As any Asian-American young adult knows, our parents take crazy to a whole new level and you don’t want to test them. You would never dream of talking back, sneaking out of the house or bringing a boy home if you wanted to live to see the next sunrise. As a particularly stubborn child I tried to resist what was common knowledge by seeing what I could get away with. It usually wasn’t much and I’ve had many a rice spatula hit against my palm in response — and my mom was still more lenient than others!
The town I grew up in had a particularly large Asian-American population so my best friend also had an Asian mother. The only difference between our parents was that they were from different countries and her mother was even more strict than my own.
When we were younger, about 8 or 9 I’d say, I wanted my friend to sleepover. My mother had no issues with it, but my friend’s mother insisted that she had to go home.
Now, her mother loved to feed us healthy food, which ordinarily would be fine, but the things she tried to feed us weren’t particularly… delicious. At the time I was able to weasel out of it because I had no reason to be healthy, but my friend was constantly training for tennis: aka, she actually had to look after her body. In a last-ditch attempt to get her to “okay” the sleepover I decided to make a deal, and wound up sacrificing my stomach in the process.
One of the dishes my friend’s mother tried to feed us was bitter melon soup and yes, it’s as horrible as it sounds. She insisted it was good for us but the dish was what I suspect is served in hell… as punishment.
I told her mother I would eat a tub of bitter melon soup if we could have the sleepover. I’m not sure if she doubted I’d be able to do it, or if she just wanted to see me eat something healthy, but she agreed to the arrangement.
I ate every last drop of that horrid soup and my friend was able to stay the night. Of course, I wasn’t able to enjoy it because my stomach — and tastebuds — were in horrible pain.
Oh well, sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to get a #win.