Growing Up Asian-American Told By GIFS

Growing Up Asian-American Told By GIFS

5 things you can definitely relate to if you grew up in an Asian-American household.

Growing up Asian-American, there were a lot of questions people asked me; some being reasonable and some were just flat out ridiculous. There are also a lot of things that you realize that only you do and that none of your non-Asian friends do.

1. No Shoes In The House

EVER. As soon as you walk into the house, you better take off your shoes and leave 'em at the door because mother would not be pleased with you tracking all this outside dirt into the freshly cleaned house. And when your friends came over, you would have to tell them to take off their shoes and they would be momentarily confused and you have to explain, "It's an Asian thing." But you can never forget the look on your mom's face when you took more than two steps in the house with your shoes on...

2. The Fear of Telling Your Parents Your Grade

That moment you were in class...your teacher is handing back your test and you pray that it's an A. Ever since I was in elementary school, I was expected to excel in my classes. Whether I was in the most advanced reading group or got the most advanced spelling list, (I was spelling postmortem at the age of eight.) I was always expected to get the best of the best of grades. It sounds so stereotypical, which it is, but I always needed to get that A. I remember a specific time where I got a 96 on a test and my mom asked me, "Where did the other four points go?", like REALLY mother, really.

3. That Moment You Pull Out Your VERY Asian Lunch at School

If your mom didn't pack you a super Asian lunch at least once a week IDK what y'all were doing because I was out here in fourth grade pulling out my fried rice and eggrolls while everyone else was chowing down on Chef Boyardee cans and Lunchables. Sometimes, though, you just wanted to be like all the other kids and get to make your own personal pizzas.

4. Your Parents Being Strict On Everything with Money

I have never met someone so meticulous in regards to money like my mother. She isn't completely stingy but rather so careful with her funds and careful not to get charged extra for everything. When we are at the store checking out, she will check what the cashier scanned, how many items she scanned, if the cashier took the security tag off or not, and then look over the receipt immediately after. I thought she was just being extra until one day when my sister and I went shopping without her and we weren't paying attention and the cashier scanned the same item three times and left a security tag on the other. We then had to go all the way back to the mall the next day. Lessons learned.

5. Growing Up Immersed in Culture

Even though I was born in America, my parents always wanted to make sure I never forgot my roots. I attended a school every Sunday in order to learn the Vietnamese language. I was constantly immersed in the Vietnamese culture and I am so grateful for that. Even though I was born and raised in America, I am still full-blown Vietnamese and I will never forget it.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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20 Things That Happen When A Jersey Person Leaves Jersey

Hoagies, pizza, and bagels will never be the same.

Ah, the "armpit of America." Whether you traveled far for college, moved away, or even just went on vacation--you know these things to be true about leaving New Jersey. It turns out to be quite a unique state, and leaving will definitely take some lifestyle adjustment.

1. You discover an accent you swore you never had.

Suddenly, people start calling you out on your pronunciation of "cawfee," "wooter," "begel," and a lot more words you totally thought you were saying normal.

2. Pork Roll will never exist again.

Say goodbye to the beautiful luxury that is pork roll, egg, and cheese on a bagel. In fact, say goodbye to high-quality breakfast sandwiches completely.

3. Dealing with people who use Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, or Dominos as their go-to pizza.

It's weird learning that a lot of the country considers chain pizza to be good pizza. You're forever wishing you could expose them to a real, local, family-style, Italian-owned pizza shop. It's also a super hard adjustment to not have a pizza place on every single block anymore.

4. You probably encounter people that are genuinely friendly.

Sure Jersey contains its fair share of friendly people, but as a whole, it's a huge difference from somewhere like the South. People will honestly, genuinely smile and converse with strangers, and it takes some time to not find it sketchy.

5. People drive way slower and calmer.

You start to become embarrassed by the road rage that has been implanted in your soul. You'll get cut off, flipped off, and honked at way less. In fact, no one even honks, almost ever.

6. You realize that not everyone lives an hour from the shore.

Being able to wake up and text your friends for a quick beach trip on your day off is a thing of the past. No one should have to live this way.

7. You almost speak a different language.

The lingo and slang used in the Jersey area is... unique. It's totally normal until you leave, but then you find yourself receiving funny looks for your jargon and way fewer people relating to your humor. People don't say "jawn" in place of every noun.

8. Hoagies are never the same.

Or as others would say, "subs." There is nothing even close in comparison.

9. Needing Wawa more than life, and there's no one to relate.

When you complain to your friends about missing Wawa, they have no reaction. Their only response is to ask what it is, but there's no rightful explanation that can capture why it is so much better than just some convenient store.

10. You have to learn to pump gas. Eventually.

After a long period of avoidance and reluctance, I can now pump gas. The days of pulling up, rolling down your window, handing over your card and yelling "Fill it up regular please!" are over. When it's raining or cold, you miss this the most.

