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  • Torn

    They fed me notions that tie the intricacies of our vessels with shame. Plump curves are ones to hide, scars are emblems of weakness, and explorations of corporal pleasure a crime. The body is consistently under scrutiny—the judgment of nosy relatives babbling about weight loss, the repulsive gazes of lust and hostility. Under scrutiny the body is tense, each skein of muscle tightened, ready to flee. Or freeze. Then I found you, and I let go. Relaxation allows each tissue, each pore to absorb collective pain, and collective memories, then allow them to dissipate. The body is not shame but passion. Yet passion has never been well bred. Those moments before I depart, again and again, the touch of your fingers bites my skin. The imminent heartbreak creeps through every cell in me. I would have bound me to you with ropes and had us lie face to face unable to move but move on each other, unable to feel but feel each other. In that world, we could conclude our passion infinitely. To end would be to begin again. Only you, only me. I am rash but so are you. I am jealous but so are you. I am brute with love but so are you. Neither of us has the upper hand, we wear matching wounds. You are my twin, my best friend, my lover, my home. You are my paradox. With you I am patient enough to number each of your lashes, too impatient to get undressed. Skin is waterproof but my skin is not waterproof against you. You flooded me, blinded me, drowned my rationality. I let you wade through me, with no boat at the gate and the tide still rising. I am afraid. Afraid of the day when I can no longer behold your clavicle, the collar bone, extending in an elegant slope, outlining the sharp angles of your shoulders, when I can no longer bury myself in your grooves and edges, breathing in the slight scent of fresh wood sage and cinnamon. Afraid of the day when I can no longer feel your scapula, the shoulder blades protruding as your spine curls in a reach to decrease the negative space between us, when I can no longer run my palm down the burning skin on your back, startled by the bursting strength contained in the flesh and bone. Afraid of the day when I can no longer count the thirteen bones that form the skeleton of your face. I am no longer allowed to kiss you from your brow bone, down the bump on the bridge of your nose, to the dimple that adorns the carved borders of your chin. In this helpless instant, I linger on the ample volume of your lips, your taste gushing like a sugar high to my brain. I find myself in your skin, myself lodged in your bones. My body knows you, welcomes you, and thirsts for you. So what’ll happen when it's torn from you? I am afraid. I am afraid this torn feeling is no longer an unfamiliar one. Perhaps the essence of being a global citizen, a multicultural young person, a traveling nomad with connections across the world is the fact that I am never with each person I love for long enough. Every time I begin to feel joy, it is already time to say goodbye. Goodbye, to you across the ever-expanding universe, to you who rapidly changes and grows to someone I no longer recognize, to you whom I do not know when the next time we meet will be. As loneliness and confusion dawn, only the spiral brings solace. The spiral imprinted in the swirls of your hair—on the back of your head and on the corners of your body—reminds me that everything diverges and then converges again. And again. Soon I will be pulled back by the spiral, to those moments when I hear my best friend’s laughter, hold my Grandma’s wrinkled hand, or feel your lips on mine once more. As the idiom goes: “分久必合,合久必分。” Editor(s): Chris F., Charlotte C. Photo Credits: Unsplash

  • everything girl

    Little girlhood slipping into the mangled mouth of summer: raw as our blacktop-skinned knees, toppling fearless against the ground over & over as if gravity itself would learn to stop wounding us. Hold us in the way we were meant to be held. Girlhood, I skinsearch. I am holding this body like a clock ticking too slow. Like a question fished out from between my legs. On the last train back home, I girl-watch until every woman is someone I want & want to become, my hair tied up like an invitation to touch me anywhere, but especially on the bare & tender nape of my neck. Even as a secret. Especially as a secret. Oh, girlhood, I tried. I sunburnt until it looked satin & practiced crying like I meant it, carried two sprays of perfume on my wrists nightly. Prickling heat all over me. Even my vengeance was all for you: teething my scalp with a buzzcut. Slinging men’s ties around my noosed & animal throat. Nothing more girl than wanting to bypass your own skin, to consume what is the same as you because every girl that I have wanted was once graceless, too & running not away, but for the motion of it. Every girl learns fear thinking she invented it. Editor(s): Alisha B., Uzayer M., Luna Y. Photo Credits: Unsplash

