Born to a Japanese Mother and American father, Seattle, Washington has for almost entirety been my home. Seattle is known as being pretty openly progressive politically, and I guess sort of racially diverse. Seattle was one of the first States to legalize recreational marijuana, and has two female Democratic Senators.
However, I grew up in the suburbs which lacked Latinx/ African American representation. Look to the left for the racial makeup of my hometown.
Growing up, I didn't really know where I fit in. I didn't really care about what I wore until I was probably in midle School. I had a solid few friends when I was young and in middle school came across a problem.
I didn't really know anyone besides my core elementary friends, and they faded out of my life. As new friends appeared I started to notice a trend that my family members began to notice as well, all of my friends with the exclusion of a handful are Asian Americans. The spaces I would occupy and feel most comfortable were the ones where I was surrounded by other Asian Americans.
One of my close friends, Masaaki, who was a study abroad student here in Washington from Japan for a year asked me once for my thoughts. He said, "Sara, I don't understand why Japanese Americans don't really speak the language here." I explained to him the history of World War II and the Pacific Northwest' s incarceration of Japanese Americans following the Pearl Harbor attacks. Many people believe that much of the language was lost during that time period for Japanese Americans, due to fear of being suspected of spying on the U.S. My family immigrated here long after World War II, so this particular historical aspect didn't affect my family's language. That conversation with Masa really stuck with me, and I think about how detrimental government officials and laws can ultimately be to shaping history. The law isn't always right. In fact, from the past we've learned that it's in great part been wrong. If laws were always perfectly made, we wouldn't ever have to create new ones or make adjustments. Just something to thing about.
As mentioned previously, I grew up in the suburbs where everyone knew everyone to an extent, and I still find myself making hometown connections all over the world to this day. Let me say however, to be fair, the majority of my graduating class attends the University of Washington, where I am as well.
P.S. Here are just some of the craziest times I've used the words, "Small World" :
- When my dad was in the hospital downtown and had scan done by a woman who was my friend's mother.
- Nearly six years later, at a different hospital when one of my classmates was doing rounds as a hospital intern and waltzed into my father's room.
- My Congressional Representative? Kim Schrier. Also known as my pediatrician for more than 16 years.
Overall? I would be lying if I said I know 100% who I am, since I think it's largely dependent on the space I'm in. Growing up with two parents both in sales, you learn how to overcome objections and talk to essentially everyone. Confidence is often associated with being an extrovert, but that's not me anymore.
When I was younger, I would say hi to everyone and anyone, because I genuinely wanted to. I think that's the biggest difference between between introverted/ or extroverted (I consider, "ambivert" to be a valid middle-ground, however I still think everyone identifies more with one or the other).Anyways, my point is, that when I was younger I wanted to run into people, to engage and socialize and be that person. Nowadays, I still talk to just about everyone, but often I do it for the sake of others to almost solidify who they see- and if they've known me a long time, who they've grown to expect- me to be, rather than my own desire to often keep to myself.
Check up on my blog to read as I attempt to figure this roller-coaster of a thing called life.
So, here's to moving forward.