If you live in Vancouver or have ever visited Vancouver, you know that this city packs a huge population of Asian people, specifically Chinese people. But we're not all the same. You've got your FOB Chinese people who just moved here from China, you're in-betweens who are pretty Asian, but pretty Canadian too, and then your full on "white-washed" CBC's (Canadian Born Chinese) who don't speak a word of Mandarin or Cantonese.
But whatever kind of Chinese you are, we're all still Chinese. And we're all living in the same city. So why not share our "struggles"?
Okay, so they aren't really struggles, and at the end of the day we're proud to be Chinese. But living in a multicultural city does bring about some explaining to do on our part. So here it is: 40 struggles of being Chinese in Vancouver.
Note: To cater to all my fellow Chinese friends reading this, I tried my best type out Pin Yin for the Mando speakers and sound out the Chinese words for the Canto speakers. So it'll look like this: "Mandarin/Cantonese".
1. Having to explain to your non-Asian Vancouver friends why you call your parents' friends, "Aunties" and "Uncles".
No, we're not related.
2. Having to follow your parents to dim sum every Saturday or Sunday morning as a kid.
And even as an adult you still do.
3. That memory of anxiety you feel before opening your thermos packed with strongly scented Chinese food at school.
It's definitely gonna be fried rice or some soy sauce related thing from last night's dinner, but thank you, mom.
4. T&T is your go-to grocery store.
Safeway, Save-On's, Superstore. Ya'll ain't got nothin' on T&T.
5. The obsession you have with bubble tea is so real.
You have stamp cards or loyalty cards from Bubble Tea World, The Bubble Tea Shop, Cha Time, Pearl Fever, Bubble Queen, Bubbling Bubble World, Bubble...
6. Having a hard time explaining to your non-Chinese Vancouver friends what the "bubbles" are in bubble tea.
No one really knows. Okay, it's tapioca. But what's tapioca?
7. Having a hard time explaining the difference between Cantonese and Mandarin to your non-Chinese Vancouver friends.
"So they're kind of similar, but not. Every word is kinda the same, but not"
8. Having a hard time explaining what you mean by "Huo qi da/Yeet hay"
"It's like...your body's really hot. But a really unhealthy kind of hot"
9. Not being able to find your shoes amongst 50 other shoes after a Chinese house party.
10. Being encouraged by your parents to find a "nice, smart, Chinese boy/girl" to date.
Interracial dating? I wish you the best.
11. You had piano lessons, violin lessons, math tutor, English tutor, Chinese school, etc. growing up as a kid.
Sports? What sports?
12. Being yelled at by your parents for getting anything less than an A back in grade school.
C is for crap. B is for bad. A is for average. You gotta get at least average.
13. Having all your non-Chinese Vancouver friends just assume that you're good at math.
We're not all good at math!
14. Going to a Chinese restaurant with your non-Chinese Vancouver friends and showing off your mother-tongue language skills with the waiter.
Though the menu is probably as much Chinese you can read, unless you paid attention in Chinese school.
15. Having your non-Chinese Vancouver friends stare at you in disgust at dim sum as you enjoy a good helping of chicken feet, beef tendon and tripe.
16. You and your other Chinese friends hang out a lot in Richmond.
Because they've got the best food!
17. Occasionally answering the phone with "Wei/Wai?" by accident.
It's the Chinese blood in you. It can't be contained.
18. Being interrogated by your extended family about your love life.
"So is he a nice, smart, good-looking Chinese boy/girl?"
19. Having rice practically every night for dinner.
No rice, no life.
20. Having your "Asian friends", and then your "White/Non-Asian friends".
I don't know why that's a thing.
21. Your mom forcing you to drink that brown (or black), ominous pool of Chinese medicine when you're sick.
I don't even know what goes in it.
22. Your mom strictly watches TVB dramas after dinner.
Okay, and she probably watches Korean dramas too.
23. Re-learning the phrases and sayings every Chinese New Year so you can get some red pocket.
"Zhu ni/Jook nae" what again?
24. Eating way too much moon cake after Mid-Autumn Festival because it's on sale.
That yolk though!! Or if you don't roll the traditional way, it's all about the "Bing Pi Yue Bing/Bing Pei Yoot Beng".
25. Speaking Cantonese and having a really hard time deciphering Mandarin.
It's not the same!
26. Speaking Mandarin and having a really hard time deciphering Cantonese.
It's still not the same!
27. Not being able to speak either Cantonese or Mandarin, and being criticized by your relatives for it.
But I was born in Canada, eh!
28. Low key thinking that Koreans and Japanese people are the cooler Asians.
They've got buglogi, sushi, Korean BBQ, yakitori, KPOP, JPOP, anime, etc. But then again, Chinese people have got a population of 1.35 billion.
29. Having to translate everything your family/relatives say to your non-Chinese significant other.
Sometimes, you're not even sure what they're saying.
30. Being told by your non-Chinese Vancouver friends that your house smells very "Asian".
What does that even mean?
31. Making instant noodles or dumplings when you're too lazy to cook real food.
Or because you just moved out and you actually just don't know how to cook because your mom cooked for you.
32. You can tell the difference between Chinese people, Korean people and Japanese people, just by the way they look.
While your non-Asian Vancouver friends probably can't.
33. Your parents don't want you to move out until you're married.
This is a fact.
34. Your parents make you wear jade around your wrist or neck for good luck.
It looks a little old school, but eh, whatever. You do what you're told.
35. You love hot pot, and you love introducing it to your non-Chinese Vancouver friends.
The second best thing after rice.
36. Coming from Hong Kong, and having to explain to your non-Asian Vancouver friends that you're not actually from China.
Hong Kong is technically a special administrative region, and okay fine, we're kind of part of China, but we will never admit that. Oh, and same goes for Taiwanese people, but you're not "Chinese".
37. Knowing exactly what everything is at the Richmond Night Market and having to explain it to your non-Asian Vancouver friends.
"Yes, so that's takoyaki, that's BBQ squid, those are curry fish balls, and oh, those are regular fish balls, that's siu mai, that's...."
38. Having a separate app like WeChat to communicate with your family in China.
If you don't know what WeChat is? Wow, it's like the super app that can do literally EVERYTHING.
39. You wish you were as ballin' as the Ultra Rich Asian Girls of Vancouver.
And all the other insanely rich Chinese people living in Vancouver. Or maybe you already are.
40. You fvking LOVE FOOD!
There is no foodie like the Chinese foodie.
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