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The Gyopo Experience ft Jen!

July 10, 2014


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When we were in LA, we spent a couple of days with Jen, who – by the way – is totally lovely. She asked Martina a really interesting question that really had us questioning ourselves. The question was this: do we consider ourselves Korean-Canadians or Canadian-Koreans?

It caught us really off guard. It’s not something we ever thought about. “Neither” is our first response. We have no Korean blood in us. We’re not Korean. Jen went on to say, though, that we’re in many ways more Korean than she is. We’ve been living in Korea for over six years now. We’ve been really immersed here. We have a home, a business. We eat Korean food every day. We speak Korean every day (not high level Korean, though: but more than enough to carry on conversations). We pay Korean taxes. When we were in LA, we were culture shocked by all of the things that are not like how they are in Korea.

But that’s not the point of our conversation. Though we’ve spent most of our adult lives in Korea, we still don’t consider ourselves Korean, yet we’ve adapted to Korean culture in many ways. Those of you angry Tumblrinas, please note: WE ARE NOT CALLING OURSELVES KOREAN. We were fascinated by the question, though, and what it implies.

Namely, the question of identity got us thinking. Back in the day, your language and your geographical location and your nationality and your heritage were very often all the same. A Korean person spoke Korean and lived in Korea and had Korean family. There was little mingling. But the world has changed a lot in the past 100 years. My parents are from Poland, but they have half-German grandparents. Then they moved to Canada. My first language was Polish, but then I dropped it for English. Now I’m living in Korea, and my identity and career are all based on Korean stuff. What do I identify as, then?

We hung out with Dan Matthews while we were in LA as well, who spent some time with us when he was shooting his documentary. He’s a Korean adoptee who spent his entire life outside of Korea. When he came to Korea, he hung out with us a bit, and we showed him around the area and taught him a bit about it. How does he identify?

Again, I’d like to make clear that I’m not here claiming some people are “more Korean” or “less Korean” than others. I’m not necessarily sure what I feel about the question of identity, either, because it’s something we’ve only been discussing recently, a lot more so after Jen asked us that first question. I’m not sure how much longer people are going to be able to identify themselves based on any country in the future, really, the more we travel and bring our history with us to plant in new places.

I remember when we were in Poland for our Polish meet up. It was a very difficult time for me, for reasons that I couldn’t really understand. I’ve always felt like a terrible Polishman. I remember visiting Poland when I was 16, and my uncle scolded me for not knowing Poland’s historical figures, and he stated that every good Polishman knows Poland’s history. I remember my brother not wanting me to speak Polish around him, because my pronunciation is terrible. I don’t know Polish well, I don’t speak it well, yet there I was in Poland, with a bunch of loving, Polish Nasties, all of whom I wanted deeply to identify with, but I felt deeply ashamed to. I had no right to claim any Polishness. I just had a Polish family and a bit of the language. That’s all.

A big part of this is why I’m fascinated with the gyopo experience in Korea (a “gyopo”, by the way, is a Korean who grew up outside of Korea). We’ve spoken with many who have a really difficult time here, some of whom have been scolded publicly for not being Korean enough, for not speaking enough of the language. It’s something I feel when I think about my Polishness. And it’s something that I consider while we’re here in Korea as well. What place do we have in this country? We’ll always be considered outsiders, no matter how long we live here.

I’m not sure what else to say here. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, even though I don’t have any clear answers or questions. I just don’t know what cultural identity means anymore. I just know I’ll get a ripping from angry social justice warriors for questioning cultural identity, which won’t help me out much. What’s your position?

I also know that I was really happy to do this video with Jen, who could share her experience as a Korean American and touch on the questions of cultural identity as well. We hope you liked the video as well :D

If you’re looking for something more fun, though, I’d recommend checking out Jen’s video makeover on Martina. Side note: Jen’s got SUCH A NICER CAMERA THAN OURS. Ooooh look at that lighting!

And, lastly, click on this pretty button below for more TL;DRs, and for more collaboration videos. We’ve got another one coming next week with Korean Englishman, who’s, like, very similar to us but very opposite in many ways. Yay!



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The Gyopo Experience ft Jen!


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  1. I can relate to the gyopo experience. I am Mexican-American and we have many terms that correspond with “gyopo”. We (Mexican-Americans) use terms like Chicano/a, Hispanic, or Latino/a. However, when I visited Mexico I cannot associate with those terms because to those that are from Mexico and live in Mexico..As a Mexican-American you are most likely only known as “Norteño/a”. Why? B/c we were born “up north” or “in the north”..basically b/c we are from America.

    I grew up speaking spanish and like most people become more comfortable with speaking english. Its because I prefer to speak english that my spanish has developed an American-accent. While I visited family in Mexico, they were able to point it out right away and when I would speak in english, they really disliked it.

    While in Mexico, of course I dress differently than everyone that is from Mexico. So every time I go, I do stand out. When I was younger, I felt ashamed that I stood out so much. The way I talked and dressed and styled my hair was very different..and I thought it was so bad. But now, I have learned to embrace my American side and not be ashamed just because I grew up differently. I feel blessed that I was able to keep my Mexican side by knowing the language, traditions, holidays, etc. My American side is something others will need to get used to because its a part of who I am.

    6 years ago
    • I definitely know this feel! I was born and raised here in the States but my father is from Mexico. It was, at the time, more important for him to learn to speak/read English so the rule in the house was that only English was spoken so I never learned Spanish.

      Now I understand a lot more but I’m still really bad at it and it shows.

      People can be pretty rude about it and I’ve had to learn to just shrug it off. I’m American, born and raised and I speak the language of the country I live in.

      I’m okay with that. I do wish, at times, my Spanish was much more fluent but at the moment I don’t have much time to try to learn it.

      6 years ago
  2. Ah a subject I am faced with everyday…. I am Chinese-american, born and raised to a family of cantonese farmers that immigrated to the USA in the 80’s. It was a strange life to lead. At home, everything was in cantonese or the local dialect my family otherwise grew up with, there was chinese school to go to, if time was available… At school it was nothing but english or spanish… No one (i have 4 siblings) speaks totally fluent english or chinese anymore… becides me, the human dictionary and translator. It feels as if I am the crossroads at which point the family diverted from fully Chinese, t o more and more American. With each passing decade, and generation that gets born into the family, it seems as if there is more “united states variant of American” than there is “chinese/cantonese” in us. WHen family visited from HK or Guangdong, they are always surprised that I am able to understand them, let alone make logical conversation, in Cantonese. When they speak in the local/regional dialect, while I can understand, replies are harder as it wasn’t something i had time to learn. It is ironically harder while at work. I work in customer service in Northern California, and the region I am situated in has a large latino base. My English name is Carmen. Almost every customer that walks in automatically assume that i speak Spanish fluently on the basis of just the first name, since Carmen is a Latin name…
    I fairly recently took it upon myself to take a couple of Chinese classes to re immerse myself into the language and culture of China… However, the only classes available outside of a church are Mandarin, of the Taiwanese variant… While it was an awesome experience, and one that I will continue to pursue, my quest to learn more of my roots has taken me down a route that isn’t exactly what I had envisioned. Add to the fact that i also occasionally try to learn Korean doesn’t help.
    The more cultures i am exposed to, even those that are components of my root culture, the more confused I seem to feel when it comes to my own cultural identity…
    I now can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, American English, English with a convincing British Accent, I can speak enough Korean to get confused by ahjummas for being Korean (those ladies have really strong arms btw… their compliments tend to involve hard pats into my arm that I am not quite sure if they left bruises or not…. @[email protected]) and out of work induced necessities, enough spanglish to get points across to clients…
    At the end of the day I am just plain confused… to the point that some times I would get asked something in one language and accidently reply in any of the others…
    I haven’t had the chance to visit the motherland since I was a child, but if the opportunity arises, wi would definitely go and enjoy the experience!

