I’m Josh. I’m a college student from Dallas, and this is my blog, Kuya’s Notebook. Currently, I’m an undergraduate at Stanford University in the Bay Area of California, where I study sociocultural anthropology, as well as creative writing.
What is Kuya’s Notebook?
I first started this blog on the first day of Chinese New Year, 2012. Back then, I was in the last few months of middle school and wanted to have some way to document my journey through high school and beyond so that my family and friends could keep up with me. But more than that, I wanted a semi-private but still public space to share my own writings and simply express myself. The word “kuya” (pronounced KOO-yah) is the Filipino word for “older brother,” a word my younger brother Jude has always called me. (For a while, he honestly thought my name was Kuya, not Joshua!) So when I set out years ago to create this blog, I decided to name it after a word—a name—that I hear on a daily basis!
What began as a thirteen-year-old boy trying his first hand at poetry and photography (and yes, they were about as awful as you’d expect!) transformed into a place I could share photos from my travels and stories about my life, whether that was talking about my experiences with my biracial identity or my experiences after my brother’s cancer came back. So unlike Bok Choy and Broccoli, where I only share pictures and stories related to food, Kuya’s Notebook is a loose mess filled with vignettes about my life, my thoughts, my hopes, and my dreams.
Who is “Kuya”?
That’d be me, Joshua. Like I said before, the word “kuya” is Filipino for older brother. Many Filipinos use this word when speaking to older males who are still within the same generation as them, so I might call my older male cousin “kuya.” (The female equivalent is “ate,” pronounced AH-teh.)
Kuya is just one of the many words that make up my identity. Here are just a handful of the many other words I’d use to describe myself:
- I’m a Stanford student studying sociocultural anthropology, with a minor in creative writing. Generally, I’m interested in questions around globalism, transnationalism, social stratification, and sexual behavior. And I like to explore these themes through academic and creative forms of writing.
- I’m Hapa, a person who is partially of Asian or Pacific Islander descent (I’m half Filipino and half white). And when I don’t use Hapa, I describe myself as a Filipino American, an Asian American, and/or a person of color. (No hyphen in Filipino American or Asian American…Filipino/Asian is an adjective describing the type of American I am!) Other times I refer to myself as brown or biracial. (But officially on my driver’s license, my race is listed as “Other.”)
- I’m a Filipino and an American. (Yes, I’m a dual citizen!)
- I’m openly gay/queer (I’m romantically and sexually attracted to men), and I came out to my friends and family (aside from my parents and my college friends) officially through this blog.
- I’m a Texan, not by birth—I was born in the Philippines, moved to Japan as a baby for a few years, then ended up in Texas—but I’ve lived in the Dallas suburbs long enough to credibly lay claim to that label (even if a brown, vegetable-loving liberal isn’t your first thought when you think of Texas… but we’re a growing demographic!).
- I’m a bone marrow donor, and I gave my brother marrow when he was first diagnosed with cancer.
- I’m a (pragmatic) progressive, and a very politically active one, at that. You could even say I’m a democratic socialist.
- I’m a writer, even though most of my writing takes place during the months of November (National Novel Writing Month) or June/July/August (when I have slightly more time!).
- I’m an activist, a person who’s been fighting to get more people on the bone marrow registry, fighting to turn Texas blue, and constantly trying to make others aware of issues related to race/class/gender/sexuality/immigration status (very different causes, but all still a part of my urge to create change!).
- I’m a foodie, which is why I started a food blog! And yes, you can be a foodie even if you prefer to not eat meat when given the opportunity (although if I do go vegetarian again, I’m going to have to make an exception for sushi, because that’s my absolute favorite food!)
- And, I’m a person consumed with wanderlust, a person with a strong desire to travel! (That’s part of how I ended up an anthropology major!)
Hopefully now you know a little bit more about me! I’m always open to questions about me, so if you’re reading a post on here and have a strong wondering about something related to me, don’t hesitate to ask!
How can I contact you?
You can find me on Twitter and Instagram—if you’re a reader of this blog and you’d like to get in touch, feel free to message me! You can also email me via the “Contact” page of this blog. Additionally, I love letters, postcards, and packages, and while I’m here at Stanford, you can also write to me. If you include your return address, I’ll write you back!
531 Lasuen Mall
P.O. Box 17296
Stanford, CA 94309