Notice: This entry was published 5 years ago and may no longer reflect my views today.
新年快樂! Happy Lunar New Year, everyone! That’s about the extent of my Mandarin knowledge besides “ni hao.” I am very slowly learning, but it’s not as quickly as my husband would’ve probably like. Well, had I known I was gonna marry a Taiwanese guy I might’ve taken Chinese in college instead of Japanese but what can you do.
My highlight of the new lunar year is my new cutout boots, and also red and gold nails. Just as planned!
I’m so interesting. /s
According to Chinese culture, my husband Michael has completed two zodiac cycles since he was born on the Year of the Horse. Don’t quote me on this; I was only half-listening when my mother-in-law mentioned it because I was too preoccupied with my hong bao (red envelope).
I should put more effort into learning about Michael’s culture. It’s something very important to him, and while cultural identity doesn’t mean much to me, I do want to support him with what he wants. I’ve never tied cultural roots strongly to my personal identity, and that’s maybe because I grew up in a weird amalgamation of Filipino and American. My household was white-bread WASP (my dad was an aviator from Montana), but I stepped out into Manila and I’d start throwing astig around. I ended up never being Proudly Pinoy, but I’m not a gun-slinging ‘MURICAN either. I feel like both balanced each other; one country would do something right and another so, so wrong, and the other would do the opposite. I know each of their strengths and especially their flaws, and I never could pick just one.
Now, I don’t have an identity crisis. Some of my friends who grew up the same way do though, and I can see why. I never felt like I fit in wherever I went. I was either too “Westernized” and disregarding Filipino family ideals or so aznlol love you long time desu. But again, I never tied who I am to where I’m from. I just decided to be antisocial and do my own thing.
But it’s Michael’s concern that our future kids won’t grow up relating to their Chinese roots. I think it’s a legitimate concern, and it led me to wonder why I’m not determined to expose our kids the same way too. I might’ve taken the way I was raised for granted. Just because I don’t feel any sort of attachment to my roots doesn’t mean my children won’t either. They’re Filipino too. They deserve that opportunity.
Anyway, my (very expensive) suggestion to Michael’s concern is raise our kids in Taiwan or Singapore. I’d be totally on board with that. Or take frequent trips to Taiwan and send them to Chinese school on the weekends. That works too. I’m not really sure how to go about all this, but if it makes everyone happy and enriched I’d try my best.