skin too.  It's a lot to take sometimes, and a lot to remember, but it's also a good reminder that mother knows best.

I didn't get it when I was growing up and wondering why my mom always hated on my rebellious and adventurous friends.  I get it now.  I didn't get it when I was in college and she was wondering why some of my friends took so long to graduate or took time off to "find themselves."  I get it now.  She just wanted me to surround myself with good uplifting positive influences.  She knew how powerful your environment is.

They say misery loves company.  It's true.  And as hard as being a mom of three little kids is, I am so grateful I get to do it and over the moon that this is my life.  I don't wonder what it'd be like working in Corporate America still.  I know I'm good at this, even at my lowest point of screechy yelling at my kids to just comply if but for two seconds, I know this is what I was meant to do, because goodness knows I can't imagine anyone else doing it for my kids!  But throwing myself a pity party about the awful minutes that feel like an eternity don't do me any good.  Talking to other parents about our kids' bad behavior is sometimes a good thing so you know you're not alone, but the fine line of crossing over that to the point of just complaining about how kids ruin your life (I do say that jokingly, but I mean really just whining about it to no avail) is just as bad as the intern who throws a fit over getting everyone's coffee order.  Part of it is just life, part of it is just paying your dues, part of it is just a phase, and all of it will pass.  Obviously, nobody wants to order coffee for the rest of their life, as I don't want to be cleaning poop off the floor for the rest of mine, but all in good time.

In the meanwhile, I will just try to remember what Momma Chou said about being careful who your friends are.  Sad to think it applies to mom friends too, but it does.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Always Put Your Arm Out Like This!

Chinese people love taking photos.  They were taking photos of their food and throwing up peace signs long before #selfie even became a thing.

In my parents' home, there are remnants of a projector with slides, polaroids, cameras with film, large video recorders, tripods, and every generation of digital camera you can think of.

A few years ago, my mom started becoming obsessed with my InStyle magazines that were leftover when I moved out of the house and never updated my address and autopay.  She was especially fond of the way the celebrities all held out their arms to give the illusion of a skinny arm.  She began to repeatedly advise me to hold my arm out during photos.

And then one day, I saw some photos of her with friends and realized - her arm looks really awkwardly placed!  She wasn't just holding it out naturally, her arm was propped stiffly and looked like an awful drill team pose!  I think she's taken the "arm out to make it look skinny" thing a lil bit too far.

I thought I'd give her some advice and kindly let her know it's a little too far out and awkward.  Make it look more natural, I told her.  Make sure it's out, but also not so rigid.

She's been working on it.  We've made some progress.. but it's not quite there yet.


Case in point, this photo of me with my cousin from 2007 indicates the wrong doing of not properly putting out the arm enough, letting the arm flab squish where it's greatest, and hence.. larger arm than if I had properly posed it out.

I guess my mom does know what she's talking about.  Dang it!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

饅頭 (Man Tou) Chinese Steamed Bun Recipe

I have been wanting to learn how to make man tou for the longest time.  When I went away to college, it was one of the few staple frozen items I dared try to squeeze into my dorm fridge (ice cream just doesn't fit!)  Whenever I was feeling homesick,  I'd take one out of the dorm fridge, microwave it for 30 seconds, and then eat away my sadness in what I'd like to describe as fluffy heavenly Chinese wonderfulness.

Flash forward to my current life with kids.  My three kids absolutely LOVE the soft tenderness of man tou and we often come home from the Chinese supermarket with some frozen ones.  They're always bummed when we run out, and we have been known to wipe clean the little basket of man tou at the local Chinatown Buffet whenever we care to visit.

I just knew I had to learn how to make man tou at home.  It was the easy and obvious answer, plus I'm always searching for ways to preserve my Chinese culture and introduce my kids to more Chinese traditions and food, this seemed like an obvious thing I should learn.  I hesitated only because well... I'm really not very good at cooking to begin with... chances were it wouldn't even turn out.  Bleh.

Well, with Chinese New Year coming up, I finally decided to get off my slothful Chinese butt and try making them!  Plus, I was too lazy to drive with my three kids to the local Chinese super market.

I'm still trying to figure out the elevation adjustments with living in Salt Lake City, but these turned out pretty dang fantastic.  I may or may not have consumed three in one sitting since I am starting another round of the Fast Metabolism Diet tomorrow...