  • Perpetual Foreigner

    I feel like we often focus on the white man's assumption of being a foreigner in America, but we never focus on the perpetual foreigner's search for each other. I've had multiple interactions with Asian people and people of other ethnic groups, and the first, and sometimes only, thing they say to me is: "Where are you from?"-- I think I've even gotten this question more from them than from white people. Ever since I was younger, at nail salons, at sushi bars at the grocery store, or even at school on the rare occasion that we’d have an Asian exchange student join class, I’d be asked about where I was from. But in these situations, I never feel the urge to reply with a bitter tone or to say: “I’m from Tampa Bay” even though I know what they’re really trying to ask. Once when I was at work, a Hispanic man came in with his wife and came up to me and asked, "How long have you been here (in America)?" From the way he delivered the question and the way he searched my eyes, I somehow knew what to say. I knew he wasn’t just asking about my origins, but that he was asking for familiarity. Instead of telling him I was raised here and was adopted, I kept my story vague but true by answering, “I came here when I was only 10 months old, but my grandfather had come here in the 1940s.” At my response, he became more relaxed and started relating to me with his experiences in America. He ranted to me about how he’d gone to a Cuban sandwich shop only to find two ‘gringos’ behind the counter. His chosen terminology caught me off guard, for it was the first time I’d heard the word ‘gringo’ used in a real life conversation. It had also struck me since he used it so casually, as if it were an inside joke we had. Similarly, my longtime friend and, at one point neighbor, was also a Chinese adoptee, she and I always shared some sort of subconscious understanding. From the faces I can remember, she, my sister, and I were the only Asian kids, or even people, in the neighborhood. I don’t know if it was because we were enrolled at the same school or if it was because of our ethnic and adoptee background, but I always felt at ease with her. It also may have been due to the fact that we all had been called each others’ name at least once during our elementary school career. But even after elementary school, when we were able to understand the absurdity of the false idea that “we all look the same,” we banded together and felt comfortable with each other to a point where we could turn others’ misconceptions into our own inside joke. An inside joke similar to the Hispanic man’s. These interactions make me consider this question from a different angle. How "perpetual foreigners” seek each other out... for comfort, relatability, or just for someone who won't see them as a perpetual foreigner. To be seen as a perpetual foreigner means to be seen as an outsider, a misfit. It makes you feel like you don’t belong. Even if one identifies as an Asian American, Asian is usually the only thing people see. It doesn’t matter that I speak perfect English or even if I tell them that English is the only language I know, my Americanism is never assumed, and my citizenship is always returned to China. It’s as if my US Certificate of Citizenship came with a “Made in China” sticker, just to help clarify that I am not (just) American. Another common question I receive is, “Do you speak Chinese?” Although I am Chinese, I am also adopted. And although my adoptive mom is half Chinese, she never learned the vernacular. So, my answer to this question is always no. My answer, no matter what race the questioner identifies as, always brings disappointment. My no means no possibility of a reply to the eager demand for me to, “Say something cool in Chinese!” But it also means no to the opportunity for someone to be able to communicate with me in the language they dream and think in. For their words to flow fluidly and their tongue to taste the familiar dialect they know so well. To be able to share secrets that only we can hear. Though, there are two sides to this assumed foreignness, just as there are two labels within my cultural identity. The label perpetual foreigner isn’t just a reminder that “you are not one of us,” but it serves as a reminder of the distance that each of those cultural labels create. Visually, an Asian-American is not American and culturally, they are not Asian. This sense of cultural disconnection creates common ground for deemed perpetual foreigners, one where they can identify their differences, but also share the difference others see in them. Their ignorance is our inside joke. We may not know it, but we all understand it. Editors: Lang D., Joyce P., Leila W. Photo credit

  • “the universe is so much bigger than you realize"

