Growing up with an Asian mother and a father of European decent, I experienced that interesting lifestyle of a multicultural family first-hand. From my diet to my traditions, I was raised with a diverse outlook that I always thought was normal—until I stepped in to my friends’ houses.
Where Is The Rice Cooker?
I was convinced everyone had a rice cooker, that it was as common as a microwave or television, but that is not the case. It turns out people don’t eat rice as often as I do (unless it’s the Uncle Ben’s stovetop brand of so-called rice everyone else is eating), and no, not everyone knows how to cook it.
What’s For Dinner?
In my house, dinner is different every night; it ranges from European to Asian cuisine, to everything anyone else would eat! Do you eat a lot of fish? I hear Asians eat a lot of fish—I eat fish as much as any other person. Growing up in a multicultural household, I’ve never had to stick to one norm, or even consider that there has to be a norm.
Half Of The Picture Is Missing
Even though my father is Ukrainian and French, I will never be recognized as European. What people see is my Filipino complexion and there you have it: I’m Asian and nothing more. Growing up in a multicultural household meant identifying myself with only half of my heritage—mainly the half others saw. This wasn’t the fault of my parents, but of my peers.
Speaking Different Languages
In a multicultural household, families usually speak two or more languages, though that’s not always the case. Some families, like my own, solely speak English. But trips to grandma’s house meant picking up on the basics of the Filipino language, Tagalog. I do wish that I was raised to be bilingual, because it would be extremely beneficial and handy in the future.
The Awkward Moment When You Realize You Don’t Look Like Your Family
Being a mixed-race child means that, most likely, you either resemble one parent or neither. Usually, you pick up the dominant traits, but, through my experience of meeting fellow mixed-race kids, it’s somewhat odd when you don’t resemble either of your parents, or your siblings. When we were growing up, my mother was asked if she was me and my sibling’s nanny, because of how little we resembled her at first.
It gets even weirder when I go to gatherings of extended family—you stick out like a sore thumb. I’m the “Asian” cousin; with my clear Asian features it’s amusing to compare me to my Caucasian cousins.
People Play The “Guess Your Ethnicity” Game
Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, Russian, Ukrainian, Native Indian—what’s your background? Growing up in a multicultural household means you likely get a lot of questions about where you’re from, or what your background is. When you have the dark colouring of your mother, the lanky height of your father, and random features of your multiple backgrounds, it sparks an interest in others to understand why you are so different. But I see that as a compliment, because being raised in a multicultural household has taught me that different is good, and the best part about being unique is that you are able to adapt and connect with others more easily. You understand that behind all the differences are the similarities that enable us to live happily together.