Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Current Racial Existential Crisis

I think I go through a racial existential crisis at least once every 3-4 years.  Usually it is brought about by some circumstance where I'm forced to intentionally or unintentionally define myself by my race.  Other times I bring it on myself through some guilty expectation that I should be more aware of my own ethnicity.

I should probably give a little background to this crisis.  I'm 2.5 generation Chinese American who spent her entire childhood in Chicago's North Shore (also known as major white least it was in the 80's).  I had a wonderful childhood, fit in well with all the blond-haired kids, and thought I was Caucasian.  Ok, I knew that I was Chinese, but since my parents neither spoke Chinese, ate Chinese food (minus the dish my mom learned how to cook from a park district is surprisingly delicious), or did anything culturally Chinese, the only thing I had going for me as far as being Chinese was that I looked Chinese.  All that to say, my Chinese-ness didn't factor in for a large chunk of my life.

Fast forward another decade and a half...I'm off to East Asia next month.  Matt gently suggested that I ask some relatives about where I'm from.  So after talking to a great-uncle, I now know that my ancestors lived here:

More specifically, from that little dot on the coast of the highlighted region.  Now I have an answer when people ask me where in China my family is from.  I used to smile, laugh nervously, and tell them somewhere in southern China.  Granted, I can't pronounce it, at least not correctly, but I did visit the city's tourism website and now have dreams that my ancestors lived in a magically beautiful place off the coast where they farmed rice and fished in a boat under the sunset.

So, what's the crisis?  Well, I'm feeling a little immensely ignorant of my ethnic history and am a little scared to actually encounter it in person next month.  Matt bought three pretty awesome travel guides at B&N, but I haven't cracked one open yet.  Somehow I feel embarrassed for having to learn about my history from this:

I guess it's a start.  Maybe I can incorporate this travel guide into Abigail's night-time story rotation so that she'll know more about the little dot when she's older.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fresh Start

Our 1.5 year house-selling journey has come to an end, and I cannot express how relieved I am to have finally moved and be out of the never-ending transition phase.  I won't get into the details of why it has been so hard for me to be in the house-selling mode, but trust me, I could write a book on the details!  Our new place is what Matt and I call the "ugly girl."  It is quirky, unique, and just perfect for us.  We are in love with it, though most people that visit wouldn't have batted an eye towards it if they were in the market for their own home.

While I'm still feeling stressed because of the boxes to unpack, the organizing and purging to get done, and the decorating to do (yes, my OCD personality is having an absolute heyday), I'm also ready to start living again.  In the past year and a half, we had a baby, went through the ups and downs of ministry, and moved.  I've been in survival mode, though I probably could have handled everything with more grace a a whole lot more prayer.  I've gotten much more insight into my own issues and am waiting for the day that God doesn't have to use life circumstances to bring about the sanctification He desires in my life.  Ok, I'll be waiting forever, but it sure would be nice.

All this to say, I'm excited about a fresh start and trying to figure out how to do life well again.

Oh, one last thing.  I think I'm fully embracing the fact that I'm a pretty extreme introvert.  I'm looking forward to unpacking this more and seeing how it figures into Christian community and ministry.  Most likely I'll be unpacking a bit here, which is what introverts do, right? They blog.  :)


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