I grew up in a wonderful small town. We are a tight knit community and do not get many students coming in and out of our school system. Growing up, I was the only African-American girl in my class. It was hard for me to embrace my ethnicity because that made me different and I only wanted to fit in. When I was 12, my dad talked about the fantastic opportunity for our family to move overseas.Soon we were clearing out our house and boarding a plane to our new home in Barcelona, Spain.
During my two years of living in Barcelona, I became friends with students from Brazil, England, Portugal, and Holland.I learned about life in countries very different from the USA.I traveled with my class for a week in Rome and a week on the island of Mallorca. I traveled with my dad on a mission trip to Latvia and traveled with my family to England, Portugal, France, and Italy. I came to love people from different ways of life and loved hearing stories of their cultures and customs.
We returned home to Oregon for my freshman year of high school.I was upside down for a bit, trying to figure out which culture was my own, as well as settling down with my old friends.I had a case of reverse culture shock!After living with people from around the world with backgrounds very different from mine, I was back living with friends who seemed the same as me only it was the old me.
I struggled for a long time with expressing my ethnicity. One of the biggest parts of who I am is my African hair. For years I have battled with it, trying to tame and control how it looks. I have very curly hair that I never knew what to do with, so it was always thrown up in a pony tail. Most of my friends wore their hair this way, so I fit right in. It took me awhile to figure out how I wanted to express myself with my African hair. (I was adopted at birth by a wonderful Caucasian family, who can help me with many things but not with my hair!) I finally realized that I ju…