SDSU The Ethnic Origin of My Family Is Turkish or Simply the Turks Questions

Interview a family member(s) to determine answers to the following questions. The family can be paternal, maternal, or both if desired. If for any reason you do not have access to immediate family, or your family does not know much of their heritage, you are welcome to interview parents/grandparents of any of your friends. Furthermore, if any of the questions do not apply to who you are interviewing feel free to skip these questions and add additional questions of your choice. 

Interview Questions:

  1. What is the ethnic origin of your family?
  2. What was your family’s original homeland (nation, country, etc)?
  3. If applicable, when did your family originally come to the U.S. or their respective homeland?

a.Where did they originally settle? Where do they live now?

  1. What is one story that your family members remember about their migration roots?  

-This could be their own experience or an experience they’ve heard from ancestors.

     5.    What ethnic/cultural events/holidays does your family regularly celebrate?

     6.    What types of foods do you eat during these celebrations? Do these foods represent    

             a particular area or country?

     7.     Is there an object or objects in your family’s house representing your cultural


     8.     Do you feel your family heritage is an active part of who you are? Why or why not?

     9.    What types of music/dance is related to your heritage?

Feel free to add any questions related to your family heritage not included above.

The ethnic origin of my family is Turkish      My family’s original homeland is TurkeyI came to the United States to study here in 2017. My family originally settled in  Turkey, and they still live in Turkeymy uncle moved to germany 20 years ago to work there and a lot of turkish people moved there at this time. almost 5 million turks live in germany currently.

