Friday, June 9, 2017

姑娘, Daughter

It has taken most of the week to convince the family to stop trying to get Eileen to speak Chinese. Her grandfather now waves away anybody who asks her, "<How do you say _____ in Chinese?>" The extended family still stares at her as she speaks English with her mother and me. The husband of her cousin once removed visited last night. They'd never met. The first thing he said to her was "<Study Chinese.>"

Not that they ask Hanna and me, not that I'd asnswer it this way if they did, but I don't mind that Eileen can't speak Chinese anymore. Of course I'd love for her to be able to speak with the people who raised her for the first four and a half years of her life. And of course being able to speak both Chinese and English might help her as an adult. But she's lost Chinese, not through coercion or trickery but through her choice to sound like her friends.