Hapa and very proud! I live in Phoenix, Arizona.
I’m baby of the family, I have an older brother and sister.
Growing up I was very aware of what and who I was. I never really denied one side or the other but I guess I felt more connected to and proud of my Taiwanese side since I’m much closer with my mom’s family.
I grew up eating rousong with sweet potatoes and xi fan for breakfast, steamed fish, lots of stir fried veggies, baozi and of course a Peking Duck on Chinese New Years!
I am also the youngest grandaughter and very much my Ama’s baby! She came to the US when both me and my sister were little to help my mom. My Ama not only instilled in me a love for Taiwan, but also Japan since Taiwan was occupied by Japan when she was in school.
She would sing me Japanese songs, make me tamago and onigiri. Unfortunately after my grandma left and I started school, my mom stopped speaking Mandarin at home because she didn’t want me to have an accent. She wanted me to “fully fit in” as an American. I wish I was more fluent and could write.
Of course like most Hapas, I did go through a bit of identity crisis. Always too Asian for the whites and too white for the Asians. You are both yet neither. As a teenager I did sometimes wish to be full Asian. Growing up in Arizona was also challenging because there are not too many Asians let alone Hapas!
A lot of people think I’m Hispanic and don’t believe me when I tell them I am Asian! But I feel better when I travel because people usually guess Japanese or Asian mix. It used to bother more when I was younger but now I love being Hapa! It makes me special and unique.
I can identify with many different people and cultures. And when I look at how beautiful the Hapa community is it makes me very proud! Whenever I meet or see another Hapa it’s like spotting a rare mythical unicorn! I always think “Wow! Just like me! I’m not totally weird!”