Biracial Aphrodite Aristine Dobson discusses the dualities and dilemmas of growing up mixed race in the city of Sydney.

“Halfie” is an affectionate term I’ve used, that some individuals of mixed race use to describe each other, often in casual conversation. It comes with its own unique set of experiences and tribulations, one of those being that we find ourselves caught between the two cultures we grew up with, and feel as though we are unable to fit in with those who are technically meant to be our tribe.

When curious white people ask me where I’m originally from I happily tell them that I am half-Indonesian, half-Australian. I came to Brisbane, Australia when I was five, learnt English, watched rugby, took a liking to sausage rolls and developed a thick Aussie accent. Unfortunately, these were characteristics that made it difficult for me assimilating back into Indonesian culture in my formative years.

I was twelve when we moved to Jakarta again. I reacquainted myself with the Indonesian language, ate at street vendors and became immune to spicy food, yet I was still considered a “bule” (a foreigner, usually of European descent) by those who passed me by on Jakarta streets. This was strange for me, because in Australia I was always considered either Indonesian or Asian. At times I’ve felt as though I was never white enough for the white people, and never Asian enough for Asians.

I am an Australian. It’s undeniable. I’ve settled in Sydney and have a very diverse mix of friends, as most people do living here. Sydney, however, is the type of city that can be very divisive in terms of where you’re from and who your people are.