    6 years ago
  3. I am a Vietnamese born Australian. My parents had immigrated to Australia during the Vietnam War and I grew up in a town called Cabramatta. Which is dominantly populated with individuals of Vietnamese heritage and other Asians minorities. Culturally I feel very connected with the Vietnamese culture but removed from it at the same time especially when it comes to things like fashion and music. It is difficult especially when I am travelling over seas and people do not recognise me as such and try speaking to me in English even though I had spoken to them in Vietnamese perfectly fine. I have even had this happen to me in Australia where I was at a Vietnamese restaurant I ordered in Vietnamese and the waiter had responded with English.

    6 years ago
  4. In Australia people don’t really take their shoes off inside much. That’s not to say they never do, it’s really a personal preference thing I suppose and it also depends on age. At my grandparent’s house I always take my shoes off, but at my house or a friend’s house I usually leave them on because no one really cares.Sometimes with friends now there’s even a “You can take your shoes off if you like.” Because they might feel like they shouldn’t take their shoes off and make themselves too comfortable in your home.

    6 years ago
  5. Shoes could go either way in the house that I grew up in. I usually took mine off soon after getting home just because it was more comfortable, but they didn’t come off at the door. I live in Hawaii currently, and my rental agreement actually requires that I take my shoes off at the door.

    In college, I lived in an international dorm with lots of Koreans and Japanese. I remember one Korean student who was encouraged to date a Japanese student, because at least she was staying within the right geographical area.

    6 years ago
  6. I think that the more you are exposed to other countries the more of your ‘Cultural Identity’ is lost because they all start to blend together to form your own Individual Identity.
    I was born in the US but moved to Brasil when I was three and lived there for a little over 5 years. Even though my siblings and I were sometimes treated differently because we didn’t look Brasilian, I considered myself to be Brasilian even though I hadn’t been born there. I spoke Portuguese fluently, ate Brasilian food, went to a Brasilian school and wore the same clothes that everyone wore. When we moved back I experienced a general feeling of not being ‘American’ enough, even though I looked American I didn’t act like one which caused me to be seen as awkward and weird. Even after being back in the US for over 15 years I still find that while I don’t see myself as Brasilian any more I still can’t confidently claim to be American. For a long time I felt like an outsider when I moved back to America but when I’m asked if I would like to go back and visit Brasil I always say no because I would be going back as a visitor and not as someone who identifies themselves as Brasilian. Plus my Portuguese is now awful.
    I can understand someone struggling to answer the question of identity, but I don’t think it depends on where you live/have lived or where you were born. I think it more has to do with what has influenced someone over there lifetime, whether it is where you lived, family, friends or even what someone reads or watches (I’ve realized recently that I now slightly bow when I greet people thanks to watching way to much anime). Hopefully that makes a bit of sense.
    I’ve also noticed that in the US whenever someone asks what someones nationality or culture is most of time people will say something like “Oh, I’m 50% German, 25% Irish, 24.5% English and .5% Russian” and never just say that they’re American.

    6 years ago
  7. Ok wow that would like totally freak me out if that were to happen to me, I’m Irish German but the family has been here in the states so long that the Language is like gone and the generation that did speak it is no longer here:( there is a family that I know that could understand this though they are from Japan(born and raised came to the stats to work) they have been here for awhile and the mother my friend is pregnant like with her 9th child and they switch there religion and the family is not happy about it and all this other stuff! I think the children would have a harder time when they do go visit back to Japan but I don’t know? they are a great family and I might have just confused myself but that’s ok I do that a lot!

    6 years ago
  8. Hi S&M
    This is my first time commenting here. So, here I goes
    I can totally relate to this. I’m a Muslim and happens to be part Malay, part Jews, part Arab, part Chinese, part Japanese and right now I’m living in Malaysia. Even thought I was born and raised in Malaysia, I totally felt different and out of place. Whenever I told someone about this, they will tell me that I don’t belong here. Maybe, just like Korra’s new season, the world are changing and I don’t think that race can be defined by the old ways anymore

    6 years ago
  9. In my case I’ve been raised bilengual, french and english. My dad comes from the States, my mom from Quebec, Canada. After divorcing, my mom came back to Quebec when I was five and I’ve grown up here ever since although we go visit our dad every summer and talk to him every week. More so, like lots of North Americans (or ppl from the whole continent really), I have fairly recent ancestors that have emigrated. That includes mainly french, polish, irish & italian. But that’s not what I want to talk about.

    I feel like identifying yourself to one big thing, the more so when it’s vague and can have many different implications, isn’t good, isn’t right. I might get hated here, but that includes to your country. And I know there are very nationalist people, that are proud of their country and might even feel some kind of superiority because of it but hear me out.

    I’ve actually researched on this in the context of a class (it was a main subject) and following the books we had to read, we had an individual’s thoughts regarding the whole “broken identity” situations. The thought he brought up that struck me the most was how you define your identity. You are unique, everyone knows that. Everyone is. In that case, how could you simply be, for example, “French”. How many other people are also French. In that case, you need to add something else, narrow it down right? So you are “French” and you “like raspberries”. Alright but many other people are that… Hmmm so now “French”, “likes raspberries” and “favorite/favourite color: green”. That still includes many people. Alright let’s add “loves biking”. And then “is allergic to penuts” and “hates opera” &….

    Your identity can’t be described by a word. Or a thing. It’s a combination of things. Which is why someone’s cultural identity can’t be soley used to define who someone is. That doesn’t make sense. And the geographic place we were born and raised shouldn’t make a difference how people are considered and treated. As far as I know, we’re all from planet earth right? You’d be born on a spaceship and it still wouldn’t matter. You are not where you came from, you are not where you live. That’s way too limited of an outlook. Neither are others. You are beautiful you, others are beautiful them. Get to know people. And don’t capture them in a generalized label box that puts them in a intimidating place that makes you want to keep your distances. Remember they’re just people.

    I wonder if the people who keep distances because of misconceptions & generalizations realize how much greatness they’re missing out on (probably not).

