There will always be a part of me that considers myself part of the "Asian Miracle", and another part that believes I am a scrappy kid from the Missouri suburbs. The fact is, neither statement is completely true, because I am neither. I do not have the trappings of success and wealth that comes from the former, nor can I claim that my heritage comes from the heartland. What I can say with 100% accuracy is that, for some time in the past, I was able to fully immerse myself in the experiences of two cultures, and because of that I can find the empathy to understand and connect. I can never find myself fully comfortable in either scenario, because my experience has made me "foreign" -- but I realize that is also my strength - how can I have the courage to make a connection, despite my discomfort? How can these new situations empower me to form relationships and solve problems?
My attraction to places like Chicago, New York, and Boston is because they are neither of these hyper-conditions, and large metropolises have the ability to absorb and celebrate differences, individuality. The CBD's of N.America, will never compare to the dense metropolises of China, Japan, Korea, and SE Asia, and the industrial/historic districts will never be as authentic as Middle America. But somehow, in these boundary-less places, you get to really see a real cross-section of the world, with its multitude of classes and ethnicity and cultures, and what a dynamic society can really look like.