Hey everyone! My name is Elena and I am about to be 23. I am half Colombian (my mother) and half Japanese (my father). The most asked question is how my parents met, which makes me laugh.

I was born in my mother’s native country then relocated to Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Colombia, Thailand, then finally to the United States. Most of the traveling was due to my dad’s job as a journalist.

Most people have a hard time figuring out my ethnicity. I get all sorts of mixes (it ranges from half white/half Asian to Brazilian) and when I tell them my actual ethnicity, they are in utter shock. It also does not help that my last name is not the most typical Japanese name you hear.

Growing up, I spoke Spanish, Japanese, and English. I’ve lost most of my understanding of the Japanese language and it’s been a bummer not being able to know too much about the culture. I do love the food and have not butchered with the pronunciations of things! On the other hand, my mother has made it clear that I know Spanish like the back of my hand so I’m glad I’m able to speak at least two languages.

Living in a predominantly white area of a big city was probably the biggest challenge growing up. I used to be extremely ashamed of the fact that I was mixed. I thought being mixed was rather strange and that it was more appealing to be of 100% of something than half.

As I got into college, I met people of different ethnicities and have come to embrace my uniqueness. I have only met one family with a half Japanese and half Colombian mixture while living in Japan. Other than that, it’s out of the ordinary to come across one. My husband loves the fact that I am mixed, he calls me a “beautiful and unique snowflake.” (Fight Club reference perhaps? Haha.) He can relate quite a bit to me since he grew up in a predominantly Mexican neighborhood and did not identify with his white background growing up.

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