Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
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My family immigrated to the United States when I was two so that we could pursue a vision of the Asian American dream. Throughout life, I always felt like I had to choose between fully embracing my own culture or putting on a cover to fit into American society.
I made the decision to embrace covering as the norm, but that led me to lose track of myself time and time again. I asked myself, “Am I Dat, Dan, or Dot? Am I Asian, or am I American?”
I hit a low point in life in the middle of the pandemic and decided to do self-transformation work to peel away the cover and rediscover my Asian identity. . .
I always thought that Microsoft was an amazing company; it was the original software tech giant, and becoming a software engineer there was my dream. Growing up, I looked at maps and tracked highways to the Pacific Northwest and thought to myself, “One day, I will work at Microsoft.”
I am a 1.5 generation Korean American. For me, that means I grew up moving back and forth between both countries.
My sister and I grew up with lots of difficulties. When we were in grade school, we shared a bunk bed in the living room. My family had three generations living in a rapidly deteriorating neighborhood. . .
Family is at the center of my identity. In Hawaiian, ‘ohana means family, but the concept extends beyond the nuclear to include extended family, close friends, colleagues, and the broader community.
I come from a background made up of Chinese, Japanese, and Hawaiian heritage, and much of who I am today stems from spending summers as a child with my extended family in Hawai‘i. It was here that I cultivated a unique appreciation for ethnic foods, music, and traditions.
Family has also been key in supporting me through some of the hardest and scariest moments of my life. In second grade, I had my first seizure and was eventually diagnosed with epilepsy. . .