My Name is my Identity

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May 26, 2021

My name is Samantha Gia Kim. Samantha is an “American” name, but it originally derives from the Hebrew meaning, “as told by God”. My middle name is Gia, and it is an Italian word, which means beautiful, but it also has a double meaning, Jia. Jia in Chinese means beautiful or home. Kim is from my father who is Korean. Kim in Korean means gold.

Samantha is an American name, and it reflects my American parts. As a little girl, my favorite food was an American food, mac & cheese. I live in America, I go to school in America, and I find my identity in being American. But I do not only find my identity in being American.

My middle name, Gia, reflects who I am as part Chinese. My grandparents on my mother’s side, immigrated to America in the early 80’s. My mother also immigrated to America a few years later. Soon after I discovered my love for mac & cheese, I switched to loving brown noodles. I still call the noodles that my grandfather cooks, brown noodles, even though they are Shanghainese-style noodles. Brown noodles may be one of my favorite foods in the world. I am ½ Chinese and that is so much of who I am, whether I am at my grandparents house, eating brown noodles, or at home, being truly myself.

Kim is a Korean last name, and I am proud to be a Kim. In my family, being a Kim means that you are special. We joke about how being a Kim means you are smart or extra special. But just to be a Kim is enough. My cousins share my last name, and as they are like my siblings, we are one by our last name. In the previous paragraph, where I said brown noodles may be my favorite food in the world, a close competitor is kimbap. My grandmother makes the best kimbap, and it is always a treat when she comes and makes me and my cousins kimbap. Being Korean is really special to me and it is like gold, just like my last name Kim.

Each culture, tradition and food define who I am, and I am a Chinese Korean American at heart, and I will always be.

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