In Memory of Auntie Linda

Down the Alley

Originally uploaded by ryanocerosk.

It’s totally normal to walk down the street in China and see people (particularly young people) crying into their cellphones or just crying. But it’s not really normal in an internet cafe which is where I just sat there and cried yesterday.

Linda Bien, a friend of the family, and the parent of my friend Paul Bien who goes to UCLA died on Monday. It is so shocking since Auntie Linda didn’t tell anyone…like anyone. She was about as nice a person as you can get. On top of that she was about as musical and linguistic as my parents’ friends come. She ran North East Medical Services in San Francisco’s Chinatown district — a medical clinic and hospital catering to the Chinese speaking community. Of course, they have yellow member cards, hats, tote bags, and umbrellas that Chinese San Franciscans proudly display.

I can’t leave a comment on her blog ( but here’s my comment:

Auntie Linda,
I remember you asking me “你的国语怎么样?” the last time I saw you at Christmas time. And you always had this way of just being a good person. We’re not talking, “oh, she’s so nice” kind of person. We’re talking honest-to-goodness-you-aren’t-going-to-find-anyone-more-genuine kind of person. You always had a way of giving that smile that made going a somewhat long and drawn-out family gathering that much more special. You might not have been my actually auntie but you might as well have been. You loved music and language. Can’t get much better than that. I guess all I can do is thank you and wish you the best onward travels.



One thought on “In Memory of Auntie Linda”

  1. Ryan,

    Auntie Sandra mentioned your site to me tonight, and I had to come check it out for myself. On behalf of my whole family, thank you so much for your kind note. Your words bring tears to my eyes, and I am glad to see the positive impact my mom’s life made. Thank you for everything.


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