Friday, December 21, 2018

December 21: Happy Things

The tamales got me remembering.

I used to teach at a Catholic school in the city, my parish school actually, that had the tagline: "We bring the world together". We did. Students were white and black Americans, but also immigrants and refugees from all over. Mainly Vietnam (50% of the student body) but also Angola, Liberia, Eritrea, The Philippines, Bosnia (Romany), Laos, Guatemala, and Cambodia.

Only one Cambodian family, and Binh was in my homeroom. His sister Lily was the year behind and I taught her math.

The day before Christmas break, Binh brought me a brown paper lunch bag with grease stains at the bottom. I opened it and found two egg rolls inside.

"My mom said she will make you two egg rolls every Monday as a Christmas gift."

Binh or Lily would drop them off on Monday and I would stand there at my desk and eat them immediately, hot, greasy, wonderful. I asked Lily one morning what was in them.

"You don't want to know," she replied.

So instead I just would hoover them up the minute I got my hot little hands on them each week.

It was the best Christmas gift I ever received from a student.


  1. What a wonderful gift. I noticed it was the children of immigrants that gave the most thoughtful presents. I never got egg rolls though.