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When I was growing up it was either black or white. I’m not sure if there was even authentic Mexican tacos. As far as I was concerned Chinese people only resided in Chinese restaurants or China. Which brings me to my first point, I vividly remember my first crush was a Chinese boy at a restaurant when I was 14 years old. He was the first Asian guy I’d ever seen.
Although I’m from a small town in Ohio, I was lucky because I lived in the city where whites and blacks were pretty integrated. But I didn’t care about that…I was fascinated by anyone that was different. Different defined as neither black nor white. As soon as the new girl moved into town from India I was in her face. I thought she was so pretty. Interestingly enough, her name was Preeti.
Black or white was okay, but Indian, Chinese, or Panamanian was different and different was good. I became the Global Senior Ambassador of the International Students Welcoming Committee of my school. No one gave me that title, I just made it up. But I carried out the duties to educate, integrate, and eradicate ignorance whenever possible. No one really cared. But I did. And I knew one day when I had kids I would make sure they understood how different and special every person was. At least that’s what I thought.
I went to college and became involved in every multicultural, I wanna be you’re friend club I could find. I became an international studies major, an international flight attendant and worked in the international corporate services department at my job. I loved the word international.
I went on to create a family of friends from all cultures, colors and languages. I traveled the world, experienced new religions, and customs. I’ve taken sensitivity classes and resolution classes and even learned never stab meat with a chopstick. I learned that showing the palm of your hand is rude but smiling is never rude. Which brings me to my second point. Smiling is ubiquitous. Everybody gets it.
I later realized that people who I’d never seen was a novelty to me. They seemed alien at first. But were they alien? I loved that I could appreciate how different they were and no one else got it. Like avocado ice cream…. Good but exotic. Which brings me to my third point, avocado ice cream is awesome.
Now I’m a mother. My husband is Chinese. I live in California so I eat lots of avocados and Asian people aren’t alien or even that different from me. As a matter of fact, people are more the same than different. So like smiling there are many things that connect us and more things that are the same than different. So after many years of fascination, I finally got that while it’s important to celebrate our unique perspectives and cultures, we must also be reminded how similar we actually are. Love and family are universal. So are smiles.
Allured by the warm, relaxing international flavor of Los Angeles, Tam Luc blew into California at the turn of 2000, from the freezing grips of the Northwest. While attending college, Tam flew as an International Flight Attendant and first penned several children’s books exploring the connections between people and cultures through the eyes of a child. As an entrepreneur, wife and mother balancing family life and work life is her number one priority. So her first editor was none other than her 12-year-old son. The best decision she ever made. Tam is also the author of the diverse children’s picture book, There’s Somebody in my Room, that is available on Amazon.