Issue One: Appreciation
I remember meeting my husband’s family for the first time when we were two weeks into dating. He is a white Australian and his family is so different to the families that I knew. I always thought that I was quite Australian, having lived in Perth for half of my life, but I didn’t realise how much of a bubble I was living in, and how much that bubble affected my perception of “Australian culture”. I went to a school that was 50% Asian, most of my closest friends were Asians, and the restaurants around me were Asian.
Going to uni and making more white Australian friends made me realise that I am actually a mix of two cultures - Australian and Chinese. I felt that I had to work a bit harder to fit into western communities. I often missed the pop culture references (mainly movies) because they weren’t a big part of my childhood like they were for most of my white Australian friends. And meeting my husband’s family for the first time was the same. Seeing the way that my husband related to his parents like they were friends was very confronting. I struggled to do the same as it wouldn’t be respectful in Asian culture.
At the beginning, I wished I was more Australian so I could fit in more easily, but I now appreciate both cultures. They’re both wonderfully different and I’m blessed to understand both - even if I never fully grasp each completely.