Queenie W.



Growing up as an Asian-American, I struggled to communicate with my grandma because of a language barrier. I don’t speak Cantonese and she doesn’t know English well. Trying to talk to one another was like playing a game of charades, a guessing game where we tried to act out our words. In Asian culture, though, families express their love in non-verbal ways. For my grandma, it’s offering me food such as cut fruit. Throughout her house, fruit such as apples and oranges are scattered throughout the kitchen and living room. They’re placed at a Buddhist shrine next to lights and incense. They’re growing in her garden. In 2016, I was visiting my grandma when she offered me a vibrant pink-and-green dragon fruit, which is popular in Vietnam, the country she fled from. Then she ushered me to her backyard where she showed me an enormous dragon fruit-bearing cactus. I smiled. At that moment, without any words, I understood what my grandma wanted to say.