While in Cornell, one of my best friends said he admired me for living a three-men-life: Asian, Swedish, and American. This dude saw me as an Asian-born human being, cultivated in European values and moral, while learning the American attitude to find success. There are some truth in it after all. While in Sweden, people see me as just another immigrant dude, in US, I could sell myself labeled as Asian European in America, and people would buy it.
Living like this however, is not always that easy.
Sometimes it's all about choosing your side(-s). It could be from the smallest thing of who to hang out with on a Friday night, to big issues such as forming relationships. For example, if I were to pick the wildest party animals to get most out of partying, in Uppsala I might end up with some exchange students. For the long term benefit however, going for the Swedes is better. But the party won't be as wild, besides, it also takes some time for them to relate to you. The Chinese students usually never party in nightclubs, instead, casino nights, game nights appear periodically on their calendar. It's fun from time to time, but it won't give you the same adrenaline kick.
Since I have the options, choosing becomes a problem. Sometimes I envy the average dude who grew up in one place, and never moved outside his country. If you can't speak Chinese, you don't even think about hanging out with Chinese. That somehow forces you to only meet the locals, and in the end, you don't have as many "what ifs" in your mind.
Before finishing this post, I need to clarify something. What defines if a person is Asian, European or American? To be an Asian, you somehow have to know a lot of Asian stuff. Like what kind of pop singer is on the chart today, what Korean drama is on the air, etc. Your real-Asian friends wont bring up Bossa Nova with you. Likewise, the Swedes don't know anything about Jay Chou. However, if you find yourself having so many commonalities with all the groups of people, will that make you a many-faced person? If I'm with Swedes, I can sing drinking song with them, they see me as one of them; when I'm with my Chinese friends, I can talk about the trendy personalities on the Internet, they also see me as one of them. If this is the case, then what am I? Am I half Swedish, half Chinese, or neither? Maybe I'm a Swedish undercover in the Chinese, or an Asian undercover in the western culture?
I remember when we were kids, we dreamed of having superpowers. Forget teleportation, flight, eye-beam, or time travel. If there is anything that I can get good use of, it is self-duplication. I'll make clones of myself, sending one into the Asian crowd, one to chill with Swedes, and one more to pursue my California dream with the American attitude. Once in a while, all of my clones return to me to share their experiences. Maybe then and only then, I can finally figure out a way to live in the present.
It sounds crazy eh? Hahaha you don't have to take it seriously.