This photo is of my boyfriend (whose mother is European and father is Chinese) and I. People often mistake us as being related to each other which we are definitely not.
I was pretty oblivious to my ethnicity and the attention it got for most of my childhood, despite being the only half Asian kid at my school. It wasn’t until I was about 12 or 13 years old that i began to notice how I was different from my friends. I think this was sparked by my first experiences of racism. Because I was born and bread in the Waikato,only speak fluent English and only had 100% European friends, I considered myself as no different from them. Being judged and discriminated against because of my physical appearance really put things into perspective for me and I started wanting to know more about people who were like me.
Unfortunately there are hardly any half Asians close to my age where I live which means I get pretty excited whenever I meet someone who has had a similar experience and upbringing to me. I’ve noticed over the last few years that half Asian children are definitely becoming more of a commodity in my city though.
In the past I’ve had people mistake me as full Chinese or Vietnamese or part Maori among other things. I always get questions about where I come from by classmates, bus drivers, random strangers etc. Being a student nurse, every new hospital that I go to, the staff and patients are trying to guess my ethnicity. I also occasionally notice curious stares from strangers, especially when I’m out with My dad. They’re probably trying to figure out what an old white guy is doing with someone like me.
Despite all that, I love that I am half European and half Chinese. I think it’s an advantage being able to experience two totally different cultures on an ongoing basis. I feel that its enabled me to be more well traveled and adventurous with food than most people my age. I also feel that being of mixed ethnicity has enabled me to be more open minded, accepting and non judgmental of people no matter where they come from, what they look like or what they believe in. Learning to speak Chinese is definitely still on my to do list :P