    Every spring, I wonder how the worms survive the frost. Surely, the red-breasted robins need to feed in order to sing the way they do. a lullaby for the hunger, for a mother following her children through window pleats of sunlight. a jumble of feet pushing chlorinated goodbyes against a neighborhood pool’s tiles. A well of pesto in my morning toast steals its way down in coruscating rivulets running through my fingers. A common thief’s treasure for the taking. What, asks the internet, is a Saint? This is where our knowledge diverges. What, asks my father, do you have left to lose? That week I spent with you under the concave belly of a church’s rafters. We played that one word game on your phone & avoided the eyes of God which is to say the elderly lady in apartment A206, clanging her keys across the hallway & turning her back every time you come over. asking me, Gonna settle down with a nice boy soon, honey? as if through the apartment wall I hadn’t been reading a Siken poem to you & watching your chest rise and fall. Watching is the same as consumption, someone once told me, but I had to choke out your name, all bone-splintered & fractured marrow to watch you come running. Forgive me, for to name something is to lay claim to it. Forgive me, for I cannot help but want your white-hot brand on my skin. In another universe, I am something more than a hunger. I devour buttered bread in the morning & your laughs in the checkout lane. In another universe, none of my words are holy because I spend all my love recklessly at the cashiers instead of turning it into grimy pocket change. In another universe, I am something more than how the hours keep on beating out a tempo with his mistress’ back against the wall. I am something more than this belly full of want. In another universe I’m so hungry for it, baby. Editors: Alisha B., Blenda Y., Luna Y. Photo credit

  • Asian-Americans in Cinema - Modern Films to Watch and Love

    Everything, Everywhere, All at Once - a laudable film that distinctly centers an Asian-American narrative - dominated at the 96th Annual Academy Awards with seven wins and eleven nominations. For good reason. The film is heartwarming, heartbreaking, brilliant, and complex. Its success is groundbreaking in the Asian-American community. Michelle Yeoh is the first Southeast Asian-American woman to earn the Best Actress Oscar, and many applaud Ke Huy Quan of Indiana Jones and The Goonies fame for his comeback, when he was initially pushed into retirement during the early 2000s for a lack of opportunity. With the film’s astounding success in mind, I’d like to reflect on some historic films that—like Everything, Everywhere, All at Once—have transformed pop culture by including Asian-American actorsand Asian-American culture in their narratives. Everything, Everywhere, All at Once Where to begin with this movie - first and foremost, it is strange. It is a wonder how a sci-fi comedy, a film often overlooked by the Academy and often excluded from the category of “high art,” could become so universally loved. In watching the movie itself, however, its depth becomes abundantly clear. What this film proves is that Asian-American individuals can have many kinds of stories. A common pitfall I find in many movies that center Asian-American narratives (and in general, racial/ethnic minority narratives) is that sometimes, suffering and generational trauma is utilized in a tried and tested way to appeal to the audience. While Everything, Everywhere, All at Once still possesses some of the same features, it presents them in a deeply realistic manner - despite the movie being incredibly sci-fi. Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) is more than a harsh tiger mom, and her relationship with her daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu) is the most realistic depiction I’ve ever seen. The frustration from both in attempting to understand one another is deeply understandable, with neither one being villainized. In addition, I find that many stories with these types of relationships tend towards villainizing the parent and depicting them as set in their ways - blunt and unchangeable. Evelyn is our complex main character - it is not so often you see an older, Chinese-American immigrant mother in a leading role on the big screen. This movie has more than earned all of its acclaims. Crazy Rich Asians This may seem an odd contender for “historic Asian-American films.” It’s a feel-good rom-com, a genre not typically known for its depth. I would argue that it is necessary, however, to acknowledge that many films featuring racial/ethnic minority characters are held to a high standard to perform as deeper and more meaningful than films that feature their white counterparts. Crazy Rich Asians, upon its release, was the first modern story with an all-Asian cast in 25 years - the last being The Joy Luck Club. It is an earnest, straightforward romance, and its road to production wasn’t easy. It is historic for the very reason that Asian-American actors are permitted to have a film that is simply fun - not just a romantic comedy, but a form of interesting lifestyle content on the lives of the Asian uppercrust. That isn’t to say the film is completely unserious or without depth - it centers a unique discussion on the clashing experience of mainland Asian and diaspora Asian individuals, featuring an Asian-American female lead alongside her wealthy mainland boyfriend. This is a discourse not too commonly acknowledged in any form of media, but deeply important nonetheless. Minari Make no mistake, Minari is a distinctly Asian-American film - despite a large portion of the film’s dialogue being in Korean. No film has so blatantly captured the struggles, successes, and mild comedy of being an American immigrant. The film follows a Korean family who has just recently moved to a small plot of land in Arkansas. Like the leafy green titular vegetable, the members of this family are transplants: settling their roots in new soil. What better way to capture this common Asian-American narrative? The film carries a tone of level realism, with each family member struggling in their new home. There are frustrations, struggles, and honesty. It is a deeply intimate look into what it means to be an American immigrant. To be clear, this is no glamorized American dream narrative. And how ironic that the film itself was placed as a contender (and awarded) for Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes. The situation was comparable to the narrative presented in Minari. Filled with a little disappointment, but unfortunately, deeply realistic. Minari is a must-watch for those children of the diaspora, seeking comfort and yearning to be understood. The Farewell Another film that focuses on the disparity in the experiences of mainland Asian and Asian-American individuals, The Farewell follows Chinese-American Billi, who travels to Changchun to say goodbye to her grandmother, who is entirely unaware she has only a few weeks to live. The family gathers under the guise of a joyful wedding to explain their presence, cleverly deceiving the family matriarch. It is a story that puts tradition under the lenses of American youths. Billi is torn, navigating her family’s expectations and values alongside her own, conflicted over whether or not to reveal her grandmother’s condition to her. A heart-wrenching, honest, and incredibly witty film, The Farewell is a love letter to all those American immigrants who feel divorced from their own culture. Billi is an oddity to her family, with her parents concerned over how well she’ll be able to keep the secret. Nevertheless, her journey is one that is ultimately one of family and the complex dynamics that define it. The Half of It The Half of It follows Ellie, a young Asian-American girl, growing up in a small Canadian town. It is a sweet, simple coming-of-age film featuring an LGBTQ+ romance and a heartfelt friendship. It captures the somewhat suffocating experience of being a minority in a predominantly white town, unlikely but genuine friendships, and the distance between immigrant parents and their first-generation children. Ellie’s struggles are depicted relatably and with a certain sorrow. The story is simple, human, and small-scale - and something often missing from our Asian-American stories is these genuine, charming coming-of-age stories that don’t attempt a massive scope. What’s more, it doesn’t place great importance upon romance, but rather, friendship - the act of mutually understanding another person is a powerful one, especially when your lives and upbringings are so incredibly different. The titular half references the idea that humans were born with four legs, four arms, and two heads - but were then split in half, each half searching for their other perfect fit. The relationship in the story that embodies this myth is predicated upon that essential understanding of another person. These films are my personal favorites, and are wildly relevant to modern Asian-American cinema, often breaking free of the mold for minority stories in one way or another. This representation is incredibly transformative, bringing to light distinct issues in our community in a manner that is unique, genuine, and without romanticization. It is incredibly important to appreciate these films for what they are: instances of art that bring a marginalized group of people a form of comfort, and even more, a form of understanding. That is what art aims to do the most - to be understood and make others feel understood. Editors: Danielle C., Lang D., Marie H., Claudia S., Erika Sources: Image Source: Unsplash

