Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Two Worlds - A Guest Blog by Jean

As May is coming to a close, we're beginning to wrap things up on Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. I hope you've enjoyed the posts throughout the month. If you haven't already, be sure to click on the picture above to enter the contest for one of the 5 sets of 5 books by Asian American authors. Today we have a guest blog from Jean from Disciplines of Culture sharing what it's like being part of two different worlds.

I love my upbringing and the access to a wide variety of cultures being Taiwanese but born in the United States has afforded me. But I will suffer an identity crisis for the rest of my life.

I was born and raised in the Midwest. But the year before high school, I moved to Taiwan with my family. My parents still live there so when people hear my parents live there they think I moved here recently. I spent 3 years in Taiwan over a decade ago.

I remember this particular incident vividly and it summarizes how I felt in Taiwan. I was out shopping with some friends in a bookstore and I was speaking in English. I noticed this gentleman across the room was looking at his book and then looking back at us. I realized, he had been following us into a few stores.

But then my high school experience was not much more pleasant. I did not fit in with the rest of my classmates. They may have been Taiwanese-American like me but many had lived in Taiwan for so long they didn’t care for American pop culture or anything American but the Ivy Leagues.

I have spent 25 years in the United States and I feel more at home here but every now and then I still get comments like, “Where are you from” and I know they are waiting to hear me name an Asian country. I have Asian students whom I have met that ask me if I am of their ethnicity and they are usually wrong. I’m not Korean or Japanese. And my cousins and friends that are Asian-Americans raised in California don’t see eye to eye with me either. I understand the Midwestern lifestyle and big city diversity than I do a herd of Asians hanging out together.

So I am writing this instead of a post on food to say that I am grateful Deborah is putting all this information out there from different viewpoints to show readers that there are many facets to being Asian. I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything in the world. But for once, I would like to be viewed as me, and not just another Asian. Because we don’t all think alike and that is the number one misconception I have found when talking to strangers or even friends.

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