My grandmother is Chinese, Indian, and Jamaican. She married a Venezuelan and had a son who married a white woman from Canada who’s Irish and Scottish. I feel like a mix of everything but also an outsider meaning, that I’m never going to fully understand. The only way to understand something is to ask more questions. The desire to belong makes me curious about the people around me. I’m proud when I ask a question that sparks something inside somebody.
I dedicate a lot of time to dinner parties. I invite people over who don’t know and are different from each other. We know it’s gonna be awkward, and you hope that everybody gets along. Relief hits when people start asking questions and learning about each other. I find one or two exciting components– something local or something I’ve grown myself–to share. At one dinner party, we served soup made of a blue pumpkin that is a vibrant orange inside. It’s grown in Willcox, Arizona by my friends Kathy and Rob Allen. Everyone got their bowl of soup and had 20 different options of toppings like cilantro, nuts, seeds, nutritional yeast, and cheese. But all of them are treasures.