Today is the beginning of Hanukkah, which means 8 wonderful days of celebration. I first wanted to thank my best friend in the whole world for exposing me to such a great holiday and opening my mind to a whole other world. Even though she’s only half Jewish (ethnically she is half Peruvian, quarter Austrian, and an eighth Polish and Russian), she still celebrates her heritage by celebrating anything and everything that her parents taught her. We have been best friends since I was in eighth grade, and all I can remember is I thought I would have an Asian best friend. At the time that I met her, I did have an Asian best friend.
My BEST friend at the time was mainly my best friend because I knew her the longest. We got along and understood each other because we were both bicultural and had Asian standards at home. But that wasn’t enough for us to stay best friends. I embraced both my American and Asian heritage, where she only embraced anything and everything that had to do with the Asian culture. Though it was easier for me to fall into the American culture because I liked it better, I did understand that she only wanted to balance one culture simply because it was more comfortable for her. As we grew up, I received better handle of balancing both the American and Asian culture due to hip-hop (See Asian Hip-hop) and she was still embracing everything that Asians had to do in Asia. Although I have no problem with this, I am very in touch with my Vietnamese heritage, I’m just the type of person who hasn’t forgotten my American heritage, which is why Tina* is my best friend today.
Tina was always there for me when I needed her and gave me great advice. She was always open-minded in what I did, whether it was to be an engineer or a businesswoman. She also accepted the fact that, I was attracted to both Asian and African American guys. Even though my former best friend had good intentions, it wasn’t the same. I didn’t feel comfortable telling my former best friend everything that was really going on, because there was that small piece of me that knew I was being judged (whether if it was intentionally or unintentionally). This is by no means to say that Asians can’t be great best friends, they can make great best friends, if they have an open mind and heart. In my situation, it had to take someone who was completely different from me to understand that it was okay to be bicultural. I would love to explore the world thanks to her, whereas in the past, when I was best friends with my Asian friend, I wouldn’t have even consider it.
This is the time of year when it’s okay to give, even when you don’t think you can. It doesn’t have to be money or a present; it could just be something simple like listening or taking someone to dinner one night. You never know how you can affect someone in a positive way and open their mind and heart. You never know how the holidays can help people do something better.
*denotes the name was changed