Ever since I could remember, I have had two identities: the good Chinese daughter, and the extroverted, social butterfly that I am. I was never truly able to reconcile the two sides of myself growing up in a strict and traditional Chinese home, so I would hang up my “wild child” identity at the door and step into the shoes of the quiet Chinese daughter at home; one who was “seen and not heard”. This obviously didn’t work very well as I grew into my teens and rebellious years (but that’s a story for another day). As we all go through a period of self-discovery, learning who we are and how we fit into our world and society, I found it harder and harder to behave in ways that was expected of me. Years of full blown identity crises later, I am still trying to find my footing as I fuse that part of myself I tried to shed – the Chinese heritage – with the skin that I am comfortable in today. Being the mother of two young boys who are second generation Chinese Canadians, I find it more important than before to retain my Chinese culture and traditions to share and pass on to them. This blog is my journey as I explore my Chinese heritage and how I fuse it with the modern western lifestyle of a young family that I am living today.
When I was looking for a word to embody this “East Meets West” theme, I couldn’t quite find something eloquent enough to describe what I was looking for, until my eyes landed on the beautiful antique Chinese chests, vases and paintings my late grandmother left to me. I realized that I always had a love for Chinoiserie decor – the European interpretation of Eastern decoration and art. I looked up the meaning of chinoiserie and it literally means “Chinese-esque” – exactly how I feel as a first generation Chinese Canadian, living in a Western society, yet still invested in my Chinese roots. That was literally ME. I am Chinese-esque. And this is my Chinese-esque life. Welcome to my world! For those of you who do not fit into this category or are just curious about the mysterious East, I hope to decode some of my cultures and traditions for you. And for my fellow Canadian (or American) born Chinese, join me on this journey and drop me a line! Tell me how you identify with this “Chinese-eque” identity?