In elementary school, my mom would always pack me lunch

Rice and leftover dishes from the night before or noodles with meat sauce and bok choy or, on this particular day, dumplings in a Thermos

Opening my lunch box, I began to eat my dumplings


“Can you sit farther away from me next lunch?”

“I don’t like the smell of your food”



I don’t think I understood why I was feeling uncomfortable at that time

It wasn’t like it was an insult...was it?

The next time, it was a potluck party for Girl Guides

I came home so excited, asking my mom to make 炸酱面, I couldn’t wait for everyone try how good it was!

So when the day came, I carried a big container full of noodles to the basement that my division of Girl Guides was located in

Later that night, I carried the same container home, still almost full of noodles

Sitting in the car, I was so upset

I think I wanted to cry

I didn’t want to bring the container home for my mom to see that no one had wanted to eat the food she cooked

I kept thinking to myself that I should’ve asked her to buy something else to bring

something more white and more “normal” to the other girls there

“Why don’t people like my food?”