Where I’m From

I’m from waking to dogs barking and birds chirping outside my window,

I’m from growing a lush garden of plants and vegetables,

I’m from hearing the pitter-patter of rain falling from my roof to the ground,

I’m from smelling the gardenias and puakenikeni when they are in bloom,

I’m from drinking strawberry, banana, blueberry, and peach smoothies for breakfast,

I’m from eating homemade pesto and turkey sandwiches for lunch and sashimi and chazuke for dinner,

I’m from navigating through the clutter in my house,

I’m from seeing Pearl Harbor from the garage of my house,

I’m from driving past churches and Buzz’s Steakhouse every morning,

I’m from running up and down the steep hills surrounding my home,

I’m from working out at the Rec Center every week,

I’m from knowing most people in my neighborhood and saying “hi” to them when I see them,

I’m from sleeping to the cool evening breeze blowing through my window.

Hello, I’m Cara

467911_10200249905674453_1462647178_oMy name is Cara Mayumi Chang, but most people really only know me by Cara Chang because most people donʻt know my middle name. It means “friend” in Gaellic, “love/beloved” in Latin and “face” or “expensive” in Spanish. My parents told me they wanted my name to start with a C since my dad’s name also starts with a C. Growing up, most of the other Caras I knew started their names with a K. Sometimes, people also pronounce my name as Car-a. My parents told me they almost named me Carmel, but they found my name in a newspaper article and decided to name me Cara instead. Somehow I feel like Cara fits me better anyway. My middle name is a Japanese middle name to reflect my mom’s side of the family. My last name is an indication of my Chinese ancestry from my dad’s side. Often times, I would not be teased for my first name, but more so for my last name. Everyone knows that in pidgin, “chang” means “cheap,” so they would tease me and tell me that “I’m so chang.” In thinking about this, I realized that most of my family name is surrounded by money. My momʻs maiden name is “yasui,” which means “cheap,” and as stated earlier, “cara” means “expensive,” but I read that “cara” means “expensive,” and things that are beloved/dear is expensive. I recently found out that I’m also Hawaiian, but that is a whole different story.