August 19, 2008

Half what?

The Philippines are my so-called motherland. Yet, I still feel like a foreigner. When a Filipino asks me where I come from, my answer rarely is “I’m Filipina too”. I avoid the quizzical expression and the surprised “Really? You don’t look like it at all!” comments that follow by simply saying “I’m European” – end of conversation. I have been living in Manila for the past 2 years, immersing myself in the culture and improving my Tagalog skills. Most of D’s and my friends are Filipinos and our families have typical Filipino traditions and values. Everyone is welcoming, warm and has accepted me with open arms. And yet, I sometimes feel lost amongst so much Filipinoism. A simple joke I don’t quite get, a movie i have never heard of or a showbiz personality that I don’t recognize are enough to unintentionally remind that I am just a halfie; a Filipina by blood not but experience. My work bridges the gap between Europe and Asia and I get to meet a lot of expatriates. And you would think that it is the perfect setting, yet I don’t relate to the many French people I meet. I am suddenly reminded again that I am a halfie (the other half this time). I am French and Filipina and yet my knowledge of both cultures is limited and at times makes me feel like an alien. Ironically, I identify to Germans more than to any other culture. Can my identity be divided? Or am I simply more, do I have multiple identities? Am I lacking something compared to pure breeds because I am multicultural? The label "half" is inaccurate and inappropriate. Where does one half end and the other one start? Or should I say "third"? Ethnicity can’t be split. I am who I am; there is no percentage to describe me.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails