Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Back in the land of all things Asian

I'm here in California--it's been about a year since I've been back. It occurs to me that writing that I'm here, there may be people I know in California who are going to say, "Hey, Jennifer, how come you didn't let me know?" The answer can be found a few blog entries back--my Uncle Frank's memorial service is this Friday, so this is a strictly family visit. Folks are coming from all over North America (and London) for the service. My Uncle is being cremated and wishes to have his ashes scattered back in Jamaica.

It's funny, the affiliations we have with certain lands. For example, I realize that I will more than likely spend more time outside of California than within it--and yet, California will always be home. And for my Uncle, I think even though he spent more of his life outside Jamaica than in it, Jamaica was where his heart was. I mean, it is telling that Jamaica is where he wants his remains placed, even while his wife and children continue to live in California.

And so I wonder, will I also want to return to California. It's not the land of my birth (I was born in Flushing, NY), but it is the place I grew up--and it continues to be a place that resonates with me. Is it because this is where my racial consciousness was born? Is it because there is a critical mass of Asian Americans--where Asian American studies as a discipline took off? Or, as I am often heard to recite, is it because if California were its own nation it would have the fifth largest GDP in the world??? Or is it really because of the people--my family and friends--that makes me forever drawn to this place?

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