Independence day for Jacob

Rachel was wondering when we would consider Jacob to be properly walking, and my criteria was that he would stand up and walk in a direction where the nearest support was more than three steps away. Jacob definitely did that today at the Takoma Park Fourth of July Parade, where he also showed off his standing, his clapping, and his flag-waving skills. Now the scary part begins!

One Big Hapa Family

Jacob Anderkoo

100% Hapa

Meet Jacob Anderkoo. He’s 1/2 Chinese (“Koo”), 1/4 German, 1/8 Irish, 1/8 Norwegian (“Ander”) — and 100% Hapa.

I first encountered the term “Hapa” from the Hapa Project. It’s not an acronym for “Half-Asian/Pacific American,” but rather the Hawaiian word for “half,” which originally applied to the white part of a mixed-race individual’s ancestry. (Thank you, Hawaii, for also giving us the term “wiki-wiki”; what would kids use to shortcut their homework if it wasn’t for you?). I like having a special term for Americans who have some Asian heritage; I hope it’s worn as a badge of pride.

Rachel and I have made a commitment to teach Jacob Chinese as well as English, but it won’t be easy. I’m the only member of the household who speaks any Chinese (Mandarin), and while I’m told my accent is excellent, my vocabulary is extremely limited, and I’m illiterate to boot. I suspect many Chinese-Americans (whether in mixed-cultural parenting partnerships or not) face this same challenge.

In any event, this is the lens through which we’ll be looking at bilingual Chinese-English education – courses, books, CDs, etc. I look forward to sharing and also learning from our fellow bilingual Chinese-English bloggers!

Anderkoo blog reboots

After several years of understandable neglect, we’ve decided to reboot our blog. We’ll be focusing on the most important thing in our life, little Jacob Anderkoo (now 1 year old), and our efforts to teach him both English and Chinese. I can’t promise we’ll be able to write anywhere as much as we used to (oh those halcyon days!), but at least we’ll make the effort.

Rather than create yet another blog, we decided to commandeer this one. “Anderkoo” perfectly captures what we’re trying to do: create something new out of two very different traditions. Let’s see where this goes.

Obama MA’08: Howdy, neighbors!

Last night I phonebanked out of Harvard Law School, and by sheer coincidence the group was covering Ward 4-1my neighborhood. After spending a week in South Carolina campaigning for Obama, it was refreshing (and fun!) to call around to my own neighbors. (People are also less likely to hang up on you right away when you tell them you live around the corner). At one point I realized, about 15 seconds into my spiel, that I’d called the woman next door, whom I’d convinced to put up an Obama sign the day before. We had a good chuckle, and I went back to connecting with all the other folks I can now call “neighbor.”