One lunch in college, I sat with my friends in my university cafeteria and listened to my friend comment, “Look. Everyone here is Asian.” Several seconds later, she looked at me and added, “Oops!I forgot that you weren’t Asian!”
On another occasion, a large group of us visited Chinatown to eat. I was indignant when I was singled out and given a fork for the meal. I made a show of placing the clean fork far from me and eating the entire meal with chopsticks.
Most of my college friends were Asian: Indonesian, Chinese, Korean, Singaporean. My boyfriend was Chinese-American. I took a variety of classes on Asian history and culture. I learned some about my friends’ cultures by spending time with their families.
Three months after completing my degree, my boyfriend and I married and I took on his Chinese last name. The curious looks began when I walked into doctor’s appointments. Even more questions were raised by my students when I started teaching High School classes. People had preconceived expectations of how I would look based on my name, and were surprised by my western European face.
Based on my name, I am targeted by Asian speaking telemarketers and Asian email spam. For several years we got lengthy, heart-felt messages on the answering machine by a Mandarin speaker. The problem was that neither my husband or myself could understand the message. We imagined an elderly parent calling what they thought was their son telling about their troubles at home and begging him to return the phone call. We were never home when these calls occurred, so we were never able to tell the caller they had the wrong number for all these years!
My mom once told me that I only oohed and aahed about Asian babies. I think it was a foreshadow that one day my children would be Asian. My kids are fully Korean. My husband is fully Chinese. Which makes me the “one of these things is not like the others…” in family pictures. But I rarely notice. That’s my family. And I know that God designed us to be together.
Although I try to make this blog anonymous, I have been targeted yet again. This blog has been hit daily with Chinese spam for many weeks. Did the spammers know my last name? So I sadly have had to put “word verification” onto my comments. I apologize profusely (I hate that verification) and hope that it will not hinder your comments! I love “talking” to you!