That compound description stems from two facts: That my family, though pure Chinese by present-day standards of ethnicity, is descended from Asian Russians (like the ones living in Vladivostok, perhaps); and that the figure of my nose uniquely - and literally - juts out from the rest of my living family's.
Of the first reason, I hardly have a shred of proof, save for my aunt's fancy analysis as to why her grandfather (my great grandpa) and I share this oddly mystifying facial feature. According to her, since both 21st-century ethnic Chinese and overseas Chinese are typically gifted with noses that are easily distinguishable from Westerners', we must therefore have some sort of non-Mongoloid blood in our veins. Also, she told me over dinner months ago, there are three of us in the family who do not possess the stereotypical narrow Oriental eyes. This could only mean that although our immediate ancestors lived in southern Fujian province, the distant ones might not at all have lived in China as we know it. Now I hate to say this, but Russian was actually just the nationality that came out of her lips. Who knows? Maybe it's British or French that's crawling through our system.
In any case, I have gene expression to thank for this majestic bodily protrusion hanging on my face like a dead president on Mt. Rushmore. With this, however, a second theory arises: Allen's Rule, which states that the farther a people live from the equator, the 'taller' their noses are. Blame the cold climate for this and the fact that we need to moisturize and 'warm' the air that we breathe. So, could it be that in a past life - if such a thing exists - I was either a Viking or a Crusader?
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There is another structure on my face that is just as hungry for attention. At the right tip of my upper lip, there occurs a triangular patch of skin where lip should be, creating a sort of two-dimensional pit. There are two entities responsible for this: some random carpenter, and Disney.
When I was two, my parents bought a VHS copy of The Lion King, then one of the hottest movies around - and still is. One night, they gathered the family in the living room to watch the movie, and when I say family, that included me who still hadn't perfected the art of pooping in the potty. Note that a low wooden table was the room's centerpiece.
So came the part where Simba and Nala, already adults, first meet each other in the jungle. In their uncontrollable excitement, they rush towards each other and slam their bodies together in total playful feline fashion. Thus, I also started jumping around in my direst efforts to imitate tumbling cats. I jumped, and jumped, and jumped, and bumped.
In a wicked twist of fate, I hit the table. My lip hit the table. The wood tore my lip, creating a bleeding gash that sent everyone in panicked frenzy. Perhaps you will never understand this, but back then, the sight of my lip - or any other body part - oozing with blood was an apocalyptic phenomenon. The movie was stopped, I was rushed to the hospital, and my lip got stitched. Today, there is only skin to mark the spot.
So what was the greatest lesson everyone learned that night? Lions always make for engaging animated characters.