My children, who are 1/2 Chinese and 1/2 Japanese, are caught between Hawaii-Japanese-Americanized influences because of where we live. They don't know any Hoisan Wah. They can speak a few simple phrases in Mandarin and Japanese but aren't fluent in anything except standard American English.
Growing up in Los Angeles County, my family spoke a lot of "Chinglish." My parents and grandparents spoke Hoisan Wah to me and my brothers - and we'd reply in English. It was a galore of blended conversations for the simplest things from shopping at 99 Ranch Market, Kenney Shoe Store or eating dinner.
When Ah-Gung and Ah-Pwah (maternal grandpa and grandma) arrived from China to the U.S. in the 70s, they were strangers to me as a child, but we quickly bonded as they became our caretakers in the absence of our parents, who were busy working dad's grocery store in East L.A.
|Ah-Pwah and Ah-Gung|
I admired Ah-Gung deeply because he was a kind, honest, fun-loving, and sincere man. He was an old soul. I couldn't help but feel at peace in his presence, there was no pretentiousness, no judgment. It was the best feeling in the world, just hanging out and not having to talk. He was the "cool" guy at the swimming pool with his water tricks and the kids would surround him asking him to show them how to do it. I felt so proud that he was my grandpa and always wanted to be with him. He passed away many years ago but I sure miss him.