  • Why I rejected Gabriel last night

    He’s wonderful. Gabriel is tall, nearing 6’2” Athletic; varsity soccer Stanford; star student with big dreams and has himself figured out; Chases purpose Thinks open-mindedly and feels deeply Understands me well and we have so much in common. Is kind and caring and funny and perfect on paper He learned love from his affectionate family After all, people say I’ve won the lottery I know I have: Mature; great influence Strong, noble values Honest and genuine Husband material Within reach A real-life dream– I was reminded last night when I saw him again And you, who is not nearly as tall, Athletic, but not to his extent Community college attendee with no ambitious plans and not driven to figure it out; Chases pleasure Harbors hatred and suppresses emotion Doesn't get me and we’re just too different. Is kind and caring and funny but no good for me You learned love from your divorced parents After everything, people expect me to resent you I know I should: Immature; drove me downward Unhealthy values Dishonest and inconsiderate A long way to go Distant and… do you still think about me? I don’t remember you well– it’s been so long Countless things to love about Gabriel, but Gabriel deserves a girl who loves him. I don’t love him. the philosopher Zizek said, if you have reasons to love someone, you do not love them. Real love transcends reason, and I avoid fake things I have every reason to love Gabriel but for no reason, I love you Editors: Chris F. Nicole O. Nadine R. Image Source: Unsplash

