My mother is Amy Li (name changed), who grows up in China. She has immigrated to the United States in 1996 and started her new life in Boston. This is her American story.
She told me that the experience of immigration led her to see the wider world and meet more kind people. In her memory, she thought of the Boston maple leaves, tan moon cakes, Charles’s light blue water, and the confusion and discomfort when she arrived to the United States, and finally adapted to the life in the United States and gained good education and love in the United States. For her, life is happy now.
I was very curious about my mother’s childhood. She was born in China and went to the United States in middle school, and her mother had a different childhood experience. Mother said: ” I was born in an intellectual family, from birth to grow up, parents have gave me a lot of love, I can contact advanced ideas and culture at a very young age , this is why I hope to go to the United States when I am very young. I hope I can look at this world, I also hope to get more knowledge.”
Thanks to the wave of studying abroad in the 1990s and the relaxation of the study abroad policy in China, especially in the 20th century, my mother learned about the learning opportunities, advanced technology and productivity in the United States, and my mother wanted to study abroad to gain more knowledge and experience. When she put forward this idea to my grandparents, they opposed it at first, believing that immigration to a strange place would not necessarily lead to a good life. However, through unremitting efforts, my mother persuaded my grandparents that they decided to go abroad to try it out. If the family could not adapt to the life abroad, they would return to China again.
In fact, the anti-Chinese settlement exists locally in the United States. After learning about this, the family set their eyes to Boston’s Chinatown. In Boston, people can make a living in the United States, most Chinese people live in Chinatown, and they can also work in Chinatown. When I asked my mother how she felt about her first arrival in Boston, she paused for a while and said, ” When I reached the United States, I felt excited and scared. Although every race is different, I still wonder what America looks like. However, I also feel confused and afraid, I do not know whether I can like and adapt to the American life.”
My mother’s family began to start a new life in America. Mom began to learn how to talk to others in English. In Boston, mom feels less different from life in China. There are more Chinese in Boston, and her mother can communicate with others in Chinese, which alleviates her cultural anxiety. Mom began to learn a second language, English. After six months of study, she was able to communicate correctly with others properly. Later, my mother entered a Chinese school, and later she was admitted to the University of Houston. In college, my mother studied hard and got very good grades. Currently, Mom holds a management position in a business. My mother is defined as an intellectual.
My mother loved her life in the US, but she also felt the pressure of life. Although my mother’s life is very easy, my mother’s family still needs to pay the rent. At the same time, Chinese people with different living modes have different living habits. My mother’s family only contacts with some Chinese in the Boston area. Mother thought about it, and her mother talked about her job-hunting experience. After my mother graduated from university, at the suggestion of her Chinese friends, she became a graduate student in Florida State University. For her mother, she stayed in school for many years, and she gained a lot of knowledge. Although the study experience of my mother at that time was very hard, my mother thought it was worth it. My mother often learns until the wee hours. When looking for a job, my mother’s resume was recognized by many companies. My mother earns more than most Chinese people.
Mother and father also met at school. They share the same ideals and hobbies. But the living expenses in Boston are still stressful. Mom and dad have to pay rent after marriage, and the overall consumption level in Boston is higher than Athens, Florida and other areas. Mom and Dad work hard and want to save money to buy a house.
Mother also said that she was very grateful to the other Chinese people. In her experience of renting a house, buying a house, finding a job, reading books and so on, other Chinese people gave her a lot of advice and help. The life of the Chinese helps my mother to quickly integrate into the American life. When confronted with difficulties, they can also sign up for a group to keep warm, and solve the problems together.
In short, for my mother, the decision of immigration was the most courageous decision she had ever made. Mother in the United States received the studies, vision, love, family and friends. My mother likes the present life very much, and my mother also hopes that I can enjoy the present study time.
In my interviews with my mother, I also recognized the difficulties with immigration. For the United States, Americans do not fully accept Chinese and have discrimination. In the United States, the joint efforts and unity of Chinese Americans are an important reason to help mothers quickly adapt to American life. At the same time, we should also admit that American knowledge and technology is worth learning by others. Mother gained vision and knowledge in the United States, which laid a solid foundation for mom to get a good job.
This made me realize that there are some difficulties in immigration, but as long as we work hard, we can adapt to the new life and culture. Although there are differences between American and Chinese cultures, we can still adapt to different cultures and pursue a better life. Immigration helps people integrate into the world and become citizens of the world. Meanwhile, immigration also promotes diversity in the United States. Immigrants have also achieved cultural integration and cultural diversity.
The interview and narrative were done by James Chau, a community college student.