When I was fourteen years old, my family visited Chinatown every Sunday to do the week’s grocery shopping. I despised these trips. The embarrassment of my mom yelling at the top of her lungs for me across the crowd in the busy streets was unbearable. In answering to her, I would drag several heavy bags of groceries she made me carry to her with everyone looking at me. Then, when the groceries got heavy, she made me stand at the corner of a bank and wait for her to do more shopping. I had to stand there with bags of groceries piled against my side and with people walking by. It was this moment that I hated and hoped to escape. I felt stupid and idiotic because I am standing there, in the way on a crowded street, afraid I would be seen by classmates.
I know what would happen if classmates saw me because in school, there was this girl that was teased because she was often seen by her classmates in Chinatown, standing there with groceries. The boys in the class would call her funny names. I felt sorry for that girl because I knew how it felt. Even though I wanted to comfort her, I was much more afraid of being seen as being like her. I could never explain this to my mom, since she would just tell me, “Ignore those comments.” My mom could not understand how pernicious it is to be teased and made fun of at school. I tried to convince her to do her shopping elsewhere, but, of course, it never worked.
After about a year of those Sunday trips, I stopped shopping with my mom in Chinatown. Something about my growing up ended them. My mom continues to go there every Sunday to get the best bargains for her groceries. Looking back, now being more mature, I feel silly for my reasons for avoiding and hating those Sunday trips. Now I realized that without those trips to Chinatown, my mom and I have missed out on a lot of time we could have spent together.
It is a Chinese tradition for a mother to pull her daughter to Chinatown and teach her how to pick out and but the freshest groceries, to tell her the stores where the best bargains are, and to introduce her to what meals to cook to fit each season. Despite how much the daughter hates going on these Sunday trips to Chinatown, she will eventually thank her mother later on when she has to do her own grocery shopping.