A year and a week ago, I moved to Charleston, SC, USA. For the first 3 months, it was kind of fun to explore new things, but I quickly realized that here in the south it is not so diverse. There is not much multiculturalism.
I am struggling to live here. I am constantly aware that I am Asian. I am different from people here. My accent is not normal. People have a hard time understanding me. I felt like people don’t even try to understand what I say, ignore or even make fun of my accent because I can’t pronounce it “right.” Even the child that I babysit trys to teach me how to pronounce things. All that is just hard for me because I know that everyone has an accent, even just within English, whether American, Australian, British, Singaporean, etc. What’s wrong with my Thailish accent?
I feel that I am out of place, not belonging, less than and my English is not good enough and never will be. (All lies that come straight from Hell because I used to be an interpreter! Of course it’s good enough. God used me to be a part of building His Kingdom.) I am not used to a place that is not very multicultural. I have to constantly explain myself…Where exactly I am from? What’s the weather like? And people assuming that I am totally used to 100% humidity and the temperature above 100 F. (No human being loves and enjoys that kind of humidity & heat, hello? Do you?) But not so much about what kind of food I eat, since Thai food is so popular here.
Even though I was born and raised in Thailand, I had the opportunity to live 11 months in Switzerland. I have Thai, Swiss & American family. My parents lived in Japan for almost 10 years. I speak 3 languages: Thai, German and English. English being my 3rd. I thought I was a pretty multicultural kid.
I found myself judging others who have never been out of their country or educated themselves about the world. I called them ignorant. I realize the ugly truth is that I am prejudice! I am!
One reason I married my husband is because he is part Japanese. I assumed he would understand me and my Asian culture more than the average American, which is true.
I have Asian pride.
God made us different yet all beautiful, equal in dignity and value. We are one family in Christ, one baptism, one body.
I confessed to God and I repented.
I will start giving people a chance to know me and let down my wall. I will let people get to know me as Kwan. Just as a person. Nothing more, nothing less.
We are God’s children and citizens of heaven. We should not feel more loved, welcomed or belong anywhere else other than in the family of Christ. Regardless of our differences, backgrounds, languages, countries, or what kind of food we eat.
P.S. Please love me still even when I eat stinky spicy rotten fish.