    I don’t know. I’m lucky, I grew up in a very ethnically diverse place. We’re a mix of immigrants, natives, second generation immigrants, exchange students. And we don’t care. I mean, everyone is a potential friend. And that’s awesome. I’m not saying there aren’t groups of people that don’t stick together by origins or foreign language, but none of them really have that as a sole group. I guess what I’m tryimg to say is that I live in a place where open-mindness is a top priority and that makes the whole difference. It’s something people should value more and it should be transmitted through education.

    Something else I’d like to add. There is this philosopher (John Rawls) that developed the idea of a “veil/cloak of ignorance” (if I translate the French term, I’m not sure what they call it in english). The idea behind the veil of ignorance is that it’s a fictional situation in which you totally forget everything about who you are and what groups you belong to when making a decision or taking position. So for instance in the context of gouvernment money being or not being distributed in a way that helps the people with lower income. In front of such a situation, a person that wears the veil of ignorance can’t be in disfavor of having the poor getting more money despite what it would mean for the richer people. Because he doesn’t know to what groups he belongs to. He could be rich. But he could also be poor. So would he risk it? No. Same for discrimination. Should I want people to discriminate homosexuals, *insert skin color*, nerds, foreigners, handicapped people etc.? Under the veil of ignorance, the answer is always no. Because you don’t know who you are and therefore you need to consider the possibility of you being part of the discriminated group. In the case mentioned, people should ask themselves if they wanted people that come from a different country/ have a different culture/mentality /that speak a different language be treated as outcasts or perceived as different. The answer would be no once again. Just get to know people and base how you treat them after that. You might have things in common (interests, sense of humor) and become friends, or you might just not connect and drift away (and that’s okay) but just give everyone a chance.

    Also I’d like to point out that the whole concept of “us” versus “you/them” is never beneficial. Trapping people in groups, identifying them to something and not going beyond preconceptions is ignorant. When you look at it, the people in the “us” group are probably very different and some probably don’t even like each other amongst themselves. Humans naturally classify things and people to keep the world coherent and I’m not saying that you can never ever at some point generalize certain things in certain context. But always think stuff through, never cease to question these groups you’ve made in your mind because what is imagined and reality are never 100% in sync and people from a same group are actually very different between themselves and there’s always more to learn than there is to assume. Plus if you really want to work with groups, how about this: no matter where on earth we come from, no matter our skin color, no matter our age, we’re all humans. We all get angry, love, smile, cry, get tired. There aren’t any outsiders there. I feel like I’m branching out to the wrong people considering people commenting here have a little golden something called “open-mindness” and are probably not the people making others feel like outcasts, but hey. Just wanted to put eternally scattered thoughts out there.

    And this is definitely all over the place and drifts away from the main subject but I guess it’s my way of putting myself out there. I guess I’m just frustrated with close-minded people and I decided to rave here. Sorry if I offended anyone. Feel free to add thoughts or argue. I don’t usually post comments but hey. Why not?

    6 years ago
  10. I am Korean born but since I emancipated from my family, I have pretty much been white washed just being surrounded by Caucasians (lived in Tennessee for a bit)mostly. As I grew older, I started to realize it is hard to lose who you are but easy to lose the way you are. My significant other takes origins serious because he is part native american and because we have been long term partners, he wanted to appreciate my birth place and culture but I had become just an american. I wanted to be part of the Korean culture but I found that to be challenging because I forgot my ways of being Korean. I started working with Koreans out in the West Coast area and boy, was I different from them. These were people that had moved here a year or two ago and they pointed out everything they noticed about me that was not like them including the fact that I was with someone of different nationality. Mind you, they couldn’t hire anyone but Koreans because the owner could not communicate other wise. All in all, I learned that I am not just part of one culture but others as well under the circumstances. There is nothing wrong with being a Gyopo IMO and I will pursue further knowledge of the culture from where I was born and hopefully get a chance to experience it full on when my soon to be hub and I visit Korea for honeymoon.

    6 years ago
  11. My family immigrated from Taiwan to Vancouver, Canada, when I was four-years-old. I grew up speaking Mandarin at home and English at school, and I still do that to this day. However, it’s actually very difficult for me to stick to speaking in one language for a whole conversation – I tend to speak in Chinglish (a mixture of Chinese and English). As such, all of my friends must at least understand, if not speak, both languages. I guess this really limits my social circle, but since my parents did not really assimilate into Canadian (Caucasian) culture, it’s more difficult to be friends with people who have different cultural values. That’s not to say that I am completely unaffected by my social environment. This is more evident when I visit my relatives in Taiwan.

    Although I have been living in Canada now for 16 years, Taiwanese natives don’t automatically peg my as a foreigner. I’m fluent in the language to some extent: I can carry on conversations, read newspapers, etc. with no accent, but please don’t ask me to hold any professional debates! My vocabulary just doesn’t cover jargon in specific fields haha. I don’t run into any problems like people switching to English when they see me (although that may be just the lack of English skills in the city I’m from), or vendors jacking up their prices because I’m a tourist. That’s the good part. The more negative aspects are with my extended family who have many different standards from my family. In North America, I would be considered normal weight for my height (according to my BMI. I’m not fit, but I’m not overweight either), but I would be obese to my relatives. They also love to compare grades or jobs between people of the same generation. I just don’t find these two habits very common in Canada. Sometimes, I feel left out from my cousins as well because a) I didn’t really spend a lot of time with them growing up (my family visited Taiwan about every 5 years) and b) I somehow get the feeling they resent me for growing up outside of Taiwan and (mistakenly) think that I think I’m better than them. On the flip side, since I grew up outside of Taiwan and never received any Taiwanese education, my relatives don’t give me any slack for not knowing much of the history. It’s not a topic that comes up often between my relatives themselves anyways.

    TL;DR: All in all, I would say I’m quite “fob” (fresh off the boat) as a Taiwanese-Canadian, being maybe 80% Taiwanese and 20% Canadian (just for the poutine – you’ll understand when you try it! LOL). I don’t get treated differently when I go back to Taiwan, but I don’t feel like I fit in 100% there either. I think Taiwan is more slack compared to Korea when it comes to gyopos. Bottom line: I wouldn’t trade my experience for being 100% anything. I think understanding and experiencing different cultures really expand one’s conceptual knowledge of the world. :)

    PS: shoes OFF for sure!! Even when I have to grab something from my room which is literally two steps away from the door!

    6 years ago
  12. I think these days it’s really easy to loose the cultural identity since the world is not so big anymore…
    I am Polish and I do, indeed, live in Poland BUT I moved to England for a while. I was living in a place with a huge Polish community. Those people go to Polish church every Sunday, they speak Polish in their homes, they work with other Polishmen and do stuff every other Polish person does. I think they won’t loose their identity so soon. On the other hand, when someone is entirely surrounded by people of a different nationality and they don’t really speak in their mother tongue often, it’s very hard. My sister was living in England for two years, now in Beijing for a year… She’s been hanging out with people from so many different places and origins. Do you think she can speak Polish perfectly? She can’t. While making a sentence in Polish, when there’s a “hard word”, first the English equivalent pops up, then Chinese and then Polish, at the very end. It’s not so common yet, but still – it happens. It all depends on our surroundings, the community we live in, the people we meet and associate with…
    I want to move out from Poland soon and settle down someplace else in the world, so does my sister (since she does have her Japanese boyfriend, fufufu…). If I have kids one day (omg), I want them to know Polish culture a little, I want them to talk to my parents in Polish a bit, say “dzień dobry”… Will I expect them to fully embrace “what it really means to be Polish”? No – but I want them to have a piece of Poland in their hearts.
    To me, if you feel even a little bit Polish, if you have a tiny bit of sentiment to this country (or to any other country in that matter) – that is wonderful. It is so much better than denying your own roots.

