The Student News Site of San Marcos High School

Shades of a Generation

January 31, 2023


   It’s always the fact of simply being different from both of those sides that makes everything so hard to define. 

   “Always knowing that you’re different, cause, in America first I ate different food, I had different traditions, I had a different religion. And I was constantly reminded how different I was, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but a unique thing and I couldn’t really understand why I was so different,” said Tjoar. “And then, in Indonesia, I’m also so different because I have a different accent, I look different, and it was hard for me at a young age to understand how come I was so different to both America and Indonesia.”

   Tjoar goes back to her family’s home country of Indonesia every summer, and she expressed how in both places she’s an outlier to the majority. And if neither of the two halves can be a whole on their own, then what of putting them together? The result is an Asian-American second-generation immigrant, an identity coming from two different parts of the world but never fully resonating with either. 

   “I don’t feel like, perhaps I feel more comfortable in American culture because it’s basically all I know like if you dropped me in China I would have no clue what’s going on, but I don’t feel particularly aligned with American culture and I don’t think it’s my identity,” said Wu. 

   “I would say I’m not as involved as I would like to be. I grew up thinking that I had to be like everybody else, so I didn’t really appreciate my culture as much as I should have. I don’t have that deep connection with it as much as I wish I could have,” said Pham. 

   “We all feel different in some sort of way, we feel both different here in America and in our own countries,” said Tjoar. 

   Grappling with the simple fact that perhaps, they will never truly belong to either side of themself, it’s a fight with existence and identity itself. A country far away that some are either intimately familiar with, or that some have never set foot in is the driving part of what defines them. Treading the line between one half of the world and another half of the world, unable to fit in regarding appearances, language, family, values; those factors characterize the struggles of many second generation immigrants. 

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