1)Both sides of my family are Filipino and our original homeland is the Philippines. My maternal side is specifically Ilokano, which my family had told me that means we are “mountain people.” It doesn’t actually translate to “mountain people,” it just means that our ancestors resided in the mountains. For the sake of my discussion post, Lolo means “grandfather” in Tagalog and Lola means “grandmother” in Tagalog. I refer to my paternal grandparents as Lolo and Lola. I refer to my maternal grandparents as Mama and Papa. In the Philippines, my maternal grandparents are from Baguio City, my paternal grandfather is from Batangas, and my paternal grandmother is from Manila. My maternal grandparents came to the United States in the late 70’s/early 80’s. My Papa came here earlier than my Mama because he joined the U.S. Navy, while my Mama was pregnant with my mother and finishing nursing school. My paternal grandparents came to the U.S. to give birth to my dad in the late 70’s, went back to the Philippines, and then came back in the early 80’s. Both sides of my family settled in California and are still in California. My mom’s side started and still is in Northern California’s Bay Area while my dad’s side started in Los Angeles and is scattered around Southern California. Both of my grandfathers joined the Navy to petition their wives to come to the U.S. while both my grandmothers became nurses.My Lolo told me about how he worked two jobs when he first settled in the United States and when he stopped serving in the Navy. He worked for the post office throughout the night and a bank during the day. He cycled through his work day so that he could do his best to support his family, especially because my Lola was in the process of becoming a registered nurse. Furthermore, he was not only financially supporting his four sons and wife in America, but he was working to send money back home to the Philippines for all of his siblings. Overtime, he was able to move all of his siblings and his parents to the United States. He worked hard for his family and I will always be proud of him and grateful to him for that.My family doesn’t really celebrate any “ethnic/cultural” holidays. Due to the centuries of colonization and American imperialism, we’ve only really celebrated American holidays or Catholic holidays. So typically Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Personally, I choose to celebrate the birthdays of Andres Bonifacio and Jose Rizal, two important figures in the history of the Philippines. As well as celebrate Larry Itliong’s birthday, a labor organizer that fought for farm worker rights in the U.S. alongside Cesar Chavez. I don’t throw parties but I do think it’s important to celebrate those historical figures and many more that I need to learn about. Furthermore, I only look at holidays my family celebrates as opportunities to just spend more time with my family and eat good food. There is nothing more that I want to celebrate than family gathering. On my dad’s side, my Lolo and his siblings’ families rarely get to see each other. So our annual Christmas party is the one time we all get to come together again. During holidays with my family, we eat whatever we want. Usually barbeque and some type of Filipino dish, it depends on the mood and what my family agrees on. Either way, my family comes with great cooks and bakers. To be entirely honest, the only thing that really represents our cultural background in my childhood home are the barongs in the closets. Barongs are a long-sleeved shirt that men wear for special occasions. I’m pretty sure every man in my family owns one, especially because they are so special and expensive. My family didn’t teach me anything about music or dance related to our Filipino heritage. I know that tinikling is a traditional dance. In my family though, we listen to a lot of R&B, hip hop, and rap since that’s what my parents and their siblings listened to growing up in America.I think that being Filipino in the Philippines is different from being Filipino in America. We are connected by our ancestors, our roots, our history. But they have become different identities because we presently go through different things. Naturally due to the political climates of our distinctive countries that we reside in, but also due to the cultures. Also, it depends from family to family on how much and what type of “heritage” we have. My family assimilated to American culture as they immigrated because they felt like they had to. They wanted their kids and their kids’ kids (my generation) to have a “better life” and “more opportunities” in America than we would in the Philippines. On top of that, we grew up to be traditionally Catholic. If I’m talking about ethnic heritage, the biggest aspects of that are food and religion. When I think about my family heritage overall, I think about the complicated identity we have as Filipinos as well as our experience as immigrants. Being Filipino-American is a huge part of who I am. Choosing to decolonize myself and unlearn generational trauma while preserving generational resilience is a battle I fight every day. I have to make the conscious effort of learning Philippine history and Filipino-American history. If I want to learn more aspects of my culture such as language, spirituality, traditional practices, I have to find other outside sources because my ancestors chose to abandon our culture out of survival. Spain colonized us, Japan invaded us, the United States of America took over and depleted us of our resources and identity. I choose to heal my Filipino identity every single day and I rarely win since it is an ongoing process. What matters to me is that I heal for the generations before me and the generations after. What matters to me is working hard just like my grandparents did to prove that they didn’t pack up their whole lives to start new ones here for nothing. What matters to me is moving through my life so my ancestors’ suffering was for nothing. I honor my ancestors, I honor myself, so in turn I am honoring my descendants. I live by the phrase “No History, No Self. Know History, Know Self.”Hey Taryn!  I enjoyed reading your post this week and found it very interesting! I found it very fascinating that Ilokano means “mountain people”, just reading your story allowed me to learn so much about Filipino culture.  I can see that you are a very oriented family, to which I can also relate because my family and I do everything. Thank you for sharing!2)I interviewed my dadWhat is the ethnic origin of your family?            The ethnic origin of our family is Eastern European.Specifically, we are mostly Russian and have some Polish within our ancestor tree.What was your family’s original homeland (nation, country, etc)?Our family’s original homeland is Moldavia.If applicable, when did your family originally come to the U.S. or their respective homeland?Our family came to the United States of America in the early 1930’s.Where did they originally settle? Where do they live now?They originally settled in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Now some of our ancestors are still located in Pittsburgh, but our immediate family is all in Los Angeles, California.What is one story that your family members remember about their migration roots?  -This could be their own experience or an experience they’ve heard from ancestors.            My great grandfather was a POW in the Russian revolution. After the war, my Great grandmother traveled all the way from the United States back to Russia to try and find/rescue my great grandfather.  She had left behind her children with other relatives, but my grandfather was not born yet.She was reunited with him and brought him back to the United States and Settled in Pittsburgh. This is when they had two more children, my Zadie, grandfather, was the youngest.What ethnic/cultural events/holidays does your family regularly celebrate?            We celebrate all the Jewish holidays together.This includes Hanukah, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Passover, Sukkot, and Shabbat.   