A-B-C, easy as 一二三…

欢迎! Welcome to BANANA LIFE!

Inspired by my recent travels to the motherland, I have come to realize that being an American-Born Chinese (ABC) is pretty awesome. Not only does everyone in the western world think you are kung fu master with perfect hair, whenever you visit China, it’s automatically assumed that you are very successful and have friends in hollywood (only half-joking). Nevertheless, juggling between two different cultures has been both a blessing and a burden for us ABCs: though we can get the best of both worlds, most of us forever feel like outcasts in whatever society we are currently in. Additionally, we are often faced with situations where the values of our families don’t quite align with the values of our environment. For me, these moments can be utterly confusing, severely awkward, or painfully embarrassing… but most often than not, they are down right hilarious (retrospectively).

Banana life celebrates these moments I’ve had growing up as an ABC and serves as an outlet for all the fond memories I’ve had and will continue to have with my large and loving family. As I mature, my appreciation for my Chinese heritage has become stronger than ever; and after reconnecting with my extended family recently, I’ve decided it is finally time to record and reflect upon all the wonderful experiences I’ve had over the years. Above all else, I hope you enjoy reading and following along as I reminisce over my childhood and share new experiences yet to come. Perhaps my writing may even inspire you to go back and connect with your own roots. If not, then at least you can openly laugh at my bowl-cut.

Me picking fresh lychee (1995)

The reasons for the name of this blog are two-fold:

  1. Bananas are my all-time FAVORITE fruit. They just taste way too good to be healthy for you. Trust me, the best way to start your day is with nature’s candy bar.
  2. A banana is a term often used to describe an ABC. We’re “yellow on the outside” and “white on the inside.” Another common descriptor is the twinkie. I prefer the healthier option.

After some consideration, I believe the latter reason is a bit misleading now (but ‘banana life’ was way too catchy to pass up). When I was younger, I was no doubt a most exemplary “banana” – I absolutely hated going to chinese school, preferred to eat Happy Meals over “zhōngcān” (chinese food) any day and simply just wanted to fit in with all my white friends. Now, as I am slowly transitioning into adulthood, I am beginning to regret rebelling against my roots so much as a kid. Over the past couple years, I’ve taken a much greater interest in my heritage – taking Chinese language courses in college, speaking mandarin with my family every chance I get and really becoming proud of my culture. Subsequently, I no longer feel completely “white” on the inside nor do I feel completely “yellow” on the outside; rather, my identity has transformed into a hybrid of sorts… maybe “scrambled-egg-life” would have been a more appropriate title? Ah well, I already bought the banana life domain, lol.

My plan for the blog is to start from both ends of my experiences; starting with a recap of my most recent trip to china and alternating with tales of my family history. I’ve already written weeks and weeks worth of content as well as begun scanning a whole bunch of childhood pictures; what I hope to do is post a full-length story each Sunday and pictures/shorts throughout the week (let’s hope I can stick with that!)

I am so excited to share my old photos, memories and future experiences with you. If any of my fellow ABCs would like to contribute their own stories or blogs, please feel free to email me at john@bananalife.me. Please subscribe and enjoy!


-John (黄瑞维)

p.s. Bear with me as I am still testing out blog themes/layouts/fonts. That should all be ironed out soon!