11. Your average pace of walking is suddenly very above-average.

Your friends will complain that you're walking too fast - when in reality - that was probably your slow-paced walk. Getting stuck behind painfully slow people is your utmost inconvenience.

12. You're asked about "Jersey Shore" way too often.

No, I don't know Snooki. No, our whole state and shore is not actually like that. We have 130 miles of some of the best beach towns in the country.

13. You can't casually mention NYC without people idealizing some magical, beautiful city.

Someone who has never been there has way too perfect an image of it. The place is quite average and dirty. Don't get me wrong, I love a good NYC day trip as much as the next person, but that's all it is to you... a day trip.

14. The lack of swearing is almost uncomfortable.

Jerseyans are known for their foul mouths, and going somewhere that isn't as aggressive as us is quite a culture adjustment.

15. No more jughandles.

No longer do you have to get in the far right lane to make a left turn.

16. You realize that other states are not nearly as extreme about their North/South division.

We literally consider them two different states. There are constant arguments and debates about it. The only thing that North and South Jersey can agree on is that a "Central Jersey" does not exist.

17. Most places also are not in a war over meat.

"Pork roll" or "taylor ham"... The most famous debate amongst North and South Jersey. It's quite a stupid argument, however, considering it is definitely pork roll.

18. You realize you were spoiled with fresh produce.

After all, it's called the "Garden State" for a reason. Your mouth may water just by thinking about some fresh Jersey corn.

19. You'll regret taking advantage of your proximity to everything.

Super short ride to the beach and a super short ride to Philly or NYC. Why was I ever bored?

20. Lastly, you realize how much pride you actually have in the "armpit of America," even if you claimed to dislike it before.

After all, there aren't many places with quite as much pride. You find yourself defending your state at all necessary moments, even if you never thought that would be the case.

Cover Image Credit: Travel Channel

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Being Adopted By A White Family Does Not Mean I Have To Choose Between Being Asian Or White

To ignore my color would be to ignore all of the oppression that I have battled all of my life.

I was born in Yugan County, Jiangxi Providence, China. In the year 1998, the One Child Policy was still in effect throughout China. Because of this, my birth mother ended up abandoning me, leading to me end up in an orphanage and being given to a foster family.

Then, in 2000, a little less than three years later, I was adopted by a white family from America.

Throughout my life, I have had to acknowledge the fact that due to the circumstances of my birth and subsequent adoption, I will never fully fit in.

To the white population that I have been surrounded by since I was brought to The States, I am a white girl in a yellow person’s skin. To the people that share my looks, I am an Asian girl without culture or history — a yellow paper whitewashed through overexposure to her environment.

I'm most accurately described as a banana — white on the inside and yellow on the outside.

Unlike the other fruits who’s colors on their inside match with their richly toned exteriors, a banana's beautiful exterior hides a plain, pale, boring interior.

To most people, I am seen as “basically white.” This statement is one that many people of color adopted by white families often hear. I think it’s meant as a compliment. It's praise of the fact that we have assimilated to white culture and a spoken acknowledgment of the fact that even though we are a part of an “othered” group. People will ignore our colored exteriors.

The problem with this phrase, “basically white,” is the fact that I am not white. We are not white. The tendency of people to claim to be colorblind in order to prove that they are accepting, that they can’t be racist if they don’t see people as colors but as people, is incredibly frustrating.

Our color is part of us.

Without it, we wouldn’t be the people we are. It’s great that you see us as people, but why is that something to be proud of? To need spoken acknowledgment?

People of color are people. End of story.

To see us as people and not skin tones is nothing to boast about, and I am proud of my color. I want people to see it. To ignore my color would be to ignore all of the oppression that I have battled all of my life in order to get to where I am. To ignore my color would be to deem the bullying, othering, and blatant ignorance that I have faced unimportant.

People of color have lifetimes of hardships that they have had to overcome in order to be where they are today. We don’t want to be accepted as white. We want to be accepted as our unapologetic selves.

I am tired of feeling bad for not being white. I am also tired of feeling as if I am a “bad Asian.” It is not my fault that I am adopted. It is not my, nor my adoptive families fault that we don’t know much about my Chinese heritage, culture, or history.

The majority of my life has been a struggle with identity. It has been the need to fit in with my white peers fighting with my unwillingness to ignore the challenges that occurred over the years that were obviously a result of my skin tone.

Yes, I may be seen as a banana, but really I see myself as more of a blend or mixture. I am not yellow on the outside and white on the inside. I should not have to chose between being Asian or being white. I can be both. And it’s about time that society accepts that. We deserve to be able to embrace all of the different parts of ourselves without feeling bad about it.

Cover Image Credit: Amelia Williams

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