My family tree looks like a NCAA tournament bracket

I have a pretty big family. You wouldn’t really know it because I don’t really talk about it (and despite what you may believe I am not related to every single other Asian person out there).

My dad was one of 12 siblings. My mom was the oldest of three. Between the two of them, I think I have 43 first cousins (forgive me if I left someone out). Yep there’s so many of them that I can’t keep track of everyone. And with about 3/4 of those cousins having kids of their own, I don’t even know how many second cousins I have. 100? I’ve yet to go to a family reunion for just my dad’s side of the family with EVERYONE there but it’s safe to say that it’d be freaking huge.

The thing with having such a big family like that is you get lost in the shuffle. I honestly believe about at least 1/3 of my cousins don’t remember me or my name and I know for a fact, a lot of their kids have no idea that I exist. We didn’t grow up with any of them close by (some of my cousins still live on the other side of the world and I’ve only met them twice). Plus my sisters and I only grew up speaking English whereas a lot of my cousins speak their native languages with their own families at home. Let’s also not go into how no one has the same surname so future generations will have an incredibly hard time tracking down how we’re all related.

It’s very weird when I meet people who are only children and their parents were only children as well. I can’t imagine a life where you don’t have any siblings or even cousins for that matter. So much attention on just one person sees like it would be too much to handle.

It’s also weird when I hear of my friends going to every single one of their cousins’ weddings even if they live cross country. Then again, most of my friends only have on average 10 cousins so this is rather manageable. Plus again, all their cousins know their name and that they exist.

Still it’s pretty cool to realize that I’m related to a bunch of people. It’s a bit hard to track down ancestry due to coming from an Asian background where records aren’t kept as well as those in western culture. I can track back a few generations but then it just ends. I’m super jealous of my friends who know about their families’ backgrounds and how they fit in wars or who they’re all related to. I researched the background of my friends and found that not only was he distantly related to President Obama on his mother’s side, he also was apparently a descended of King James IV of Scotland on his dad’s side! As a historian, I’m freaking out about this and they’re like “oh ok.” And I’m like how can you be so nonchalant about that???

I think this is why I also became a historian. I can’t track down my family’s history in as much detail as I would like so I’ll just tackle the history of the country I was born in. Some people will probably say, it doesn’t matter where you came from, it’s what you do with your life now. Well my response to that is, first, thanks a lot for dismissing my entire career. Second, I do want to know where I came from because if it wasn’t for who came before me, I wouldn’t be where I am today.


The Annual Family Movie Trip


When my sisters and I go home for the holidays, it’s become a yearly tradition to take our parents out to the movies. This is actually a bigger deal than you might think because my parents rarely go to the movie theater. They don’t feel the need because they (finally!) have cable TV, Netflix, the library, and a ROKU so they can watch all the K-Dramas they want. Going to the movies cost a lot of money and the sound is too loud (or so says my mom). They don’t mind waiting until it comes out on DVD.

Even so, we still like to take them out when we’re all home just so they can experience the movie the way it was meant to be. Last year, as everyone in the family thoroughly enjoys James Bond, we took them to see Skyfall. This year, after a positive attitude towards seeing Tangled on DVD, we decided to go see Frozen. Animated movies can be hit or miss with my parents. We try to take them to see the Pixar movies because we think that’s the best animated movies out there (other than the Kung Fu Panda movies and How to Train Your Dragon which they surprisingly liked because they thought Toothless looked like our pug). We soon discovered that there are certain types of animated movies that they like and don’t. They will say yes to humans, talking animals, and objects that act like humans. They do not like movies with monsters or inanimate objects that don’t talk or cars that talk. Ratatouille, Toy Story 3, Brave, and Up were all huge hits while Cars and Wall-E tanked VERY badly. (To be fair, Cars is probably MY least favorite Pixar movie ever and I still haven’t seen Cars 2.)

So to test them out for this year’s movie, like I said we had them watch Tangled and they greatly enjoyed it. The story was a hit, good songs, there were humans, and Pascal the chameleon reminded them of our pug. We figured then if they like that movie, then they would greatly enjoy Frozen.

Now if you haven’t seen Frozen yet, I’m not going to spoil it for you but I’m going to tell you that you need to go see it. It’s one of the best movies Disney (not counting Pixar) has put out in a LONG time. I would rank it in the era with The Lion King. It’s wonderfully animated, memorable songs, and a very funny/emotional storyline. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Mainly because whoever did the marketing for the movie had no idea how to market it. My sister and I thought it was going to be about the stupid snowman but it ended up being a delightful surprise.

On our trip to the theater, we soon discovered that it was take your parent to the movies day and we were just like everyone else. Except for the fact that were 20 years older than all the other kids in the theater. Unfortunately for us, we had to sit near the front of the theater which is not really fun. But this was a new theater back home that had seats that reclined so it wasn’t really that bad. The parents seemed pretty excited about the Disney short that was shown in front of the movie. If you have seen it then you will chuckle that my mom thought that they had actually come out into our actual theater.

Watching the movie again was a delight for me. But it was really good for my parents as well. They seemed enthralled throughout the entire movie. No one fell asleep! Nor was it too loud for them either. They enjoyed Olaf, laughed appropriately (sometimes they don’t catch the jokes, plus there is no closed captioning in theaters), got scared/nervous during certain scenes, and gasped at the twist. It was a delightful time for everyone. It’s a good sister movie so seeing it with my sisters again was like “Oh hey, I appreciate you a little more, *nods politely at each other”. It was a good family bonding time. Also I might add that even though the theater was packed with kiddies, they were all quite well-behaved. No one shouted or cried. Well done, parents. We all walked out saying everyone enjoyed it, which is when you know the film is well done.

So that was our family’s annual trip to the movies. Because we as a whole group don’t do it that often, it makes it more special for us. Sometimes we even buy popcorn (GASP, no really this is a big deal, though our family LOVES popcorn). No idea what will be out next year for us to enjoy, but whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll be a good time.

Image from: http://monorii.tumblr.com/post/72555957053/disneys-frozen-minimalist-posters-elsanna