Growing up in this free land we call America as a traditional Asian Family takes a lot of understanding and patience.
Through my eyes, we have all the freedom in the world. With hard work and determination, our dreams could easily be accomplished. Even with no funds, we could figure out the solutions later, our resources are simply there. Something we truly take for granted.
While shopping today, I wanted to look at different things around Target to see what I could get for my nephews, teenage cousins, and other kids I know. My mom was beside me, she kept on saying, “Are you really getting something for so and so? But why? Don’t waste your money, they are just kids, they don’t know any better.” I quickly snapped and said, “Forget it, Mom, I just don’t want to shop with you with that attitude, it is a time for giving, I don’t want to hear you nag.” Then we continued to make our round back to the cashier to pay for the bread my Dad had asked for. When we got home, my Dad said, “So you guys only went to Target to buy bread?” I said, “Yes, I wanted to shop but Mom said I shouldn’t buy any presents.” (What a freakin brat move, seriously!) My Mom then got a little sad and said, “Wait, I was just wondering why you want to get them something, I didn’t tell you NOT to buy it for them.”
I wanted to point out that, this was not supposed to happen, I wasn’t supposed to be offended by my Mom trying to talk me out of buying something for the kids, I should’ve understood what she was telling me. I should have recognized that my Mom only wanted me to really think about my wallet because I spent so much in the past few months for various important things. I should have said, “That’s ok, Mom, I could just buy them something small so they have something to open on Christmas,” and continued shopping.
Through my parents eyes, we don’t and can’t make all the money we want in the world because they didn’t grow up with that opportunity. They came from Vietnam, a communist country, where their fortune was their family, not money nor prized possessions. They needed to work their asses off with hard labor to make minimal money to get by and feed themselves/family. They had little markets in front of their homes in which they sold items like that of a mini mart. That was their whole family’s source of income. Although they’ve lived in America for quite some time, I’ve come to the conclusion, their hearts will always be in Vietnam because they grew up there and that is what life is supposed to be in their world.
Takeaway: As a child of the 1st generation in America, it is important for me to understand where my parents came from so I can truly understand their motives. A lot of what is communicated between my parents and I could easily be taken as an insult without understanding their background… The true difference between my parents and I, is the way we grew up. To better understand and to get along better, we must strive to communicate with our parents about their history and their culture before we were born. I can’t stress enough how important it is.
If your parents are immigrants, you better know that they moved here to better your life because we have the opportunity to live the American Dream. Now that, is pure love. They gave up what they grew up with and sacrificed their well-being for you to have the opportunities they didn’t have.
Appreciate your parents, often times as we are growing up, we forget our parents are also growing old.
P.S. An article about my take on the Fresh Off the Boat series is forthcoming.