    6 years ago
  13. I feel this so much.

    I’m born and raised Australian – I’ve lived in Sydney my whole life, I went through the schooling system and the Marbo v Queensland case is etched in my mind, yet I’m constantly asked “So where are you from?” and “What are you?”.
    My default answer is Chinese, but then I get “oh that cool, where abouts in China?” sometimes I like to keep the conversation short and say Hong Kong since I speak Cantonese, but I have absolutely no blood ties with HK.
    My parents are from different countries within Asia, yet if you ask them these questions, they’ll also insist they’re Chinese. How am I supposed to answer these questions when my direct links to Asia are so muddled?

    6 years ago
  14. Hi EYK + Jen,
    Long time viewer/subscriber, first time poster.
    Brief description before we start: I am a second generation, born in America, full Korean male that is somewhat fluent in Korean. My friend is a second generation, born in America, full Chinese male, learned Korean, but is still a noob when it comes to the language, ANYWAYS.

    I can definitely relate to the portion where you guys (girls) talk about “speaking too much English”.
    I was in Korea a couple years ago for a break after going to missions in the Philippines. During my stay in Korea, I rode the subway with one of my friends from America to go back to the location we were staying at. (Don’t exactly remember where). But my friend and I were just laughing and speaking English at a normal volume like we do in America, and out of no where a Korean guy in his late twenties just yells at us, “BE QUIET!” I talked back to him saying, “OR WHAT.” Yes, I understand that it is disrespectful to talk back to my elders (or those older than me, especially in Korea) but I didn’t think we were doing anything wrong to deserve such rude behavior.

    Thinking back, I have two hypothesis (hypothesi?) in which why that Korean guy was so angry at us:
    1) He was angry/jealous at the fact that my friend and I were speaking English so fluently and so loudly as if we were bragging, which we were not doing or intending to do.
    2) The subway is a place where everyone is supposed to be quiet, in which then, he got angry because we were being too loud.
    In any case, I thought it was rude of him to yell at us when my friend and I were just minding our own business, and doing no harm to anyone else.
    Thanks for reading.

    6 years ago
    • Ok, first off: thank you for commenting on our site! Secondly – what did the guy say after you said “OR WHAT?!” I’m dying to know :D

      6 years ago
      • He didn’t really say anything afterwards because, if I remember correctly, he seemed shocked that someone younger than him had talked back to him. All he could do was glare at me and my friend. Our stop was before his and he was near the doors so we had no choice but to pass him. While passing him, I made eye contact and glared back at him and he simply didn’t do or say anything. My friend on the other hand, who was behind me, apologized quickly before he got off. After that, never saw him again. :)
        Again, thank you for reading. :)

        6 years ago
  15. I’m Chinese Australian and I grew up in a predominately white neighborhood. I have some friends that grew up in areas with mainly Asians and they were telling me how much I spoke differently to them, even though I lived in the same country with them, apparently I was ‘white washed’ There was a time when I went to China when I was 11 and while I was eating out one of my relatives kept on making remarks about how all I eat in Australia was KFC and Mcdonalds and he kept asking me if I could use chopsticks, all in a very obnoxious way and even though I was nine at the time i felt like punching him in the face. Then one time last year I was talking to my cousin and half way through my sentence she said “Wow you really do speak like a foreigner”

    6 years ago
  16. What an interesting discussion! My personal take on it is: the more we mix, the more culture becomes about geography than genetics. A lot of cultural distinctions came about because of local history, weather, plants, and food, so these things change the slowest and affect everyone in their vicinity, regardless of where they came from, so this is where I think things are going. More than “cultural purity”, I think that preserving important history and traditions is important. I once remarked to a prominent Native Canadian (I have some of that blood myself) that, while I totally respected his drive for Native rights, things might go faster for him is they just claimed back the Canadian title and enlisted everyone who considered themselves Canadian to the “Native” side to fight for everyone’s rights, whatever they may be. I’d rather be united than divided. I was born in Canada but I’m essentially a mutt. My forefathers go back hundreds, to 13 generations in some cases and 2 in others and there’s tons of racial blend in there though I look pretty whitebread. My Grandfather once remarked that I should only date “my own kind” and I replied that I refused to date my sisters who were the only ones “of my own kind” that I knew of and that I refused to limit myself either. He didn’t take it well, but he got over it ;). My parents were different from each other in many ways so in order to avoid conflict, I grew up with no cultural traditions at all, no religion, and little in the way of family traditions. I felt a little bit adrift as a kid – like I didn’t belong anywhere. I missed having something greater than sharing a house to connect me to others. So, I decided that I would make my friends into my family and the only criteria was that they had to be friendly – heh. It’s worked out great so far. Where one group will shun you, another 3 will welcome you, so don’t be discouraged and just keep being yourself.

    History is important but we should all understand (and remember) world history and how we got here, rather than just one country’s small part of the story, so what else is left? Personally, I think that Simon and Martina have essentially created their own great Nasty Nation, wherever they go – making their own history and traditions – so I don’t think that whether they are Korean or Canadian should really be much of a concern any more. Heck Google is making its own floating island country yet operating worldwide, why should the rest of us be tied to a bunch of lines on a map?

    Cyber_3 – the camera was very nice, as was the shot but the editing was a little choppy and there could have been more action. Too interesting to really care much though ;)

    6 years ago
    • Yeah, it’s not our camera, though, but we’re thinking about getting one like it, or one that just handles colour a bit better than ours :D

      6 years ago
  17. I’m a New Zealander living in Australia, and while there are no major cultural differences, I’m well and truly sick of being asked to say things like “six, Pepsi” etc. just because my accent is slightly different.
    Interestingly however, many people who are unaware of where I’m from think I sound British.

    I think of myself as a New Zealand-Australian. I don’t see myself staying in either country my whole life (wanna move to Korea (: ) so I suppose that will change.

    6 years ago
  18. This was a very interesting TLDR. I personally am half Caucasian and half Mexican. I never knew the Mexican side of my family. I don’t identify with either one. I’m just an American. Actually, I don’t really identify as an American either. I’m just a human who lives in America. I have NO “racial” identity at all and tend to not notice it in others.
    I also don’t look like either one. I’ve had people ask me if I were Native American, Hawaiian and even if I were Korean.
    I SO don’t notice it in fact, that I overhead someone say something about Beyonce being black and it stopped me in my tracks and I had to think for a moment. Then in my head I was like, “oh yeah, I guess she is black”. I just didn’t notice.
    Its one thing to be proud of the history of your ancestors, but I think holding onto a racial identity in this day and age can only perpetrate discord. Its just one more thing that people can potentially get offended over. Another way to exclude people. Its like Sneeches on Beaches.

