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My identity makes me feel confident and proud. I was born in China and I’m now living in the Bay Area with a Chinese mom and a white dad. Since my mom is also from China, I am lucky to have become familiar with Chinese traditions and local food.
When I visit Hong Kong, I feel excited being surrounded by people who look like me and have traditions that I have grown up with. But I am learning Mandarin and this summer will spend 6 weeks in China. Some of the time will be spent staying with a host family.
I’m excited but nervous about being looked at differently just because I look Chinese but can’t speak Mandarin. My past trips to China have helped me accept the language barrier and have made me motivated to learn Mandarin. There were times I was in China when people would come up to me speaking in Mandarin. When I could only nod and smile, I felt embarrassed and disappointed in myself.
I realize that not being able to communicate makes me feel like I’m not really Chinese. I still don’t know who I am exactly, but I do know that my ethnicity is an aspect of my identity that I really value.