  • this city is a planet / radioactive

    my heart is too big for my chest and you smile like the world isn’t ending soon catch stars as they fall in the west sky and i wanna bleed till i’m empty too / / where are you? this city is a planet / radioactive and my parents wonder why i’m acting out fissile skin / summer sin / things that split uncontrollably making stars out of chain reactions darling / i need things / to hang on the ceiling i’m bored / wanting / more early mornings / learning warnings off my bedroom floor the walls are too close to touch and nobody here talks much i hate the quiet just like i miss home this city is all panic / stirred out of static burning houses leaking at the mouth fickle rain / running paint / think i wait for you constantly paper hearts drying in the bathtub darling / i need things / to cover cracks in the ceiling i won’t / watch them / grow early mornings / searching warnings for things i don’t know maybe i want too much and pretty things hurt to touch i love the broken glass like i loved you this city is erratic / it looks like your absence i think the sadness is a habit now i grab the sun on its way down ’cause darling / i need things / to leave on the ceiling and your / boarded / door early mourning / curdling warnings just beneath my pores fissile skin / running thin / and my hands full of you and me making stars out of chain reactions Editors: Claudia S., Leila W.

  • Terbang dan Mengangkasa

    i. Being at school from 6 am to 5 pm, carrying family expectations as well as our status as a sandwich generation, and a burning desire to achieve more: being one of the many ambitious Indonesian students is a story that has not yet been explained to the whole world. Each one of us possesses the thirst to fly, to spread our wings, and to sharpen our blades. Drawn in ecstatic, for whom are we trying to prove ourselves? Is it social expectations or just to feed our hunger to explore the world? ii. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. In Indonesia, the equivalent proverb would be “Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit di junjung tinggi” or “Where the earth is trodden, there the sky is held high”. It simply advises us to follow the local norms, and be respectful towards the local communities and their beliefs. To live here means to live in a world full of culture and traditions, where we need to follow the rules not merely due to obedience but also due to respect and acceptance. From Sabang to Merauke, we are more than 5000 kilometers away, with different languages, different cultures and traditions, but we still consider ourselves as one. iii. Is Indonesia located in Bali? This question, honestly, makes us bloated. But we replied with a smile, sometimes with a small laugh, “No, Bali is actually located in Indonesia instead.” Perhaps, mayhaps, we are not that well known. But we exist, we strive, and we roam to prove ourselves, to level up ourselves. iv. To represent and uplift our country is not an option, it is a need. Tell me, how do you define a stereotypical Indonesian student? A thousand reasons to give up, but I choose to stand still. Unwavering. Carrying the voice of my people to be recognized. Terbang dan mengangkasa, to fly to the sky. Editors: Uzayer M., Alisha B., Blenda Y.

  • Verse

    Skipping verses Jump Across the galaxy Skipping stones across The pond Splashing waves, Ripple across your face Words that sing From your lips, red Waves emanate Softly pushing Air across The vacuum Of space Silence, gentle, violent, ominous Waves that spread Words that sing From your lips, blue Kissed by death The ice that brushes Your skin Gently, Gripping Your cells, tearing Membrane, skin Ending, you You, you You, deep down Into abyss, Strange, the verse The multiverse Multiple verses Skipping across The pond, the lake Ripples in water Still Kiss, Blue lips Red lips Reality Fractures.