    “When the star bellied Sneeches had frankfurter roasts,
    or picnics or parties or marshmallow toasts,
    they never invited the plain bellied Sneeches.
    They left them out cold in the dark on the beaches”.

    Or something like that. XD Its been a long time since I’ve read it.

    BTW – I laughed when you said Jen maid you up to look like Bom because when I saw a picture of you before I thought to myself, “Martina looks like Park Bom with that make-up.” :D

    6 years ago
    • I agree; I don’t think that you really need to have a racial or national identity. To me, it seems to be a way to separate people into categories and to enable fights and arguments over which box a person NEEDS to be in. Can we not just be in the “person” box? What makes racial labels so important? *Sigh*

      6 years ago
  19. I’m Japanese but moved to the States when I was 5. Although I grew up with the culture such as eating the food, watching Japanese tv shows, and the music from the shows that I watched, I realized that I didn’t know much about the culture. I remember when I was 10, I went to Japan for the first time in 3 years and thought I knew everything from the things that I grew up with. I was completely wrong. I knew nothing. I didn’t know anything about the fashion, music, and just so many other stuff. This made me feel upset and I ended up hating Japanese culture.

    Also when I was in the 2nd grade, I hated it when my parents spoke Japanese in public because I thought it was so embarrassing and nobody else spoke the language. Plus I was made fun of by some guys because of my lunch which led me to not want to bring Japanese food to school. I also grew up in areas where there aren’t that many asians so I ended up being more comfortable being around white people and feel like left out whenever I am with other Asians.

    Whenever I would talk to someone that is Japanese, it would be someone that is much older than I am such as my mom’s friends. Because of this, I have barely never talked to anyone around my age who is Japanese aside from my cousin so I don’t know how to talk to them. I have asked my mom but she didn’t really answer my question. Although I never had any pressures from my relatives to know the language and culture, they just expect me to know it even though I don’t. There are times when I don’t know what to do and don’t really do anything about it. Also they thought I knew no English despite living in the States for a majority of my life.

    I feel like I did not explain my story very well and it is kind of lame compared to the other ones. But I do feel happy about myself now and about who I am/what I am. I am very proud of my culture and it is now part of my daily life. My Japanese has improved dramatically because of it and the shows that I watch and the music that I listen to makes me feel more motivated.

    6 years ago
  20. I live in Québec where the identity is a major problem just inside the population. Most of it is from immigration and even the “true” Québecois have immigrated from Europe. I for myself have been since my childhood aware of the problem of not being from your country of living’s origin whether it’s because you parent are from different origins or that you were not born in the country itself. There will always be people who will claim that you are not a true “insert name of the country here”. The thing is you abide by the social rules, you know the culture and you love it.They don’t have the right to tell you that. Furthermore in the society we live in this concept of taking your identity on your personal background seems clearly outdated. Your identity is shaped by it but it’s not reduced to it. Having more than one cultural baggage only makes you more of an interesting person sooo it shouldn’t even be a problem that you are not completly considered as belonging to a certain country in particular since the physical barrier that used to define your culture are falling down thanks to media and internet.
    I was born in French but raised in Québec. In québec, I am not considered québécois or even Canadian but in france, I am consider as a canadian. It used to bother me alot when I was 14 and I’ve come to the conclusion that it didn’t matter. My cultural baggage is as much european than american.

    6 years ago
  21. I was born and lived in Vietnam till i was 12 before moving to US in ’04 so i’d say i speak almost perfect Vietnamese. The first time i went back to visit was ’06, only 2 years, and i kid you not, everywhere i go people asked if i was Viet kieu, which is a term for Vietnamese from oversea. The second time i went back was in ’11 and nobody even speak to me in Vietnamese anymore. I went to the market, they tried to sell me stuff in English. I went to the mall, the cashiers ringed me up in English. There was one incident where i went to a small mom and pop restaurant and my bill came out to a lot more than what it is on the menu. So i asked them in Vietnamese and apparently they thought i was a foreigner, Korean or Japanese they said. So i just said no, i’m 100% Vietnamese, pretty much trying to convince i’m a local. The owner laughed really hard and said who was i even kidding, i’m for sure a Viet kieu. also that even if they jacked up the price it wouldn’t matter to me anyways since i’m from oversea, what’s a couple more dollars, stop being stingy. So pretty much everywhere i went, i was treated as either a foreigner (i guess i must look Korean or Japanese to them) if not then a Viet kieu. I finally ask my best friend who still live in Vietnam if she doesn’t know me, how would she spot me out from the local. She said even though the girls in Vietnam are trendy and up to date with the fashion, there’re still minor things which screams non-local in the way i dress and how i do my make up/hair. I guess the opposite is also true, after 10 years of living in LA I can now easily spot out Vietnamese or even just Asian in general that just move to LA or visiting. Not just in their fashion or make up/hair but also their manners and the way they carry themselves.

    Carrying both culture is quite difficult for me especially since i was raised in Vietnam. My cousins whom were born in the US get cut a lot more slack than i do. Even with simple task such as greeting. My cousins can just wave hello to the older relatives but for me i have to go and politely greet individual relatives in Vietnamese. If I even greet in English, i’d get scold. Even with marriage, when my US-born cousins date non-Vietnamese, they don’t get as much grievance. However when my Vietnam-born cousins and I bring around non-Vietnamese, it was much less welcomed. Around my family i’m too too Americanized and around my friend i’m too Asian. It’s really tough to juggle both sides and make everyone happy.

    6 years ago
  22. Well, here is a funny story:

    The country I was born in, and grew up in up to my mid-teens, no longer exists. Its culture no longer exists either. There is no nation, country or group that could be said to have inherited that culture.

    But that’s not even the funny part yet. The funny part is that the last 3 generations of my family have moved a lot and married outside of their ethnicity, so I am a very crazy ethnic mix, and as I was growing up my immediate family spoke 5 languages to each other. For example, my father would speak one language to his mother and another language to his brother. (Try to explain that to an average person who’s asking about your background in an effort to make small talk!)

    As I was growing up, I couldn’t really associate myself with any group, but because I had a little bit of their culture in me – and then some – most groups in my immediate surroundings were ready to at least tolerate me, if not really accept. And I am not even talking about ethnicities, since my family was different culturally too: they had travelled more than most people around us, many of their close friends lived far away, they had experiences unknown to most people in our immediate circle. As the result, the education I received at home was different to what was taught at school, not even better or worse, just different – I just had a different mindset and cultural framework.

    And then the country started falling apart, accompanied by “ethnic cleansing”, which eventually developed into a civil war. That was a very bad time and place to be an ethnic mix. Luckily, my parents found protection from the US embassy and our family fled to the US.

