Hapa-Palooza revels in fest of ethnic mashups
Growing up, Zarah Martz never felt like she fully belonged. With an Indonesian father and a German mother, she spent part of her childhood in Germany before moving to the Okanagan, enduring many questions about her mixed-race background from her peers.
â€œThe Okanagan doesnâ€™t have many Asians. Germany might have Asians, but not a lot of mixed,â€ she explains by phone from her home in Vancouver, as her 10-month-old son, Kai, gurgles happily in the background.
â€œThe Asian population is so small and the mixed population is even smaller.â€¦You come from a union of two very different people and cultures, and so then, like, you donâ€™t look like either, really. With my family itâ€™s always been, like, â€˜Is she adopted?â€™ You really have to work through it in terms of identity.â€
Moving to Vancouver a few years ago to go to UBC, where she has just completed a masterâ€™s of science in traditional plant use, Martz suddenly discovered a city full of people like her. â€œIn Vancouver, especially, you see people of all heritages mixing, whether theyâ€™re in a mixed relationship or theyâ€™re mixed themselves, or in a mixed community.â€