First thing first: What makes and what doesn’t make me an ABC

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I am a very social person, because of my previous job nature, I always have to communicate effectively with people. Together with my English skills, my personality is my biggest asset and sets me apart from a regular HK girl.

But the thing is, for as long as I can remember, I always feel like I’m too special to immerse fully into any social group. When I’m with my local friends, I can talk about pop culture stuff, what’s on TVB (a prominent HK TV channel), which Canton popstar is getting plastic surgery, what’s the latest slang created by users of the Golden Forum (a cult like forum that cultivates HK sub culture and leads online trends). But somehow I felt like they don’t understand me 100% because I have to act more like them and not talk about some of the live experiences I had in the States. Apparently in HK, some people would think you’re a snob if you talk about your foreign experience all the time.

The sad thing is when I do hang out with my foreign friends, I also feel like I have to do readjust my personality a bit to be part of the group. I have to act more passionate , I need to be more huggy, I need to say “like” like 50 times in a sentence, and carry myself differently. I can’t talk about my fave TVB dramas, nor ask them to come join me when I go street food hunting (local HKers love animal organs!). Plus, every time I tell someone I live with my parents, I always have to add “btw, that doesnt make me a loser in HK”.

So either way, I dont hate it but I feel like I’m not being who I really am.

Now let’s make a list ( like those pros and cons list for break up ) and see if anyone can help me figure out what I am.

My very Chinese characteristics:

1. I think it is reasonable to give a portion of my money income to my mom.

2. I have a master’s degree and cant stop talking about it.

3. I am proud of being a cool book worm. My undergrad GPA is 3.7 and my master’s (did that while working full time) is 3.9

4. I really want to impress my relatives. I hate my aunt.

5. I wear fake eyelashes and I hate getting tanned.

6. I know more local slangs than a 16-year-old.

7. I love eating animal organs.

8. I like IT stuff and go to user meetings.

9. I call “football” “football” not stupid “soccer”.

10. I still have no idea who American football or baseball is played.

11. I never had a one-night-stand

12. I never smoked weed.

13. I never really partied.

14. I don’t even drink.

15. I still speak English with a bit of a Cantonese intonation despite my fluency.

16. I dont mind living with my parents and think its cool I have my mom doing all the housework.

17. I do like designer purses.

18. I get a little worried about becoming a spinster because Im a 26-year-old highly educated career driven woman.

19. I dont like paying by installment.

My very American characteristics:

1. I believe in dreams.

2. I hate Math.

3. I will never go into banking.

4. I dont invest in the stock market.

5. I don’t think the standard English accent is that sexy at all. I even find it tough to understand.

6. I spell “center” not “centre”.

7. I am obsessed with American TV to the point that I soooo need to write a new post for it.

8. I dont change behind the curtain in a lady’s changing room.

9. I hate baggy clothing. I like showing my curves.

10. I love American history and politics. My college roommate (American of course) once told her friend to consult me on her history/poli sci homework/test.

11. I used to have a poster of all the American presidents in my dorm room. I looked at it for inspirations every time I was down.

12. I got teary eyed when I saw the Declaration of Independence in DC for the first time.

13.The same goes with every time I hear the American national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance.

14. I once did a sample immigration test and scored higher than the average Americans without having to study.

15. All my gadgets are operated in English.

16. I treat my mom more like a friend.

17. I dont let people say no to me. I believe in myself.

18. I dont think finding a man should be a woman’s mission.

19. I dont really believe in marriage although I do wanna get married some day.

20. Money is not everything. I value principles and honors.


About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
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