Identity is influenced and shaped by external factors, like culture and the people within your community. A sense of disconnect can occur when identities conflict, which causes self-doubt. Despite connecting to the culture through family or food, conflicting identities can cause the feeling of being an imposter or a banana.
Culture is passed on from Grandmothers to Mothers, to Daughters. Although a sense of community and a love for mom's cooking connects each generation, as time goes by, there built between us, between us and our motherland, is a barrier. The feeling of being displaced or disconnected because of our conflicting cultural identities prevents us from being both.
There is a generation gap between you and me. You left our homeland, the taste of the world's best coffee, and pieces of our culture and your identity; for promises of a better quality of life. I search your journey for the pieces I hope will connect me to our roots.
"…very basic levels of connection [to my culture], like my parents, every time we dinner; we eat dinner as a family, some people don't, I think that's very common in Chinese culture, you tend to eat around a table full of family like sharing food, that kind of counts in my opinion.
[I wish] food [was more instilled] because I think it's very special [in my culture], although a little weird for me. Maybe they like certain foods that I don't, but maybe if they showed me something different like from time to time, it would have been nice, but for now they've been - they've been doing that actually, so that's actually a good thing. Since we were locked down, we don't go to dim sum places anymore so my parents had to find like all the basic stuff for dim sum, and they got a few new things along the way so I guess yeah, stuff like that, it would be really nice.
I think gained wise… [I gained] a sense of who I am I think is most important because I think one of the struggles is that we all see ourselves, at least for Chinese people, and in Canada or America; [as] bananas you could say definitely is a huge feeling, in my eyes because it's hard to see myself as you know “oh I’m so, I'm Cantonese,” it's like I could say it but I don't know if I feel like it. It's because of that like disconnect with either language or culture or food, like what I've gained especially thanks to [culture] is the sense of who I am."
"Food is going to be like a big topic [in my experience of culture], so like just the fact of my mom always cooks Vietnamese food and I’m able to eat all this stuff, that's one thing, but I think also, like taking me to the temple. Like they never really forced me to take to go to the temple, but I just ended up going and I help my grandma lot because she's kind of known in the temple community because she sells spring rolls. So, I typically, whenever I want, it was to help her sell them out like festival in this stuff, which was nice because then I was surrounded in this Vietnamese community. So just kind of getting me there, in that space was really nice.
I think I gained a lot of good friends and just being able to like to connect with people and relate, so it's just like this kind of sense of community that like I may have not kind of… experienced had I not been Vietnamese.
I guess passing on the culture is also a responsibility thing in Vietnamese culture but also for me, it's kind of this attachment to the culture and like the nostalgia I get thinking about Vietnamese things or like food. So basically, I worry a lot about whether I can pass this onto my kids, my future kids…
Being Vietnamese or Vietnamese Canadian, I think, I'm able to experience the Vietnamese side of myself, which puts me apart from other people, per se, like I'm able to experience I guess those inside jokes that we have or food, the way we just do things in our culture but I guess being Canadian while trying to balance Vietnamese, is not being as Vietnamese…
Although I am in my homeland, my home country, there's like this wall, like this barrier… and like the food, the food is so bomb, I would never, like I would never want to lose that aspect of being Vietnamese, like my mother’s cooking is too good!"
Vietnamese coffee [is] better, better than the whole world.
But, like the quality [of food], here in Canada is better but the [taste] cannot compare.
Vietnam, [if we were to] compare like Dad and Dad back home, it’s different, it is different. Like the [behaviour]… Even if you [spoke] the [native] language, no; [the people in Vietnam] would know [you] are not born there, or either [you] did not like grow up there.
For example, the Asian name, like in school, when people call you – the [pronunciation], they [may] make fun of you. That’s the reason why Dad [named you with an] English name, so that [you can] avoid [your] name becoming a joke for [other] people… No, Dad did not want that. We use an English name, so when people call [you], they can’t think [your name is] a funny thing.
We live here, we belong to this land, and we got to learn and grow by this land.
So, we lose a lot of our culture –
You kids [lost] all of your culture, you kids don’t have it anymore.