Ingredients
wet ingredients:
1/2 cup warm milk
1 cup warm water
T active yeast
2 T vegetable oil
dry ingredients:
2 1/2 cups of unbleached flour (or bleached if you want it super duper white) - I just kept pouring flour on until the mixture became dough-y.
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Mix wet ingredients starting in order listed, mix and let sit for yeast to activate
Meanwhile, mix dry ingredients.
Slowly incorporate the wet mixture into the dry mixture, until it becomes a ball of dough.  Knead for about 5 minutes, cover in a bowl and let sit for 1 hour to rise.
Knead again for about 2 minutes, let sit for another 1 hour to continue rising.
Roll out dough with a pin, then roll it up, cut about 1 inch pieces, put in steamer lined with parchment paper and continue to let rise for 30 minutes.
Steam for about 10-12 minutes until cooked.  Remove lid slightly to let steam escape but continue to let cool for another 5-10 minutes.
Snap a photo of the beautiful creation made, then proceed to consume in one sitting.

I actually used this video.. but I'm not going to lie, her accent really bugged me and made it hard for me to repeat - so I'm sharing her video and detailing the recipe above so I can just link to my own blog for future reference.  Enjoy!



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Double Eyelids

Plastic surgery is not a big deal in the Asian culture.  In fact, double eyelid surgery is one of the most common surgeries Asians undergo in an attempt to have bigger eyes.  Ask any white person what it means to have “double eyelids” and you’ll get a blank stare.  Ask any Asian person what it means to have “double eyelids” and they will tell you it is great, it is lucky, it is beauty!
All my life, I heard how unfortunate I was to have fallen into the category of single eyelid Asian.  Not as pretty, not as lucky, not as privileged as those with the big crease in their lid Asians.  I had one girl cousin growing up and she had some fat double eyelids.  I would hear, well she has double eyelids, you have long legs.  You got the consolation prize of long legs but she got the double eyelids.  But hey, you can’t get surgery to make your legs long, you can get surgery to make your eyes big! Yeah, they never said that but I’m sure that’s what they were thinking. 
For as long as I can remember, my aunt was going to “gift” me double eyelids as part of my high school graduation celebration.  This way, my eyes would be double by the time I got to college and nobody would remember from high school and nobody would know from college.  Except anytime I see an Asian girl walk by with fake double eyelids, I can spot ‘em like fake tits at a girls’ neck that have not yet fallen with gravity.  I just know they’re not real.  Most of the time, the crease is made so high above the eye that the cut is just poorly done and only camaflouged with some serious eye make-up.  It’s sort of like boob jobs, nobody goes in to get boob implants that are small A’s or even B’s – go big or go home!  So nobody really goes in to get their eyelid surgery asking for a smaller thinner, less obvious lid.  And the lengths we will go to sport a double eyelid if we do not already have one! 

In 1996, my freshman year of high school, someone mentioned something about tape to create a double eyelid in math class.  I was intrigued, and then I was hooked.  There was no going back.  I had to know more.  I had to get myself some.  This was too good to be true.  My best friend had heard the same thing.  So we both asked around – who said it first?  Who used it first?  Does it actually work?  And what kind of tape was it?  How did you cut it?  How long did it last?  Did it really work?!

A bunch of older sophomore girls had experience with the so called tape.  They let us in on the secret.  It was so simple.  Why hadn’t we thought of it first?! 

Scotch. Freaking. Tape.  It was uncomfortable.  It was itchy.  It was probably not sanitary.  It was a temporary solution.  But let me be the first to tell you, it was incredible, extraordinary, and absolutely amazing!!!

I remember the first time I busted out a pair of scissors to cut out a small rectangle just the perfect width of my eye, with enough height to create a fake fold in my eyelid.  It took a few tries, but once I snuggled the tape onto my eyelid right at the base above my eyelashes, it was incredible.  Well, as long as I kept my eye open – it was incredible!  Big eyes!  Round eye!  Like white people!  So so beautiful.  I stood in front of the mirror on my closet door perfecting the cut of tape.  I still remember the little shreds of tape I practiced cutting that sat on the edge of the mirror as I attempted, one after another, to find the perfect one that would fit on my lid, stay in my lid when my eyes open, and hopefully not poke out too much when I closed my eye.  Most of the time, I’d blink and the tape would fold outward… with extended wear, the tape would start to wear off and it’d come off at the ends and I’d have an awkwardly hangnail of a scotch tape on my eye.  I tried not to blink often.  If only I could just keep my eyes open longer.  People would politely tell me that I had some tape on my eye.  Not immediately though, after staring closely at my eyes everytime I blinked because of the shine that would catch from the scotch tape. 
“There’s something on your eye.” 
“Wait, is that TAPE on your eye?”  The questions were always asked disbelievingly so. 

As if I had stepped into an asylum with a diagnosis of “wanting to be too white and have larger round eyes.” 