    When we landed in NYC I felt like I could finally breathe – for the first time in 3 years. Unfortunately, one language nobody in my family knew at the time was English. Still, even not speaking the language, for the first time in my life I found a place where I felt I belonged, because cultural diversity in NYC is just a part of everyday life – accepted and even expected.

    In NYC, my usual attitude of not caring what skin/eye/hair color people had, or what language they spoke, or where they were born, or what ethnic background they came from, was no longer setting me apart from everyone else around me – in fact, it almost felt like the mainstream one, because neither did people around me – in school, in college, at work. Sure, we were all curious about other (and each other’s) cultures, countries, histories and beliefs, but we judged each other and others based on actions alone. And that is a cultural environment I could finally and fully be part of.

    Of course, not everyone in NYC shares this attitude. But I think the ubiquitous diversity prepares people’s minds for this mental leap. Some choose to jump and others resist and retreat further into racism and nationalism. Perhaps the same environment makes these racist and nationalistic tendencies more violent when present, because the reality of a diverse society constantly confronts and challenges such attitudes.

    NYC is the place where your taxi driver could be a UK-educated Astrophysics PhD from Pakistan, or a medical doctor from Uganda who speaks fluent Russian and conversational Mandarin. Where your dentist is a German born and raised in Chile, and your local deli owner is an ethnic Korean born and raised in Uzbekistan, with a degree in urban engineering.

    These days when people ask me where I am from, I say New York. And if they ask what my accent is, I say it is from Brooklyn, which is true – many people here have accents similar to mine. This is the only place with which I can identify myself, and the culture of vibrant diversity is the only one where I have any hope to fit in. Therefore, New Yorker is the only cultural identity I have.

    I think you have pointed out the exact cause of the modern cultural confusion:
    “Back in the day, your language and your geographical location and your nationality and your heritage were very often all the same.” – and now it is no longer the case. Your country of origin, your language, your ethnicity, your current address and even your social class are no longer clear indicators of cultural affiliation. I think the only remaining relevant cultural indicator is the mentality and philosophy of life – a set of values and beliefs, which drive one’s decisions and behavior. But these factors are not easily labelled or categorized. We can no longer describe ourselves through easily recognizable and universally accepted terms. I hope that it’s a good thing and that through this process more minds will open and fewer stereotypes will prevail.

    6 years ago
    • On a somewhat different topic: Thank you guys for these TL;DRs and for the interesting and often controversial topics you bring up and discuss. I’ve been watching your channel and reading your posts for a while now and this is my favorite series, closely followed by FAPFAPs.

      This TL;DR and especially Simon’s post was inspirational and powerful enough to force me out of my hiding and leave my first comment here, but it’s most definitely not the first time of me loving your videos and discussions. I really appreciate the level-headed approach you take to discussing sensitive topics, your positive outlook on life, and your sharing of the experiences and successes of your life and marriage with the world. I understand that drama and conflict are the main selling points of entertainment, but I often feel that honest happiness never gets the stage limelight it deserves – to remind us what it’s supposed to be like, what we should aim for. I think you are doing a great job of reminding us all what happiness, playfulness and constructive attitudes look, sound and feel like. Thank you! :)

      6 years ago
  23. I think most people feel confused being a country’s gyopo. I know i am D :
    There weren’t a lot of people in the past generations that had to experience the things we do, and keeping up with 2 or more cultures is tough.
    It’s awkward for now but i think over time we’ll figure it out : D

    6 years ago
  24. Just want to say that in Norway (Which is in Scandinavia AND Europe), we take our shoes off. Good day ~

    6 years ago
  25. Well, I can totally relate. I’m american but I’ve lived 10 years in Colombia. I’ve consider myself Colombian now. Here in Colombia if you’ve spent more then six years here, then you are considered Colombian. I must say it was very hard for me to fit in here. Colombia is known to be a very cultural country, with their dances, their saying, etc. So I know what it feels like to not fit in at first. I’m bilingual but I have a small american accent. Here in Colombia an american is called Greengo. Although I pretty much blend in here, my accent still gives me off and if I say one word in English I’m considered the most awesome person jejej. Here in Colombia you leave your shoes on to enter the house.(except if you have a rug). I think it is harder for a forneer to adopt a Korean culture because of the fiscal differences. But I think you guy shouldn’t worry about it. I say that if you’ve been there more than six years you are a korean, maybe not citizen by birth, but a korean non the less. Especially if you are paying taxes to the country, you are doing what every other citizen is doing and that counts. Stay happy guys and tell your korean friend that if they move to Colombia they will be idolized because of the kpop blast that is happening over here.

    6 years ago
  26. While I don’t have any experience with Korea, as I’ve never visited the country, or really known anyone who is korean (besides my mother) I must say that I find this to be interesting.

    I live in Denmark, I was born a dane, and my father is as pure danish as they get. My mother is Korean, adopted when she was 4, so she neiher speaks the language nor really cares much for going back. So no one really questions her nationality. Me however, is quite another story. Now I don’t know if my mother struggled when she first started school, but I’ve had to stomach quite enough rude commentary on my looks.

    I personally don’t think I look very different, even though my closest friends say they envy my eyes and hair, I still just think it’s who I am – and there is no changing that. But when I started school, from grade 0-6 there were no problems. Sure, I had the whole stigma of being smart because I’m part asian, but other than that, everyone saw me as a dane.

    Then I switched schools, and moved from the country side to the capital. And boy did I hate it. On my first day people came up to me and asked me, in english “Do you speak danish?” looking at me like I was some thing on display at a museum. They asked if I was japanese, chinese, and tried making me speak the languages – which I couldn’t at the time (now I speak at least some conversasional japanese)

    and for the first time I got the “You don’t belong here, you are different go back to asia” comment thrown at me. And it made me sad. I wasn’t a real dane, but I couldn’t go to korea, since I’m not a proper korean either. So lately I’ve chosen to stand inbetween. I am a dane at heart, and I am proud of that. But I still get sad whenever people tell me to GTFO, because where would I go?

    I’ve started learning more about korean culture, because I almost felt pressured to by the people I ended up hanging around, listening to kpop and such because I felt like that was expected of me. My mother thinks it’s weird, my dad is indifferent and everyone who has told me to GTFO and go back to asia thinks it’s weird as well. So I almost don’t know what I’m supposed to do anymore.

    Anyways, I guess my point it, while I’ve been living in the same country my whole life, I still don’t feel like I belong. So I understand this issue, but from a different experience I suppose

    6 years ago
  27. Identity is actually something I’ve always thought a lot about, particularly the last couple of years while I was in graduate school. My parents immigrated to the U.S. from the Middle East when they were young adults, so our household had a combined culture. Whenever I have visited an Arab country, I am questioned as to why I don’t speak Arabic well enough or why I didn’t hold onto the culture. In the States, because I wear a headscarf, I am never accepted as an American. “Where are you from? No, where are you really from?” is something I get all the time. And let’s not forget “Your English is so good.” Couple that with some of the Islamophobic rhetoric that people will sometimes spew, and I am left even more confused and lost. It’s an on-going process for me, and I’m trying to accept the fact that it’s going to continue, probably for the rest of my life.

