Hello! Like others, I wanted to take some time to introduce myself but also share an anecdote and touch upon previous discussions in class.
My name is Grace, and I am a second-year pre-Human Biology and Society major, art history minor. I am currently in my parents' home in Rancho Cucamonga, California which is ~60 miles east of LA. I was really interested in learning more about the zodiac because of a strong childhood association I have with it.
I grew up in a small town near Buffalo, New York, which I like to think is pretty much Canada. As my parents are from Hong Kong and Taiwan, we often craved Asian food but couldn't find really good food anywhere, except at our family friend's restaurant in our town called Golden Duck (pictured below). Looking back, I struggled to think of the name (because it was so long ago!) but actually discovered that they have a website that I will link here!
As an impatient child, I remember most the long waits before our food arrived. I vividly can recall sitting at the slippery table booths and playing with anything I could find. Luckily, Golden Duck had placemats for every person (pictured below), which depicted the Chinese zodiac--and this is how I was introduced to the zodiac. I managed to find the exact ones that they had! They're also available on Amazon now.
Before I had the chance to get water/food stains on them, I remember perusing these placemats in such a detailed manner, because I thought it was really odd that an entire year can be described into a personality type or with the same traits. And even more weird, that generations could be tied together by their zodiac! The placemat also told us of the compatibility between the zodiacs, and I always loved our family zodiacs especially because the Dragon (myself and my dad), Monkey (mom), and the rat (brother) were deemed especially compatible by the zodiac, which I thought was interesting. At Golden Duck, my family would even have discussions about the zodiac, somehow turning into a competition of whose zodiac sign is the best.
After the last class meeting, I learned that organs could be tied to each zodiac sign, with mine (and my father's, since we are both dragons) being the stomach according to the "Games of Chance: Explorations into Our Animal Selves" reading. This did not surprise me at all, since I love food, but I thought it was really interesting because I grew up to learn about the zodiac over food.
Even now, during quarantine, I am constantly finding myself baking (I call it procrastibaking because it is more of coping/stress mechanism than anything) and last meeting, I brought in bread. I remember Professor Vesna commenting about how bread is such a powerful food, as it often stands as a symbol for hunger, gathering, peace, and even bringing together communities. I find this especially fitting for this narrative, because bread not only has been a centerpiece item in my kitchen right now, but it was through the action of "breaking bread" with my family that I learned about the zodiac, making everything come full-circle for me.
I inserted a picture below of the bread I baked but apologies, as I can't find a way to rotate the image!
But point being, I totally believe and personally relate to the stomach being the organ of the dragon. My dad especially is a top consumer of my baking, so to me, that's just icing on the cake.
Links to sources:
Golden Duck Website: http://www.goldenduckrestaurant.com/
Chinese Zodiac Placemats (highly recommend for future Zodiac dinners!!!!!!): https://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Zodiac-Paper-Placemats-Pieces/dp/B0007KHBPA