A new school year means new beginnings and it’s no different here at beijingkids. Over the summer, we said goodbye to former Managing Editor Kara Chin and Deputy Managing Editor Ellis Friedman (whom many of you also knew as the old School Editor). As we kick off the 2013-2014 academic year with a new team, we figure we should properly introduce ourselves. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be spotlighting a different beijingkids staff member each week.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an ayi. I guess I was very attached to my ayi, whom we call “Yaya” in the Philippines. Yaya Lilia always cooked the food I wanted, combed my hair, straightened up my dolls, played with me, and let me win (very important when you were an only child for seven years). I didn’t realize the amount of dirty work involved in her job.
Do you have any siblings? If so, tell us their name(s) and a fun fact about them.
I have one younger sister named Ina, born seven years after me. Her many other nicknames include – but are not limited to – Ins, Insy-Winsy, Lambertina (because she was our grandfather Lamberto’s sidekick), and Bidi-Bidi.
Who was your childhood hero?
Kermit the Frog. Moody. Pensive. A bit of an outlier. But always smart and snappy.
What was your favorite childhood food? Has it changed as an adult?
I used to love our homemade croquetas as a child. Throughout the years, they would change in size and shape, depending on whether we were having them en famille or as finger food at a potluck. But the recipe always stayed the same: creamy potato and ground meat battered and fried to perfection. I will still go for a good croquetas anywhere I can find it.
My current favorite is at Agua at Nali Patio. It brings me back to my childhood, and I will go all the way to Sanlitun from Shunyi on low days to have a plateful at lunch all by myself.
List up to three of your favorite childhood books.
- Nancy Drew, because I wanted to be her.
- Paddington Bear, because he was so exotic and I had never been to London, so I liked the idea of a traveling bear. Also, marmalade.
- Any Dr. Seuss book, just because they are brilliant.
Tell us an embarrassing or little-known childhood anecdote about yourself.
Although I don’t actually remember this, I visited my grandfather on the set of a movie he was filming as a 3-year-old. He was shooting on location at a friend’s house. Being the only daughter (at the time) of his only daughter, my grandfather was quite proud of me and snapped several photos during that visit.
Fast forward 20 years. As my husband and I were preparing for our wedding reception at his family’s home, my mom came over and realized that it was the same house my grandfather and I had visited years before. It turns out our family friend had sold her house to my future in-laws. Needless to say, we immediately took photos of me standing at the same spot.
Tell us about your parents’ quirks and how they’ve shaped you.
My parents are artists. Our house was like an open studio. Paintings and sculptures were all over the place. Nude sketching sessions were held at our home almost every Saturday for a whole year. Their friends would come and chat and play games with me in between sketching sessions.
I grew up in a very open environment, where there were no bundy clocks, no office wear, no fixed paychecks. I’m still happy to laze around in pyjamas until 2 in the afternoon once in a while. In fact, I need to tune out from the real world every so often to function well. When I go home to visit my parents, it both comforts and freaks me out that time continues to stand still in their house.
You now have two kids. Was it the number you always imagined?
I knew even before I got married that I was only ever going to handle two children. I did not want to raise a middle child. (When we got a dog, my younger son started to act like the middle child and it drove me nuts). My motto: two parents, two children. That’s enough for me.
Dana Cosio-Mercado has been beijingkids’ Shunyi correspondent since May 2013. Born and raised in Manila, she moved to Beijing in 2011 with her husband, two sons, and Rusty the Dog. Before that, they lived in France, Switzerland, and the Philippines. Dana enjoys writing, photography, theater, visual arts, and trying new foods. In her free time, she can be found exploring the city and driving along the mountain roads of Huairou, Miyun and Pinggu.
Photo courtesy of Dana Cosio-Mercado