    6 years ago
  28. I think it’s great that Simon And Martina decided to take a break from reviewing kpop video’s to ask a very important question. This is why I love Simon and Martina so much! They think outside the box and offer a safe community where we as “nasty’s” can share experiences and thoughts without getting bashed by “internet justice warriors”.

    The world is changing. And so is the definition of identity. To me identity doesn’t and shouldn’t exist in the strict outlines of “You live in Poland so you are polish”. To me identity should be your reputation.

    “I don’t care if you’re black, white, straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, short, tall, fat, skinny, rich, or poor. If you’re nice to me I’ll be nice to you.” -Eminem

    I am adopted. I come from a small socialist country of Bulgaria where tall buildings are scarce. Bulgaria is not very modern. It is very traditional and proud. I know little of my country and my culture. Even while living 4 years in Bulgaria I ironically know nothing about it. And that’s because I was completely isolated. In the Bulgarian orphanage I slept for 10 hours a day and woke up only to eat breakfast and dinner. This lasted for 2 years. I didn’t have an education and I never went outside. Bulgaria’s orphanages are very dangerous and poor.

    I am considered Bulgarian because I was a documented citizen there. The word “Identity” shouldn’t mean your race.

    6 years ago
  29. Nia

    I don’t have personal experience on that, I’m 100% Spanish, but my mother sort of does in small scale. She was born in Mallorca, in the balearic islands, to a father form there and a mother form Ibiza, and she moved to Ibiza when she was 13. Even though the islands are really close, there is a noticeable difference in accent and culture and at the beginning she had a hard time addapting because back there was some resentment against the people from Mallorca. If you ask her now, she feels sge is totally form Ibiza.

    A school friend of hers has a similar background, but she is always back and forth between the two islands. The funny part is that the people form Mallorca tells her she speaks is in ibicenco (the dialect of catalan used in Ibiza) and in Ibiza they tell her she speaks majorcan (the dialect of catalan used in Mallorca), so one could say she is from both and neither island at the same time.

    6 years ago
  30. RE: Wearing Shoes in the house in America.

    I never wear my shoes in the house. I might leave them on if I’m running in to grab something I forgot or go to the bathroom, or had them upstairs and got dressed and put them on & am wearing them out the door, but just normal day to day, as soon as I walk through the door I kick them off.

    Actually, I think the majority of my friends are like that too. We don’t wear shoes in the house. If you do keep them on, no big deal but for the most part you take them off. Isn’t it uncomfortable to have them on when you’re home relaxing?

    6 years ago
  31. Interesting video~ I’m mixed Mexican and White American but I’ve never had identity struggles or problems. I see myself as a US citizen, because that’s exactly what I am. The US is a melting pot of cultures, and so I fit right in. It also doesn’t help that I live in Texas, which is basically half Hispanic anyways. lol
    So about the shoes, I’m visiting my boyfriend in Korea, and the first day I met his mom she hugged me and pulled me inside the house, but then there was an audible gasp because I left my shoes on. and I had just taken one step inside! haha now I know better.

    6 years ago
  32. I grew up in a Korean household in a white-Jewish neighborhood (in suburban LA), though outside of school I was mostly immersed solely in Korean culture and language. My entire family speaks mostly Korean at home, but they can understand English too. My mother came from Korea when she was in elementary school and graduated from UCLA and USC, but she still speaks mostly Korean (and her English has a slight accent because she speaks mostly Korean outside of work lol). My dad came from Korea when he was in college, so he has a very heavy accent when speaking English but he can communicate adequately and he definitely understands a lot. So I’m not really a second generation, but not a 1.5 generation Korean-American either. My family watches Korean dramas at home, I listen to mostly Korean music, and a lot of my values are Korean. But when I’m outside of my little Korean bubble I shift gears.

    As a lot of other people have stated,at first I was too “Korean” for white-washed Americans or Asians, and at times I’m too “American” for other Koreans. So what I do now is I’m completely American when I’m with my American friends, and I’m completely Korean when I’m with Korean people (like family, family friends, strangers), and I’m Korean-American when I’m with other Korean-Americans. I can sort of change my cultural awareness and mannerisms depending on which group of people I hang out with, and they’re all a part of who I am. I want to say I lean more towards Korean because I grew up in a Korean household, but it’s very ambiguous. I haven’t been to Korea, but when I go to the LA Koreatown and interact with Koreans who might as well be living in Korea, I can blend in as a fellow Korean very well.

    It’s strange because as a Korean-American I have some very contradicting values. Like I impose on myself a rule to “only marry a Korean girl” because that’s something I grew up with (and I don’t mind following because I feel it helps preserve my cultural heritage), even if it’s an arranged marriage sort of deal (선), but with my kids I don’t plan on being so strict and would be fine with whomever they choose as their partner. I’m pursuing the career path laid out for me as determined by my parents, and have no intention of doing that to my kids. It’s because I identify so strongly with my Korean background but have that tinge of western influence that resulted in this, I suppose.

    One thing I noticed though are that Korean-Americans definitely look or appear different from native Koreans. Something about the make-up, clothes, style, whatever, is a little off. I might even go so far as to say facial shape and bone structure is different for Korean-Americans, but I don’t know. I had a similar conversation when I went to the LA Nasty meet-up with a Korean immigrant, how we “just know” when someone is “Korean” or when someone is Korean-American. I definitely felt Korean-American to her, and to myself.

    6 years ago
  33. I know that what I want to say is an OT, but I think that nowadays it’s hard to talk about cultural identity… Of Course, we can feel as a Polish man, Canadians, or every other citizen of country we ware born/ware growing up/are living now. But we all live on one Planet so it’s doesn’t really matter… We have a nasty world full of Kimchi, pierogi, and K-pop with pretty boys! ;D

    I can’t identify with people who ware born in one country, and ware growing up in other – it’s a difficult experience, there is no doubt about it. But i’m not feeling a fully Pole. Half family from my mother side is from Hungary, Russia, and they were Tatars, and from my father’s side i’m Pole, German Jew. There is no way, i could call myself Pole. My surname doesn’t sound polish, so as a child I have been called many kinds of names.
    But it’s not bad :) Thanks to that mixed genealogy I can explore other cultures that are in my blood. :D

    And guys! It’s amazing, that you two have such a courage :D I mean… You were able to live in different country. Asian culture is one of the most complicated, so it’s difficult to survive there for a SIX YEARS! Bear Grylls approves ;D

    And Simon, I’ve to tell you something. You don’t have to worry about your knowledge of history of poland and mother language. Everytime I go out and i hear people speaking… ugh, it’s terrible! They are living here but they can’t speak properly, haha :D
    You have no idea how big is my smile when you drops some polish words in your videos! :D Just don’t worry. Smile. And be who you are. :D

    6 years ago
  34. I identify as American. My mom is filipino and my dad is caucasian (with European parents). We lived a military life, so it was all, I guess, very American with some occasional Filipino food. My mom loved America, so while she would do some things that were very Asian/Filipino, she raised us as American as she could. We didn’t see much culture unless we interacted with family. My brother and I never felt the need to visit the Philippines either.

