That is the answer that I often feel like saying when someone asks me what ethnicity I am.
or in the Vietnamese nail salon:
Where you from?
Which is a question that usually confuses me because in my head I'm like, Do I tell them where I currently live? or do I tell them where I grew up? and if I tell them that, do I have to delve into where I was born because we moved when I was like 12 so I technically grew up in two places. or... are they really asking if I'm from this country?
I usually resolve to answer their question with, "I'm from here". Which, I think in effect confuses them because they follow up with another question:
Oh, Where you born?
It is then that I decide to give a more detailed, informative answer to avoid further confusion.
I was born in the United States of America and grew up in Hawaii, and in Lynnwood, WA. I currently reside in Everett.
You would think that that would be a satisfactory answer, but no, what they are really wanting to inquire on is my ethnicity.
Nail Salon Lady: oh, you chinese?
Me: no, Filipino
NSL: Oh, you Philippines!!!
At that point, she smiles, laughingly tells her coworker something, probably something about how my feet are weird looking and it's because I'm Filipino, and proceeds with my pedi.
But, do you see the amount of confusion that is brought with my identify? People who are asian think I'm Vietnamese, people who are Vietnamese, think I'm Chinese, people who are other than asian think I'm just Asian (ya'll look the same). It's like I don't belong! The truth is, I am a product of the Filipino melting pot, years of conquistadors wooing the Filipino woman, who was undoubtedly overwhelmed (and probably even turned on) by the tall white man's big guns, ships and booty.
I know what it is that throws people off: my freckles, light skin, and chinky eyes set me apart from what people see as the "standard" Filipino. It is only when I am extremely tanned do I even resemble a Filipino.
Funny story, this picture was taken in Hawaii in a wedding I was in. The first day I went to Hawaii, I layed out on the beach for 3 hours and got darrrrk! I was so dark and had such a bad sunglass tan, they had to airbrush me for a wedding I was in. I mean, I thought "airbrushing" was a technical nerdy computer term used by editors to make beautiful people more beautiful in pictures. But no, there is actually a make-up tool that looks like a mini-blowtorch, and they connect the makeup to the device and blow makeup in your face to even out your skin tone. It's nuts, but I am grateful that the makeup artist had that in her little Mary Poppins bag. Does every makeup artist have one of those?
Anyways, that is probably the only time in my life that I have truly looked Filipino. When I came home from my trip, my dad was like.. oh!!! So black! Just like the darkness... lol.
I normally look like a light-skinned mixed kid that nobody knows which ethnicity I belong to. It's okay, though. I'm used to it. As long as I know who I am, I suppose that's all that matters, right?