My name is Zhang Min (name changed for anonymity), I can go by Lisa and throughout my whole life I valued one thing: Happiness. Coming to the U.S. was a long ride that was worth every step of the way, I dreamt of leaving my family because I didn’t feel loved by them. In the early days of 1968 my parents had me in Beijing. My parents wanted another child, and the one child policy didn’t exist, so they had another girl, my little sister. My family was not the poorest, or richest. But to save money, they had me live with my grandparents on my dad’s side while they raised my little sister back home. I was only one when I left to Zhe Jiang, but stayed there for eight years.
I loved my grandparents, they were hardworking and they fed me, they loved me. It’s not like they let me do whatever I wanted, I remember stealing from a stash of candy while they were napping. They would rarely treat me, so I decided to experience the fruity flavor of the hard piece of candy in my mouth. But now I look back and laugh since I only took one when I could’ve taken so much more. They exposed me to the cultural aspect of China, the embroidery, calligraphy, and colorful artwork was simply mesmerizing, I made arts and crafts myself, the silk like materials that had flowers on them just made it look so authentic. I love flowers and visiting gardens ever since. After the eight years I went back to my parents. It was hard to watch them love my little sister Zhang Li more than me.
What’s worst was when my little sister would kick me out of the house sometimes and tell me I don’t belong in this family. But I still loved her, I always put her first. I remember my dads short temper, and how he would resort to violence to discipline us. Mostly me because they liked my Li better. I hate to admit it, but it shaped my character, it made me much more thankful and humble. But I didn’t feel loved and took my anger out on studying.
School was never a problem for me, whether it was In Beijing or Zhe Jiang. I took it seriously, and did well on every test. I remember being praised because my teacher liked my handwriting and saw how serious I took the tiniest detail into consideration. I then went to a high school ranked top ten in Beijing. I met my future husband during senior year. When I realized my family was all engineers and had not doctors, my parents thought it would be best for me to go into that field. I always listened to my parents. I was really simple. I wouldn’t disagree because I couldn’t afford the rebellious teen phase, due to academics.
All my hard work paid off when I was accepted into the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. I studied acupuncture, acupressure, physical therapy, and chiropractics for five years. After graduating I got married, and then decided to teach new students that went to the university for nine more years. During those years, my most memorable moment was writing a book with my colleagues about the pressure points in the human ears. On the sixth year we had our first baby, Jenny.
I had the opportunity to go to Germany to be a doctor there and work full time. But at the same time, my husband had the opportunity to come to America to study Business since he graduated from Beijing University of Aeronautics which was considered one of the most prestigious schools. I knew our daughter couldn’t have their parents be in two different countries, so I decided to give up everything to go to America. Because I love my husband so much I put my his career over mine. At this point I needed a way to know that everything was going to turn out well.
When I departed from China I had eleven luggages. I brought everything to the airport. This is when God entered my life. I had become Christian and that gave me the amount of motivation I needed to get even further in life. When we got to San Francisco we had another child named David. His name was from a character in the bible, that had exceptional attributes. For the first five years in America, I took care of the family and was a member of the church in the Bay Area.
I went from a commendable high status doctor in China to a house maid in America. I kept myself from feeling depressed or feel like I’ve wasted my life, I knew God had plans for me in the future. Pure faith and love towards my family kept me going every single day for the five years. But once those years were over, I thought it was time to make acupuncture a full time job. I tested for an acupuncture license and, now opened two offices, one in San Rafael, and one in Menlo Park. Without advertising, I have had enough patients to treat, to make a living here in America.
I’ve sacrificed a lot coming to America. I thought of my life’s purpose – to satisfy others. My parents, my teachers, my husband, and my kids. I kept reminding myself that God is going to reward me, so I didn’t regret putting off my alternative life. Now I aim to earn enough money as a doctor for my kids’ education so they can be successful. I can only hope that they can endure as much as I could. My parents and family in China recognizes my efforts, and now they’re very proud of me. I live a happy life now with both kids baptized and both knowing a decent amount of acupuncture.
Written by a student in Palo Alto.