The concept of being Hapa never really occured to me when I was growing up. I was born in and lived in the United States until I was 9 years old.
I was obviously aware that my dad was white, but I grew up in a household that leaned toward my Asian side. I had high grade expectations, learned the piano at the age of 3, and have plenty of memories of a yelling mother regarding both of those and more. I even attended these math tutor classes every saturday morning (all of which were filled with Asian kids) so I grew up considering myself an Asian.
Little did I know, all the Asian kids saw me as a white kid, and all the white kids saw me as an Asian kid.
My eyes started opening when I moved to Shanghai when I was 9. I attended an international school so there were plenty of white kids, but the majority were Asian. It was then I started really identifying myself as half white.
Soon I was full on aware that I was a halfie (Hapa) and also became aware of all the good things that came with this. I looked unique (in a good way) and grew up speaking two languages fluently. It was also cool to meet other Hapas because they may have experienced the same things that I did growing up, something that not a lot of people could claim credit for.
My dad is American (biologically speaking, his dad was Welsh and his mom had some French roots- it wasn’t explained to me very well) and my mom is Taiwanese. My first language was Chinese, but my English quickly overtook it since I grew up in the United States and attended school there, etc. But I still learned Chinese as well.
I have clear connections with both my white and Asian sides- I often visit my dad’s side grandmother in the US every summer where I eat American food and everything is in English, and on the flip side, I make frequent trips to Taiwan to visit my mother’s side family there where I eat asian food and enjoy the night markets and stuff.
I’ve met and am friends with lots of hapas and I’m glad to have met them, particularly in my school. I’m moving once again and I hope I can find a group of Hapas that will be as great as the ones I had the pleasure of getting to know in Shanghai.