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Are You American or Are You Asian?

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(So another excerpt to tie us over..)

“America seemed like a sort of utopia, this place of freedom, surplus, and opportunity. My brothers and I always loved getting to go back on furloughs (work breaks). And when people would ask me which country I liked better I usually said, “Both! Indonesia is like home and America is our vacation spot like Disneyland.” America had Taco Bell, pizza, hot showers, carpeting, air conditioning, snow, fall leaves, Christmas lights, sour gummy worms, and other white people that spoke American English! But Asia was home.

One time I was asked, “Which do you identify as?” I really loved this question, actually. I’ve heard a lot of questions we’ll discuss in a later chapter that can sometimes be annoying, but this question I’d never heard before. I really liked it because it didn’t assume I was one or the other but instead that maybe I was something different. Maybe I didn’t fit in a stereotype box, maybe I was a new category?

In the survey I did, I asked the above question about what nationality my fellow TCKs identified as. There were a variety of responses, but the majority said they identify as a citizen of their passport country but don’t feel like one. The longer I have lived now in my own passport country I always thought so highly of, the more I see its flaws and the more I notice things Indonesia, despite its own problems, does better. But just like we learn to love people with their flaws and strengths, I feel that as I choose to love this country and make it my own, the more I notice the things it does well. I see the pitfalls and the traps and the struggles. I see the issues we are still working to figure out. And despite it all, I’m so grateful for what it has and where it is. It is no longer the magical Disneyland of my childhood. It’s instead my present home, and while I’m here, I love the opportunity to be a tiny voice helping to shape its future. “

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