hapa lately

lately, i haven't really been thinking about hapa things.  i know this contradicts what i've already written in this blog about how i think about hapa things all the time, but i really just haven't had any thoughts that seem noteworthy enough to blog about...or that i can remember amidst trying to get through a simple day.
maybe i feel this way because most of my waking hours are spent with a 19 month old little boy, doing things like building towers with mega blocks, cutting food into small squares and reading "curious george and the puppies" 10x a day.  no joke.  but then again, as i spend my days with him, i do often wonder (multiple times a day, at times) what hapa will mean to him when he's old enough to understand that he is hapa, whether he uses the term or not.
whether he is aware of it or not, God has made him a little hapa boy and already he is hapa through and through.  he looks hapa.  he already knows and understands a smattering of korean vocabulary to add to his ever-abounding american english.  he eats an assortment of foods and knows that cutlery does not just consist of forks, spoons, knives (and squishy toddler hands), but chopsticks as well.  right now,  he's learning how to communicate in english with korean words mixed right in.  he loves hearing me sing "jesus loves me" and "san toki, toki ya" and makes no distinctions between the different languages.  he is growing up in a constant intersection of cultures and it is just the way life is.  he probably thinks everyone says "bopo" when they want a kiss and that everyone has a "harmony" and a "grand-mere."  i wonder what he will do when he realizes that not all people grow up this way.  will he grow up like i did, hardly ever seeing anyone that resembled his skin tone on t.v. unless it was specifically about something racial?  will he feel like a minority?  will he care?  we do live in the midwest, afterall.  while there are many good things that come generously here, diversity still  isn't one them, even if it is growing to be more so.
as a hapa mama, i feel a responsibility to let him know that understanding that he is hapa is important but not the most important thing.  it is a part of everything and yet nothing in comparison with everything.  i'm still not sure how i will share this or how to do it, for that matter.  but they say that we learn more from what is seen than said.  what will our hapa son see that explains hapa?
having a child changes things, so they also say.  it even changes the way i think about hapa...and i suppose i do still think about it all the time, even when i'm building block towers and reading about puppies.

Comments

Tricia said…
This is beautiful, friend. Great writing, too. Thanks for giving me new perspective in that you're already thinking about these things for Asher--hadn't really thought of that before. I like how you say towards the bottom: "It is a part of everything and yet nothing in comparison with everything." It seems you handle being Hapa with grace and dignity; I can't imagine your son handling it any other way with his mama painting the example for him. :)
Andrea Moberly said…
I just discovered your blog through facebook :) I'm going to have to follow you - I think I have a lot to learn from you! From what I can understand, our adopted son will face many of the same feelings you do since he'll be growing up in a white family, but still be Korean. I really appreciate your perspective and am thankful you're so open with your experience!
Anonymous said…
Your writing inspires, me Tasha! I love that you are hapa - so beautiful inside and out. Asher is truly blessed to have you as his mama. (What's the Korean word for mama?) The way you embrace your heritage will encourage him to do the same, even if there are some tough patches, and he will be the stronger for it.
JD said…
I believe you have a book in you. Your writing is so thought provoking and well presented. You continually give me a sensitivity to the the Hapas I work with at school and leave me pondering; "Do they even know Hapa and do they even care?" I want to learn more.
tasha said…
thanks so much for all the encouragement, everyone, and thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and comment so kindly.
andrea, i'm excited for the adventure God has in store for your family and would love to hear about the intersection of cultures in your home as it transpires.
tricia, i wondered if the sentance you mentioned would make sense - so glad you got it. cathy, the korean word for mama, is "Uma," pronounced something like: Ohm-mah..and jd, do you teach and if so, what do you teach (who are your students)?
Michelle said…
this post is beautifully written, tasha. i was just telling a young asian woman about you tonight. as she described her friendship with someone, it reminded of ours in high school and college. tons and tons of wonderful memories i will cherish forever.