I was born and raised in Malaysia but have not lived there for the last 12 years. So when someone asks me the question above, should I still answer Malaysia or should it be Switzerland where I’ve lived the last 7 years?
As a Malaysian with Malay, Javanese and Chinese blood, I have been mistaken as being many different nationalities understandably because of the colour of my skin and my facial features.
Here are some places people have thought I come from:
Once in London, a random woman ran up to me crossing Bayswater Road as I was reaching one of the entrances of Hyde Park shouting, ” Are you Filipina?”
When we were in the Philippines, locals would speak to me in Tagalog leaving an embarrassed me having to reply, “I’m sorry but I’m from Malaysia and don’t speak Tagalog. Do you speak English?”
I was with my sister shopping at her local Costco near Arlington, VA when a woman came up to me and asked if I was from Hawaii. I said I wasn’t and asked where she was from. Of course she was Hawaiian and thought I might have been too.
Whilst in Marrakesh in 2007, some shopkeepers guessed I was from Andalucia. That was the one and only time someone guessed that I was a Southern Spaniard.
Particularly whilst in Cusco, taxi drivers would assume I was a local until I said, “Lo siento, no hablo espanol”.
Here I am with a local Peruvian girl and her baby alpaca
We were visiting an orphanage in Sucre when I got mistaken for a local. I even thought I could’ve been one myself!
Don’t you think I could pass as a Bolivian in this picture?!
- China / Japan
It boggles my mind how so many people can think I might be Chinese or Japanese with the colour of my skin tone. Nevertheless this always happens.
No surprise there as we are essentially the same aren’t we?
Just last month in Bangkok while shopping, the shopkeepers were speaking to themselves guessing I was Thai. When I said I was from Malaysia, I was given a 20% discount (for being a neighbour?).
- Central America(El Salvador?)
Whilst checking in for my flight to Lima, Peru via San Salvador, El Salvador, everyone from the check-in counter to all the passengers in the airplane would only speak to me in Spanish! I guess I must have looked like Salvadoran?
On our honeymoon in Kerala, India, I was asked a number of times if I came from North India to which I would say Nope.
Where are you from and which countries have you been mistaken to have come from?