Tonight, in my endless pursuit of avoiding my dreaded papers and studying, I ended up reading The Happy Homeowner’s Confessions of a PF Blogger. Her story took my back to my roots, how I ended up in the US, and learned how to speak the English language. Everyone has a story that shapes who they are, here is a small part of mine.
I remember playing with my younger cousin Emi in my grandmother’s backyard. It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining. We were playing in the sand, speaking in some language that only kids understand. I remember talking about how I was going to learn English, and subsequently, saying gibberish in an attempt to imitate the English language. At that time I was only 4 or 5. I didn’t even know what the American dream was. Frankly, I don’t even think I realized in what part of the world I lived in. Who does, right? I was enrolled in a parochial kindergarten school, and we had an English class. We were only learning the basics. I remember my English vocabulary only consisting of “frog, milk, hello.” Despite the fact that English was so foreign to me, the language fascinated me. But I did not want to leave my country. Everyone I loved and that loved me was there. It was painful.
My parents had immigrated to the U.S. first. My dad was just suppose to be in the US temporarily for a job, and a couple of months turned into a year, and then my mom joined him. After a while, my parents decided that they wanted to bring me to this country, so that I could be with them. I remember that I did not want to go, but I had no choice. Growing up in America as a foreigner is not easy. As a kid I was teased. The fact that I did not fit in forced me into reading books. Instead of playing with friends, I would go to the library and check out books. I read and read and read. :)
Since I could only watch kids’ shows on PBS from 4 to 6 pm (remember zoom? Arthur? Bill Nye the Science Guy? Wishbone?), my tv time was limited. Back then we didn’t have internet either! No friends, no tv equals lots of time to read :)
I was also more aware of our circumstances than most kids my age. I knew my parents were struggling financially. My dad worked so much and we had so little. I don’t remember asking for much.
Navigating the American world for my parents was hard. They often used me as a translator. So there I was, an 8 year old kid translating for her parents, negotiating prices, and arguing for their rights. I think that is why I feel so comfortable talking with older adults! I had to speak to adults in an authoritative way at a very young age.
My experience has definitely shaped my personality. I am very independent. I know that I have a strong personality. I believe in hard work and determination. Even though I will finish my MS soon, life has just begun! I plan to conquer it too :)
What about you? What experiences have shaped your life?
P.S. 19 Days Left. I am also borrowing a friend’s graduation cap and gown, so I don’t have to fork out $100 to get one. :)