One of These Things Is Not Like the Other (Ruminations of an Asian Girl in White Suburbia) Part 2

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In our previous segment, we covered our no-shoes-in-the-house rule and our ability to clean house as if surgery were going to be performed in any room at any given moment. Other “facts” about Asians you may be familiar with include the idea that we apparently dominate mathematics, though our driving leaves something else to be desired. The fact is, as a mutt-Asian, I’m actually a pretty good driver, but you don’t want me tutoring your kid in math. Let’s move on to some other interesting Asian tidbits.

Cuisine. If you don’t have an iron gut and taste buds willing to try anything, don’t accept an invitation to a full-blooded Asian person’s house for dinner. Either they’re going to attempt cooking American fare and you won’t recognize it, or they’re going to excel at Asian fare, and you won’t recognize it.

For example, my mother would cook steak fairly often. This sounds amazing at first, but let me paint this picture: She would put the skillet on the floor, put the steak in the skillet and put Asian spices on it. Why the skillet on the floor as opposed to the counter? I don’t know. Maybe she wasn’t American-ized enough yet. Her peeps on the Philippine Islands (P.I.) eat dinner deftly without utensils or plates, and they eat sitting on the ground. Here is an example of what I remember seeing as I was growing up for a short time in the P.I.: #BackToBasics. And here is what it looks like when you’re a mutt like me, trying to eat the way your peeps in the Native Land do: #YoureDoingItWrong .

Asian mutts look different–even we can’t tell the origin of another mutt’s ethnicity. 

I often get asked if I’m Hawaiian, by other Asians. What they’re really saying is, “I can tell you’re different, but I don’t know what you are. I always laugh about that…and then I think, Hmmm…do I want to book a vacay to Hawaii?

And remember that recessive gene I told you about in the previous article? My father has blue eyes and I knew that recessive gene was bouncing around in me somewhere. My husband is almost borderline albino….very blond and very blue-eyed. When my son was born he looked like a typical Asian baby. I thought, Cool! I’m going to have a mutt boy! But no…he looked very similar to this boy, as a toddler:

Not Asian-looking at all, no sir. I’ve had fun with this over the years though. My Asian friends would try to crack wise and ask me, “Are you sure he’s your son?” and in a very Asian/Pigeon-English sounding way I’d say, “Oh, no, no….I just a nanny.” Listen, where’s the fun if I can’t make jokes about it?

In the end, growing up as an “Amer-asian” or “Other” has been fine. I get to experience the best of both worlds. I may not like my mom’s steak, but she can sure cook up some mean adobo. I like not fitting any mold (remember–I’ll never be a math tutor). And I like that I get to experience things with a broader view…we should all be so lucky!


Writer Bio

CJ Heath is an “Other” who doesn’t mind being double-cultured. She also loves making jokes about it.



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