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Now in college, smarts are a bit more admired, but still, whenever a friend is describing a person I don’t know to me, she’s much more likely to talk about how great his personality is as opposed to how smart he is.

I’m not saying that brains need to be emphasized more than personality, of course; I’m just pointing out the difference between American and Asian cultures.

All of this attention on my newborn niece gave me plenty of opportunity to observe this phenomona: babies do funny things to people.

On the surface, my niece is a six pound human being that eats, cries, sleeps, poops, and pees, with the occasional hiccup or sneeze. Yet she has all of these grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, and uncles around her, saying how cute she is, smiling when she grips their fingers, giggling when she passes gas, talking in weird baby voices to her.

So the baby experience was a new one for me, and sometimes a pretty funny one.