I grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, California and am now going to school at Biola University.
Growing up, I would attempt to dodge the question of ethnicity because I felt that it was too weird compared to others who I had grown up with.
It wasn’t until recently that I’ve been taking pride in the fact that I’m Hapa. Back in my hometown I was the only Hapa I knew in a school of 4,000 students. But in college, meeting other Hapas who were similar to me was so eye-opening and gave me a new sense of pride in who I am.
I am a first-generation American on my father’s side (who is both Mexican and Spanish) and a second-generation American on my mother’s side (who is Japanese). My Japanese grandmother (Obachan) insists that we call ourselves “Okinawan” rather than Japanese because of her roots in Okinawa.
As far as challenges I had to face growing up being multiracial, it would probably be the difficulty of fitting in to a specific group. I felt that the Asian groups in school did not consider me “Asian enough” to accept and to the Hispanic groups, I was not “Hispanic enough” either. I got a lot of, “What the heck are you?” as a kid growing up as well because I had Asian eyes and thick curly Mexican hair. It was embarrassing at first however as I grew up I realized that this was what makes me stand out.
My mother was raised not knowing much of her Japanese culture. Since my grandma moved to the US and married an American man (who was also Japanese), her family in Okinawa disowned her.
My grandfather was raised in Hawaii, though he died when I was very young so I’ve grown up with very little knowledge of half my heritage. I plan on asking my grandmother as many questions as possible to learn more about my roots.
As far as my Hispanic side, I know very little as well. My father recently got in touch with his father in Mexico so I am now learning more and more about where I came from.
The second photo is a photo of my parents, they’re adorable aren’t they?