first thoughts

As I begin this blog, I'm wondering how long I've been thinking about "hapa" things. I really think it goes as far back as elementary school. While some of my classmates were thinking about what they were going to do during recess, I can remember trying to describe in my mind, what shade of hair color a lot of other part Asian kids in my class had, and wondering why mine was jet black and not the same creamy-milk chocolate-chesnut color. I even remember, in some 6 year old way, wondering if I was more Asian, hence the darker hair. My journey of trying to understand my mixed heritage began way before I knew the term "hapa" exsisted. I spent the first four of my elementary school years living in Tokyo. We were an expat family and I went to an American school full of kids from different racial backgrounds and from all over the globe. There were a lot of half Asian, half Caucasian kids there. There were a lot of everything kids there, mixed or not. Even then, in such a diverse environment and at such a young age when stereotypes aren't as molded, I recognized the other kids who were mixed like me. I felt some sort of unspoken connection to them. And though I've been on different extremes in wanting to be mixed (to the point of too much pride) and not be mixed (to the point of trying to ignore it), I've always thought about it either way. It wasn't until my early teen years that I heard someone refer to me as being "hapa." I had to have the name explained to me. After that, it stuck. For years, I had no clue the name's origins were discriminatory or that it really meant someone that was Native Hawaiian with a mixed heritage . I was just happy to have a name, and a cute sounding one at that, to describe our mixed lot. I'm not sure where this blog will go. On one hand, it seems a bit too self-focused to have a blog entirely for the sake of writing about and thinking about one's racial background. It almost feels painfully silly and minute to even write about with the disaster that is ongoing in Haiti right now, among a million other things that are global and seemingly more important. On the other hand, it really just seems like a good idea. As I already wrote, these things have been on my mind since I was a little girl. And though I feel much more balanced and realistic about my background now, I don't think it is without reason I have been made hapa. There is purpose to the weavings of our lives, and more specifically, in each of our good mixtures. And, I have a feeling there are a lot of other people out there who grew up as an American child, thinking about more than recess and eating more than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.