    Now that I live in Los Angeles, I actually have a lot of Korean friends who spent the majority of their life in Korea, until the last 5-10 years. So it is interesting to see them sort of try to figure out whether or not they will go back. One of my friends was thinking about going back, but her parents want her to stay here because the opportunities for her will be a lot better. Another came here, went back for the army and came back because he loves America. (Side note: he told me a lot of his friends would go back for the army, but wouldn’t come back. Not because they didn’t want to, but because it was just easier to stay in Korea.)

    Anyways, the comments here are totally amazing. I have to catch up with them.

    6 years ago
  35. I was born in Canada to an English-speaking father and a Francophone mother. I was raised 100% bilingual and attended Francophone school my entire life. What is extremely frustrating to me is that French-Canadians consider me Anglophone because of my last name, while English-speaking Canadians consider me Francophone. I’ve never been able to fit into either group.

    What’s especially frustrating is when I travel to Quebec (I live in Manitoba). Quebecers try to speak to me in English when they hear my non-Quebecois accent because they think I sound like an Anglophone. They often “congratulate” me on my French skills in extremely patronizing ways and giggle when I use French-Canadian expressions that they think only Quebecers use.

    My experience is certainly different from what many others in the comments experienced moving from one country to another, but I can understand the feeling of not fitting in to one culture or another. It’s so frustrating having to explain my cultural identity all the time, no matter what language the other person speaks.

    6 years ago
    • Heh! I was born the opposite in Northern Ontario to a French-Canadian Dad (who barely spoke french) and mostly Scottish Mom. The french I learned in French Immersion was much closer to Parisien french than Quebec french. When I worked for a year in Montreal and even there I got the condescension at first too. I think that some Quebecers don’t care about the quality of your french, so much as the fact that they are superior in all things. As great as some things are in Quebec, there was a lot of anti-English propaganda back in the 1970s-1980s and I’m not sure it’s quite worn off yet. Gotta give it at least a month to wash away the accent and wear down the hackles, keep trying ;). A French roomate can help too. I also think that Manitoba is a bit of a mystery to everyone else in Canada because, despite being in the center, people tend to pass through more than visit.

      Funniest slang I heard in Quebec: instead of saying “Christ!” (as a swear word), a woman I knew would say “Chrysler!” as a sort of “tabernac vs. tabarouette” or “shit vs. shoot”, could never look on those cars favourably afterwards – LOL!

      6 years ago
  36. I’m Mexican-American and in my family there has always been a pressure to do well in school and go to college to get a good job:even if my family didn’t know exactly how to guide me because they didn’t have the opportunities to go to college. In terms of speaking Spanish, it was an unspoken rule that I had to speak it at home or at family events. My parents have always found it shameful when the children of Mexican decent aren’t encouraged to speak their native language because they see it as them loosing or not caring about their heritage. I know that whenever we go to Mexico people automatically think that we are rich just because we come from “El Norte” (The North). People always assume that the streets are paved with money and that we don’t have to work hard in order to live well. I find it ironic that most of the time those people don’t realize they can be living better off than we are. I know that whenever we go to Mexico and my family introduces us to their friends and acquaintances that don’t have family in the US they assume that I don’t know anything about my heritage or my language. That always frustrates me because they are judging us without talking to us first. I can remember one time that I started talking in Spanish someone even told me “Oh, you speak Spanish?!” For the same misunderstandings about language is that it gets me mad that my sister that is born in Mexico but was raised in the US speaks in English when she could say the same exact thing in Spanish. So yeah, that’s my story. Oh and about sticking out like a sore thumb just because of how you speak the language or how you dress, it is completely true for me as well.

    6 years ago
  37. I have to say, I am a white american and have been my entire life and ever since I can remember we have never worn shoes inside the house and I have certainly never left my shoes on going into a friends house. Also a korean friend of mine, who moved to the US approximately 3 years ago, says that she wears shoes at all times sometimes even in the shower (at home not at a public pool or something).

    I also tend to think it is pretty easy to recognize a native Korean from a Korean American here, even though I have never been to Korea.

    6 years ago
  38. Hi!! I live in Bolivia ( south America Country) My mom is Bolivian and my dad is Korean, i Had been raised under two cultures, but i feel More Bolivian Than Korean as I had born and Growth here, But other Bolivians think I`m a foreigner, and Koreans just don`t know where I`m from, My face has totally Korean Characteristics but in Tan Version and I also Have Latin Body, and I speak Spanish… so i`m quite estrange for Koreans.. So i don`t feel neither Bolivian Nor Korean.. But since i watch your videos I know more about my fathers country and culture thanks! .

    6 years ago
  39. I grew up in an area where most of my friends are 2nd generation Chinese (their parents are immigrants), except that I’m actually a generation later. My grandparents are the ones who are immigrants, so my parents were both born in America. As such, I grew up with nearly no knowledge of Chinese culture or language, so I was often jokingly called a “banana” by my dad (yellow on the outside, white on the inside).

    Learning Chinese, it was always expected that I speak the language at home, so no matter how hard I worked in class to master the language, I never got the recognition I felt I deserved. I had a Caucasian friend who often scored about the same as me on tests, and we both started with the same level of clueless-ness in Chinese. However, she often would get awards that I didn’t, simply because people assumed that I was just taking the easy way out [by participating in programs in a language I presumably already knew]. In class, teachers would even neglect to help me practice so that they could help the Caucasian students. Unfortunately, I’ve found that as time went on, my motivation to learn Chinese has consequently gone down quite a bit.

    My experience at home has even been quite different from the traditional Chinese-American. Most of my 2nd generation friends are raised with the same ideals their parents had growing up– work and study all the time, and if you’re not the best, you’re not worth it. However, my parents grew up going to U.S. schools, so I generally had more freedom with my studies and more lenient punishments for getting average grades. Thankfully, they are also more open to letting me decide where I want my career path to go, since they have undergone the typical chinese-american experience of being forced to study science.

    6 years ago
  40. i suppose my feelings are more similar to simon’s. My mother is half Puerto Rican and half German, and spent a lot of her early childhood in Germany before she moved to Puerto Rico, then to the continental US. My father comes from a long line of Scots, he’s even registered with the family clan. Being adopted and growing up in the midwest usa i never really felt like i belonged to any of those cultures. I studied spanish and german in high school and college but i don’t speak either very well and i know very little about the cultures. My mother’s pretty americanized and my dad’s family immigrated almost 5 generations ago, and we don’t have much contact with our relatives from overseas. I’m about as american as they come but to be honest i kind of hate it. I don’t really feel like i belong to any one group and i feel really detached from my extended family, from my country and my culture, and honestly i find that pretty depressing. i know it’s not good to think of myself as the “plain vanilla white girl” but i’m really not sure how else to define myself because i don’t have any strong ties to my family’s history.

    6 years ago