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[ rants - boba town ]

Kelly Osbourne said in a magazine interview that she never realized her family wasn't normal. I think everyone feels that way, that their life, their family, their home, that all of it is normal and that anything different or new is weird. That's how I felt about my city, average LA suburb with families with 2.5 kids and a dog, just short of "white picket fence" status. Then I opened up the LA Times' City Guide this weekend and discovered that my town has the second highest percentage of Asians in the county.

I always made fun of other cities for being too Asian, for being "Boba Towns" ( Boba Town = town where the number of restaurants specializing in the trendy "boob tea" drinks is greater than the number of public schools ), but I never thought that I lived in one. Growing up I just always assumed that each city had 3 different Chinese markets, 4 different Korean markets and a slew of Indian markets. Heck, I never even realized that most people don't say "market," they say "grocery store". There were just things that I assumed were normal, like 3 pages of Lee's and 4 pages of Kim's in the yearbook. Or permed-hair moms driving mini-vans. Or slowing down to 2 mph and swerving around dips and speedbumps to avoid scratching the car kit on lowered rice rockets. Looking back, had I not lived in a Boba Town, I shouldn't even know what a rice rocket looks like.

Usually when I met someone, they'd know where my city was, but I never thought of it in a "Oh Monterey Park" or "Oh Alhambra" kind of way. I felt removed from that because I went to the high school no one heard of, the high school that served a few neighboring cities that had citizens of different ethnicities. The community calendar (which would show up every December with its glossy pictures and subliminal store advertisements) looked more like a Benetton ad than a photo shoot for A. Magazine. Lies. All lies.

True, there were always a few places I would avoid - anywhere that sold cell phone accessories or fruity air fresheners, but I never realized why. I would hear people debate over which store had the best, least expensive boba drinks, but none of that ever registered in my head. I heard as much Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Punjabe, Gudrati, and whatever other language as English without ever realizing that some people only heard such words on foreign news.

Sadly, even going to college didn't make me realize I lived in a Boba Town. I just thought San Diego was the weird city. But I felt comfortable among the throngs of surfers and tanned bodies, sun-kissed blonde hair and blue eyes and felt uncomfortable among flutter-sleeved tiny Asian girls who looked more 12 than 21 and Asian guys wearing Gap and Banana who I was taller than with my heels on. Since I felt that way, I couldn't be from a Boba Town...

How could it be that a city with a Spanish name could turn so.. Channel 18?

Okay, okay... I live in a Boba Town. There, that wasn't so hard, was it? Ummm.. maybe next time I'll just say I'm from Anaheim.

written by christina

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