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.”