The Perks of Being a Returnee


I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I’m a returnee. I was born in Japan, moved to the States when I was little, and came back after a few years. In other words, I’m bilingual. And there are a couple of hardships that come with this.

-In the States, I’m too Japanese, and in Japan, I’m too American

-People constantly beg me to speak different languages (I’m sorry that I can only speak English and Japanese–I’m not a language speaking machine)

-“It’s so unfair that you’re bilingual!” is a common criticism I get

-There are some culture shocks that I can never get used to (wait, so it’s rude to slurp in the States?)

I struggled to find a place where I could actually belong for a long time. I’ve been bullied so many times just because of the fact that I’m “different” from everyone. And that was when I was introduced to my English cram school. This school made me realize the perks of being a returnee student.

-I’m a unique girl who doesn’t have to have ethnicity/nationality as a boundary

-I can eavesdrop on people who speak Japanese or English, thinking that others don’t understand (yeah, I’m sorry I’m creepy)

-“It’s so cool that you’re bilingual! I wish I could be like you!” is a common compliment I get

-I am able to understand different cultures, due to the diversity I have been exposed to my whole life

I have come to understand that it’s not where you live, what language you speak, nor what color your skin is that determines your identity. It’s what you’ve done and what you can do that matters. As cliched as it may sound, it’s only yourself who can decide your identity. Embrace it.

I have to admit–it’s not that bad being a returnee. In fact, it might actually be pretty awesome.

Put your happy pants on and I’ll see you later,