Chinatown Adventures of a “Token White Girl”

Chinatown will always hold a special place in my heart. Growing up in San Francisco, I lived 5 blocks away from the heart of Chinatown. I knew the best places for dimsum (like Chinese tapas) and how to say my favorite pastries in Chinese (cha-shoo-boaw). My favorite Sanrio character was Pekkle (Hello Kitty was too main stream!). My grade schools were 60% Asian. Most of my friends at school were Chinese. I learned a lot of valuable lessons from them. That the phrase “flower bridge” spoken in Cantonese sounds like “fuck you” . That having skinny legs makes you better at Chinese jumprope. And dumplings in your lunchbox beats PB&J any day.

Our friendships formed as little girls, we thought nothing of race. As we became more aware of the world around us and still stayed friends in high school, at times I was jokingly referred to as the “token white girl” of the group. Get ready, I have pictures to prove it!

I was part of an Asian posse. I love these girls, we went through some painfully awkward times together, as you can see! picture circa 1999
8th grade dance shot! (Is anything worse than middle school?) I loved that peacock shirt so much and if I hadn’t worn it to the point of thread-bare, I’d totally still wear it today.
Summer after freshman year of college! Slightly less awkward at least! #ewIhatemyglasses picture circa 2005
Yep, totally ruined this cute pose, and I think it’s hilarious…I promise I fit in better than this picture suggests! picture circa 2008
You might say I was a bit of an “egg”- white on the outside, ‘yellow’- Asian- on the inside.

My maternal grandfather was actually born and raised in China (though he wasn’t racial Asian in the least). It’s in my blood! Here in NYC, I unfortunately do not have the same closeness to the culture. I can count my Asian friends on one hand. I’m still searching for a dimsum place that rivals the dozens I know in San Francisco. Yet, there is still something about Chinatown that makes me feel at home.

When my friend Sage (Remember Sage? The best thing I ever got out of online dating? Who did an awesome feature here?) asked me if I wanted to do a vlog with him exploring NYC Chinatown, I immediately said HELL YES. I put on some sunglasses, asked him to call me “Cliché”, and we took the subway down to Canal Street.
It was the middle of Lunar New Year celebrations. I kept showing off my Chinese knowledge by yelling “Gung Hay Fat Choy!” which means “Happy New Year” in Chinese.

Sorry if that got annoying, Sage. We got a lot of footage which he has brilliantly edited and pieced into a bonafide vlog for your viewing pleasure!

Get ready. In this video you’ll hear my voice and see my (madly enthusiast at times, with -heads up- a positively dorky amount of thumbs ups) body language!

As you can see, we had a blast. It makes me want to do more vlogs! Do you agree?

I gotta recommend subscribing to Sage’s Youtube channel, and I’m not just saying that. He’s been on some great New York adventures, and if you like my blog, they will likely peak your interest! Also, we’ve been talking about collaborating on another one. Any suggestions? Maybe even something totally cliché, like visiting the Statue of Liberty or something. What do you think?

Oh, and I totally found the “weirdest thing” right? I mean, is that even a question? Still, I kinda want to prove this to Sage, so if you comment on the video, it’d be awesome!

About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

12 thoughts on “Chinatown Adventures of a “Token White Girl”

  1. love this! as a former San Franciscan myself and a “eggy-banana”, I’m also super drawn to Chinatown — Flushing is still my favorite part of NYC though. The best!

    1. I’ve heard Flushing is the best, and I’ve still never been! I’m a little ashamed of that fact…it is on my list to get dimsum in Queens! Do you have recommendations?

  2. Erika beat me to it, I was going to say you have to get out to Flushing for the real deal.

    Found your blog on 20SB and look forward to reading!

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