"Where are you from?" I am constantly asked this; and although it sounds like a simple question, I have always found it difficult to answer. I was born in Los Angeles and spent the first 18 years of my life in the suburbs. Nevertheless, when I told people this, they would cock their heads to the side and give me a confusing stare. They look as if they are dissecting my physical features and assigning me to various countries. I now smile and say, "I'm from Los Angeles, but to answer what you really want to know: my parents are from the Philippines." Problem solved, right? Since discovering my Filipino heritage, they find it important to tell me about their Filipino friend. They soon begin naming Filipino dishes or shouting curse words they learned. I do not have any negative opinions towards this typecast; however, my identity does not fit this description.
Although I was raised in a Filipino family, ate Filipino food, and heard all the Filipino curse words in an angry parent's vocabulary, I identify with the Filipino culture as I do with any other culture. I am intrigued with cultural rituals, but don't religiously practice them; I enjoy trying the unfamiliar food, but I cannot cook a dish without a kitchen fire; and on the rare occasion that I can speak a few learned words, I am still unable to hold a fluid conversation. Since I fall on the boundaries of various typecasts, I have found it hard to proudly identify myself with a specific ethnicity and cultural background.
The truth is: I have always been searching for my identity and searching for a real connection with people, a connection in which one communicates personal identity. This identity is not limited to a cultural background; rather,