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Almost done!

October 30, 2009
tags: ,

I’m 15 hours away from turning in my final essay for the semester, a sociological biography. Only about 2 weeks left in Perth. Scary stuff.

Anyways, I haven’t been working too hard on this assignment b/c I don’t feel personally invested in the class like I’ve had with biological oceanography and field techniques. That’s not the most legit line of thinking, but ah well. Also, this class is p/np. Unfortunately, I’ve made myself personally responsible for accurately reflecting on this person’s life. This is what I think I will be talking about: (1) something about Australia and immigration, maybe structural inequalities and (2) something about ethnic identity.

I’ve realized that having immigrant parents plays an unexpectedly large role in my identity. Like…my work ethic. You realize that your parents have sacrificed and stepped way out of their comfort zone so that you and your siblings could have a better life. At home (= California) that attitude seemed to be a given among most of the people I had hung out with because, well, almost everybody’s parents were first-generation immigrants (plus the whole filial piety thing). And, well, one of the reasons why you work so hard in school is so that you can honor their effort and sacrifice. I’m sure there are plenty of more nuanced ways I can go about thinking about it. I watched Mao’s Last Dancer with some of my friends, and in the scene where Li Cunxin arrives in Texas (the protagonists arrives in America on a “cultural exchange,” the first person from China every to do so), he’s overwhelmed by people friendliness and their gifts, shaking his hand and telling him, “Welcome to Houston! Welcome to America!” One of my friends giggled and asked me, “Is that what your parents felt like, Daphne? ‘Welcome to America!'” I was surprised at this question because it was the opposite situation I had imagined in my head: my parents arriving, lonely, in the middle of the Buffalo winter, not knowing anybody in the country, not knowing any English, somehow having to accept that they have left their families in Taipei and have moved to America, hoping their move will facilitate the moving to America of the rest of their family. So you know, they can all have this better life thing America has promised. Pretty proud of them, my parents.

Seriously, I’m too scared to study abroad for 5 months in a country that doesn’t speak English (not even a Chinese-speaking country), and my parents had the balls to pick up their whole lives and move to a country without knowing that language fluently. All in the hopes of having the best possible future for their children. I’m pretty sure if they had stayed in Taiwan we would be doing well enough now, but maybe my brother and I wouldn’t have the absolute best possible circumstances to set up our adult lives. So my parents decided to move.

Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Right-o. I may or may not go back to work on my essay. Toodles.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. sylvia permalink
    November 9, 2009 06:59

    Very nice, I’m proud of my parents too. Cheers for their courage!

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