#28ChineseMemories Day 2: When Did I Learn English?

A picture of me as a baby with my dad and my sister Lisa.
A picture of me as a baby with my dad and my sister Lisa.

From the moment I could talk (whenever that was) until Kindergarten, I spoke Taishanese, my parents’ dialect from their part of China. I spent most of my time with my family and relatives, and, at that point, nobody in my family except my sisters and older brother knew English too well. So all of our family gatherings were in Taishanese.

Then, I entered into Kindergarten, and, well, I don’t recall how exactly I learned English considering my limited exposure to it prior to entering school. I’m not sure if my siblings helped me learn or if I just naturally picked up on the language.

I just know that I made friends in Kindergarten and did well enough to go on to the first grade. Now that I think about it, perhaps I learned a little English through family friends or my parents’ employees at the family restaurant. However I learned, I luckily didn’t have any issue acclimating to English.

These days, I speak primarily English with my siblings and cousins, and a mix of Taishanese and English with my parents (aka “Chinglish”).