  • Shinta Ratri's Legacy

    On February 1, 2023, in Yogyakarta, Indonesian icon of LGBTQIA+ rights and trans woman Shina Ratri passed away at the age of 60. Ratri was known as a leader of an Islamic boarding school and provided safety for trans women. According to the New York Times, she passed away due to a heart attack. Ratri transitioned as a teenager and has since been a key figure that has demonstrated how Indonesian individuals can practice their faith regardless of cis-heteronormative expectations. In 2008 with two colleagues, Ratri founded Pesantren Wariah al-Fatah, a school and simultaneous safe space for transgender women to have in a largely Muslim region where men and women often pray separately at Mosques. Researcher Kyle Knight had sat down with Ratri to talk about militant Islamists who forced her to shut down the school during the ‘fever pitch’ of an anti-LGBTQIA+ campaign that started in 2016 in Indonesia. Knight reported that in February, the Islamic Jihad Front (FJI) demanded for the school to be closed down. “Two nights later, the FJI summoned Ratri to the community meeting hall. [...] “I told them about how Islam accommodates diversity: people with disabilities, waria [trans women], all kinds of people deserve Allah’s love,” Ratri explained. “I recited passages of the Qur’an, and explained how we teach waria [the Indonesian word for trans woman] how to face death as Muslims, how to pray as Muslims. I told them about how I was a boy when I was born, but my soul is that of a woman.” (Knight, 2016). Many Indonesian individuals cherish the impact that Shinta had on LGBTQIA+ rights and the safety of transgender women to practice their religion in a safe space without discrimination. This is especially needed after a new law was passed in Indonesia in December 2022 that reportedly banned sex outside of marriage with additional limitations on free speech. This new rule can oppress transgender women and same-sex couples who are legally forbidden to marry. Therefore, Shinta’s school is even more needed for trans women and couples to be safe from anti-LGBTQIA+ oppression. According to Italian photographer Fulvia Bugani, who lived with waria in the school for almost three weeks in 2015, “They come to Yogyakarta just because they know about this school. [...] they know that there they can pray and live like a woman in a good atmosphere”. It is an achievement for the school to be recognized by the many that need or respect its purpose and bring hope for people to continue using the spaces she cultivated for safety and inclusive faith. Shinta has demonstrated an inclusive and open heart for people regardless of gender or sexuality. In October 2021 on the Metro TV talk show “Kick Andy”, Shinta stated that “it is our destiny to be waria; it is not a choice” (Knight, 2016). For many transgender Indonesian individuals, it may be comforting to know you do not hurt your faith for who you are – being Muslim and being LGBTQIA+ is a valid experience. Our condolences and rest well, Shinta. Editors: Danielle C., Lang D., Joyce P., Leila W. Photo Credits: La Prensa Latina Bilingual Media

  • Lucky Baby

    "An adopted baby is a lucky baby," said the elderly church ladies who informed me of their prayers for my arrival. "You should feel so blessed that Jesus brought you here," they’d continue. “This was all a part of God’s special plan for you.” They would gush over my adoption as if I’d earned it. But with every insistence of my “luck,” they would always forget to mention the part of my narrative in which an abandoned baby is an unwanted baby. My luck as an adoptee was often backed by the tragedy of China’s One Child Policy and how God’s plan allowed me to have a life here in America, in the land of the free. Additionally, they’d also tell me I was lucky to be in a country where I could know Jesus, stringing together the notion that the CCP banned the word of God– but their facts on that point were a little bit erroneous. Then again, most of these elderly ladies grew up when the Chinese Revolution heightened with the fall of mainland China to communism and the fear of the Second Red Scare pervaded their minds. Nevertheless, I believed in this luck and clung to it. I believed I was special and that my adoption was a benefit; it saved me from the clutches of the communist party that rules my motherland. It preserved my happiness and ignorance of the truth, like how Annie’s locket protected her from the broken promise that her parents would return. But just as Annie had to face her truth, I eventually faced mine. When the elderly church ladies would come up to me and tell me about their prayers, I always wondered what exactly they were all praying about– the scariest thing about my adoption was that I got good parents (they knew I did), and that the plane to America didn’t crash (it didn’t). After mulling these prayers over in my head, I dug into what adoption meant, as a full process. Adoption in full requires a child as well as the abandonment of the child, yet the former requirement seems to be the only part that is remembered and the latter forgotten. The word “abandoned” used to be just another word for me and was never associated with the word “adoption.” It wasn’t until after I watched Nanfu Wang’s One Child Nation and Amanda Lipitz’s Found that the word “abandoned” opened the wound it had made 18 years ago. Even lucky coins can have a dark side, for there cannot be yin without yang. As yang is light and male, yin is dark and female-- and in this case unwanted. The loss that is overshadowed by luck remains a mystery for me and most other adoptees. Carving the luck out of an adoption story doesn't get rid it's the grief and loss. Adoption is composed of both happy and sad, loss and gain-- both are essential to its truth and both never disappear. Pushing away feelings doesn't get rid of them, but only preserves them for later. Thousands of questions and possibilities flood my mind when I think about my “gift:” Was I given up or was I taken? The fact that some adoptees were stolen from their families creates another if and a yearning to know the full story of their beginning. Is there someone out there waiting for me to find them? After learning about Kati Pohler’s story of how her biological father was burdened with guilt for giving up his daughter and that every year since, on the same day, he waited for her on a bridge in Hangzhou. What if there is someone out there waiting on a bridge for me? Or when I overhear others accept compliments I’ll never receive: “You have your mother’s eyes and your fathers nose.