What types of foods do you eat during these celebrations? Do these foods represent                  a particular area or country?            The food that we eat during these holidays hold a lot of importance to them.  Coming all together to celebrate such important milestones in our religion is something we hold near and dear to our hearts and family.  Some foods that we eat during these celebrations include latkas, kugel, brisket, fish, charoset, and many more.  On Rosh Hashana you dip apples into honey for a sweet year.  The food that we eat on Passover holds extreme importance for the events that took place during the time of Farrah.  All these foods originate from Eastern Europe.       Is there an object or objects in your family’s house representing your cultural              background?            Yes, we have objects in our house that represent our cultural background.We have Menorahs and an old set of silver salt and pepper shakers.    Do you feel your family heritage is an active part of who you are? Why or why not?            Yes, I do because it has shaped my values and morals that I uphold in my day to day life.  It is the root of the traditions and the things I value in my life.  It has shown me hardship and what our ancestors went through so that we can be free and live an amazing and privileged life.Also, all the holidays that we celebrate together and services we go to exemplify how active our family is in the religion and our heritage.   What types of music/dance is related to your heritage?            The hurrah is a dance that is related to our heritage.It is a dance of celebration that usually takes place during weddings and Bat Mitzvahs.Hi Olivia,I really enjoyed reading your post and learning more about the Jewish culture! I have always been familiar with a few of the holidays you mentioned, but I cannot say I knew them all. When you touched upon different items you eat specifically during Rosh Hashana, it reminded me very much of Haftseen we set up during Persian New Year, which I talked about in my own post! I totally understand how the apple dipped in honey symbolizes a sweet year. Us Persians also utilize apples as a symbol for beauty, so I thought it was very interesting how the same food item means different things to our individual cultures. Great post!3)For this interview, I spoke with my mom!What is the ethnic origin of your family?My mom’s family is from Taiwan and my dad’s family is from Japan.What was your family’s original homeland (nation, country, etc)?My family’s original homeland is Taiwan and Japan.If applicable, when did your family originally come to the U.S. or their respective homeland? Where did they originally settle? Where do they live now?My mom’s family came to the US when she was 17 years old for her and my aunt to go to college. She ended up moving back to Brazil and then moved to the US in 2004 with my dad and me. My dad’s maternal great grandparents moved their family from Japan to Brazil even before my grandma, his mom, was born. His dad, my grandpa, moved to Brazil as a teenager with my great aunts. Some of my mom’s cousins, aunts and uncles still live in Taiwan. Others are in Brazil, and some have over time moved to the US as well. As for my dad, all his family primarily lives in Brazil.What is one story that your family members remember about their migration roots?In Brazil, the traditional school year is February to November because the seasons are flipped there. So when she moved to the US she had already finished high school in Brazil, but had to re-enroll for one semester in the US. She said it was a very good learning experience and she still remembers two of the friends that she made. She assimilated pretty quickly and it was odd for her to finally be a part of traditional American high school after seeing it in movies so much.What ethnic/cultural events/holidays does your family regularly celebrate?Our family regularly celebrates more Brazilian holidays than Taiwanese and Japanese holidays. In Brazil, Father’s day is in August, so we usually celebrate it twice a year. Additionally, Christmas Eve is a bigger celebration than Christmas day. The big dinner, opening of presents etc all take place on the 24th. What types of foods do you eat during these celebrations? Do these foods represent a particular area or country?Because we still celebrate in the US most of the time, we eat traditional American food. However, we will often have a mix of Asian dishes as well. We will incorporate a lot of rice and noodle dishes, since those are the foods that my mom’s dad is particularly more comfortable with. When we do celebrate in Brazil, we will usually have colder dishes because it is summer there during the holidays. There’s a lot of fruit and lighter desserts to accommodate for the humid weather.Is there an object or objects in your family’s house representing your cultural background?Nothing very specific, but my mom has some of my grandma’s traditional clothes. In terms of our Brazilian culture, we have a few trinkets and pieces of art that my mom collected over the years.Do you feel your family heritage is an active part of who you are? Why or why not?For my mom it is a mixture. Although my grandparents are Taiwanese, my grandpa’s overarching culture is Japanese, because Taiwan was controlled by them when he was growing up. When moving to Brazil, he modified their last name to sound more Westernized and less “Asian” to avoid discrimination. With that being said, my mom doesn’t know very much Taiwanese. She is able to understand a lot, but she can’t really speak or write. She says she is somewhat close to her heritage, however, because it is one of the main things my grandpa talks about. He loves to reminisce about his past and stories of him growing up. He also has a lot of Japanese and Taiwanese friends that often come over. For my dad, him and my uncles only got more involved as they got older. My paternal grandma isn’t even as involved in her heritage as much as she wishes. My dad doesn’t speak Japanese, but some of our extended family still does. They haven’t visited Japan really since they moved, and Brazilian culture is primarily what dominates.As for me, I don’t think my heritage is a very active part of me. I identify in the struggles of being Asian in the US, but the ties to my roots are less prevalent. Having grown up far away from my extended family, I am not typically talking or even discussing my Japanese heritage that often. As for my maternal side, my grandpa doesn’t really identify with his Taiwanese heritage like I mentioned. He mostly talks about Japan, but it isn’t quite the same as learning about Japan from my actual Japanese relatives. I also don’t speak any Japanese or Taiwanese because neither of parents do. However, I am grateful that I am familiar with my Brazilian culture. Moments where I am sad that I do not know much about my Asian heritage, I am able to find unity in that fact.What types of music/dance is related to your heritage?My parents didn’t really grow up listening to traditional Taiwanese and Japanese music so I’m not exactly sure. Most of the music influence was from Brazil and the US. My mom’s favorite genre of Brazilian music is bossa nova, something that we both share and can enjoy listening to.    Hi Amanda! I really enjoyed reading about your heritage.  I went through something similar as she did in answer 4 when I moved to Australia for a year.  It is crazy how the month and school years are different in each location.  

If applicable, when did your family originally come to the U.S. or their respective homeland?a.Where did they originally settle? Where do they live now?The weather is ideal in most times of the year that you can literally live outside. Meals are enjoyed everywhere include the terrace, and walks can be enjoyed even in the Spring. The terrace is usually heated, which provides people with the choice of walking outside even in the winter. 

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