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.
“The Okanagan doesn’t have many Asians. Germany might have Asians, but not a lot of mixed,” she explains by phone from her home in Vancouver, as her 10-month-old son, Kai, gurgles happily in the background.
“The Asian population is so small and the mixed population is even smaller.…You come from a union of two very different people and cultures, and so then, like, you don’t look like either, really. With my family it’s always been, like, ‘Is she adopted?’ You really have to work through it in terms of identity.”
Moving to Vancouver a few years ago to go to UBC, where she has just completed a master’s of science in traditional plant use, Martz suddenly discovered a city full of people like her. “In Vancouver, especially, you see people of all heritages mixing, whether they’re in a mixed relationship or they’re mixed themselves, or in a mixed community.”