Whenever I attend a social media conference, one of the first questions we ask each other is, “What’s your blog about?” I get plenty of practice telling my story of what motivated me to start this site. I tell it so often. I’ve even told my story on NPR and the Washington Post. But I forget how shocking it can be to some people.
Until I meet others who have interracial or intercultural families.
As soon as I explain the title of my blog, I see recognition in their eyes. Yes, they have experiences being mistaken for a nanny or have a close friend or family member who receives the similar queries. It’s exciting for both of us to connect in through our experiences, to connect past the small talk of where we’re from and have you been to this conference before.
Meeting a kindred spirit always makes my heart do a loop-de-loop.
Over the weekend during SoFabCon, I ran into my friend Amiyrah of 4 Hats and Frugal in the hotel lobby and attempted to convince her to come with me to get a pedicure. Instead, I convinced the person with her to come with me. Kim Vij took a leap and braved the pouring rain with me, a complete stranger, to get our toes prettied up It probably helped that we were both named Kim.
We had a blast.
First of all, the pedicure we received was one of the best ones I’ve every gotten. I’m sure it helped that I spoke Vietnamese to the staff once I realized it was run by Viet folks. (I’ll pull my Viet card to get good service.) As our legs and feet were pampered and the massage chairs eased our backs achy from traveling, Kim and I got to know each other.
Kim Vij co-runs Educator’s Spin, a blog with educational resources for parents and their young children. She’s also married to Indian American and has mixed kids. Over salt scrubs, we chatted about cultural differences in our families and how we adapted to them. She told me all about the delicious Indian food she made for her family. I find that it’s easier to connect with someone over food. We spent the rest of the weekend hanging out together and I plan on staying in touch with Kim.
The best part during this conversation was that Kim’s nail technician is mixed race. At first glance, she looks very Caucasian but we learned that she’s part Vietnamese. She was very comfortable in her skin, even though her coworkers teased her about not speaking the language. The young technician fully embraced her cultural backgrounds and was proud of who she is.
The conference’s Saturday keynote was delivered by Denise Barreto, who emphasized the importance of telling our story as often as we can. Every time we tell our story, not only does the listener learn about us, but we, as the storyteller, the story builder, learn more about ourselves.
I realized this hours after the keynote, when I filmed this video with Touchcast, one of the SoFabCon sponsors. I love writing about food and tech here, but I know many of you visit to hear my story.
I might have told my story many times throughout the weekend, but telling the nail tech my story taught me most of all. She reminded me that my story is important because it helps others realize that they’re not alone. While I may not have all the answers to the challenges of raising biracial children, my experiences aren’t unique to our family. With my readers (YOU!) we can begin the discussion of a sensitive but important topic of race and culture.
I will keep telling my story, but I want to hear yours too. Please tell me your story, either in the comments or by email me at kim at imnotthenanny.com. If you’re interested in having your story published on this site, let me know.