But guess who got the last laugh?  A few months into taping my eyes (yes, I did it every morning, and sometimes I redid it during the afternoon… it was high school after all), a natural super thin crease found its way to my eye all on its own.  I remember blinking in disbelief, looking at my own reflection of a double eyelid thinking – maybe I won’t need the eyelid surgery after graduation after all!  I took special care and made sure to wash my face gently as to not disturb the lid fold, in fear it would disappear on me if I washed too hard.  I felt good about the fact that I wouldn’t have to go under the knife.  I mean, it was a routine surgery, completely normal and almost expected.. but it was still surgery after all! Girls I knew would go to Taiwan for a quick trip and come back with some huge eyelids and some professional photos (more on that later too)!  Sometimes, girls would say it was because their eyes were too small and it was corrective, not cosmetic surgery.  Kind of like how white girls who get nose jobs blame it on a deviated septum. Every. Single. Time.  Whatever.  They looked good, especially with make-up on.  They made eyelid surgery very tempting except now I had one lid fold and only had to tape the other… so, how would the surgery work? 
            When my dad and mom caught on to my newfound love of scotch tape cut into little rectangles that sat atop my eyelids, they told me that I could get precut tape from Taiwan easily. 
            And they were holding this coveted information from me for how long?!  For almost sixteen years, they said nothing of the sort to me at all!  There was no mention of this incredible magical “tape” that was already PRECUT!  I was absolutely floored.  I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some.  I had all my friends who visited Taiwan annually get me some, I told my aunts and uncles who lived overseas to bring me back some in the summer, and I bought enough to last me a lifetime the summer of 2002.  Yes, I used tape from 1996 to 2002 and some….   
            The legit precut Taiwan eye tape was just as obvious as my DIY-Scotch tape version, only it was less itchy and because it was precut, I started to get creative with putting black eyeliner on it before taping it onto my lids.  But still, every time I blinked, this huge black thing would stick out of my eye, making people think I had some weird thing on my eye.  Except the other Asian girls who did the same thing, they always understood and silently approved and fist bumped me in the air every time we walked by each other. 
            My best friend was one of these so called Asian gals.  We couldn’t get enough of taping our eyes.  It was free plastic surgery with no pain (the itchiness that came with the tape grew on us and we honestly never felt any pain from the rough edges of the tape when we used the tape dispenser’s knife). 
            And then one magical day, a few years into our college years, our eyelid lives got even better when I stumbled across … eye glue! 
            It was absolutely transforming.  We went from taping our eyelids everyday to gluing our eyelids everyday.  The packaging was direct from Japan, land of more Asians probably taping their eyes – but since Japan was on the verge of all fashion outbreaks even before Taiwan, they already had eye glue!
            The bottle looked just like a mascara bottle.  Only there was a funky little rake that came on top of the lid (this would be used to rake the eyelid into a double lid once the glue was applied).  Inside, it was glue – think eyelash glue, with a little brush that could be used to apply it softly across your lids.  Then, you’d utilize the rake to fold your eyelid in  and boom – you had double eyelids! 
            The downside to eyelid glue was that it was glue.  Glue is sticky.  Glue is unforgiving.  Mess up your fold and your eyelids would become victim to harsh rubbing and prying to rid the eyelid of the glue which would do its job and guess what?  Stick on!  Sometimes eyelashes were sacrificed.  Other times the folds were done too drastic and the eye would be WAY TOO BIG due to a humongous eyelid fold.  Most of the times though, it was absolutely wonderful. 
            Grace and I used eye glue everyday on our one lone eye without lids (she also had one lid miraculously show up after using eye tape for a few months).  We confessed to each other that we weren’t sure how this would play out once we had a serious boyfriend.  Would we let them in on the fact that one of our eyes was *gasp … a single eyelid?!  Or would we always make sure our eyelids were glued, even after marriage – we’d wake up in the morning and glue our eyelids before our husbands saw our heaven forbid – single eyelids?!   

And then a funny thing happened in my 20’s.  The left eyelid, the one I glued everyday.. it became more permanent after each gluing session and slowly, I had hope that it might one day become permanent!  I’d glue my eyelid every morning for a week, and sometimes, it’d still be there in the morning at the end of a long week.  I’d go by months before waking up to an eyelid that didn’t disappear.  But these few instances of a double eyelid on its own gave me hope.  Maybe I could get one without glue one day!  In the meantime, I kept at the eye glue.  Every single day.  I never work make-up religiously, but my eye glue?  I wouldn’t go out without it.  I even carried a little bottle with me in case I had to wash my face and the glue off and would need to reapply.  And with time, it slowly became more prominent of a lid without glue. Instead of months between an eyelid that stuck around in the morning, it’d become weeks, then days… and then one day, it just stuck around.  

they may be small folds, but they be folds regardless