[American? Impossible.]

These are the words I heard today in Mandarin. As I get getting my usual “Mexican Chicken Roll” at the nearest supermarket, the cashier asked nearby customers if they knew any English. He proceeded to explain that I was a foreigner, to which the two ladies asked what where I was from. The cashier suggested they guess, and they said Korea. He replied, “American”. They responded, “Impossible.”

Now, usually I think it’s cool when it’s difficult to guess where somebody’s from, to be categorically and nationally ambiguous. That’s the beauty of the global community. But this was exactly for the wrong reason; it was difficult to guess where because they had placed me in their own category already. Ruling out where I could be from based on my appearance? Sure. But deducting it from a language? Impossible.

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