What are you? what’s your background? what’s your ethnicity? where are you born? These are just a few questions that I get asked on the daily by total strangers. The answer to these questions? I’m a mix kid: half Taiwanese and half caucasian and born in Canada.
Some people often ask me what it’s like being half asian and like everything else, there are definently some pros and cons (but more pros, now).
It kinda sucks not quite fitting in – in either culture – it’s like, you are an outsider to both.
For the Taiwanese part of me, whenever I go back, I can only understand about 70% of what people are saying; however, when it comes to just a common conversation I can understand 100% – but as soon as people start whipping out some fancy lingo my eyes glaze over and people look at me with sad eyes.
As for the caucasian part of me, growing up in school, I had always felt like I didn’t quite fit in. I felt brain washed into a society where white supremacy was everything: and since I was not fully white, I couldn’t be that great.
However, that mind set quickly changed as soon as I hit high school. I went to a high school where about 70% of the students were asian. And there, I felt superior to my white friends who couldn’t understand all the whispers of foreign language in the hallways like I could.
It kinda rocks being able to talk secretly with your mom in mandarin: secrets can be kept from my dad and friends. It’s great!
It is also a huge advantage being able to speak another language when it comes to the job market. Ironically enough, I had never really had to use it for customer service – at least not yet – but I’m sure the opportunity will present itself soon enough.
As I mentioned earlier, I went to a high school where the majority of students were asian. My mandarin proved to be a HUGE asset when it came to group projects. Especially, when this one time, I was put into a group where everyone could speak Chinese, and so could I. So although we had to present our project in English, we communicated in mandarin when sharing ideas and planning out our project – it was a really neat experience.
Although I grew up thinking I was somehow not good enough and where I was brainwashed by my own prejudice, NOW, I have never been so thankful for being conceived by a white father and an asian mother. I feel like I am blessed to have a head start into a world where being bilingual has never been more of an asset.