Culture Shock

It’s bad enough that I have to maneuver through umbrellas while hoisting my own on rainy days, but it’s even more annoying to have to deal with them on cloudy/sunny days too. These Taiwanese women and their umbrellas astound me. It seems like they’ve all forgotten that they live on a tropical island – an island of mangoes, pineapples, papayas, palm trees, and the ocean all around. But every single girl here is pale as pale can be. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think you were visiting an island of quarantined invalids since it looks like no one has seen the sun in the past 20 years.

A lot of people tell me that I look like an ABC. (I’ve come to terms with that, even though technically I’m not an American Born Chinese. I was born in Taipei. I don’t think I can be any more Taiwanese than that.) Anyways, apparently I look like an ABC because of the “healthy glow to my skin” also known as a tan. If everyone realizes that getting some sun makes you healthy-looking, then why does everyone insist on being white? Because it’s hot to look sick? Or maybe they’re just say I’m healthy-looking because that’s the nicest way to put it without saying that, in the hierarchy of beauty, they really look down upon “me and my dark skin because they perceive me as being poor.”

Then again, beauty is more than skin deep. I’m glad I exude ABC-ness because of the way (or so I’m told) I dress, the way I style my hair, my makeup, the way I hold myself in public. Random people walk up to me and will seriously ask me if I’m an ABC and then proceed to ask questions about my life. (Even though the rest of them still insist on asking me for directions.)

I am Taiwanese-American. Not fully both, but stuck in between. And I’m proud of it.

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