My Roots

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?

SavvyFinancialLatina

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. :)

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19 comments

  • Great story! I’m half asian, half european, so growing up was definitely hard. I was teased a lot as well and it was definitely hard to fit in because I had no “group” which I fit in with entirely.

    And that’s great that you get to borrow a cap and gown. My friend went to a very prestigious university, and she said the cap and gowns for her undergrad AND graduate graduation were over $600 a piece (and this is a rental, not buying it), and she couldn’t wear the same one twice because of different colors. Ah I just could not do that!

    • Yeah, thankfully it was not that expensive, but I’m saving a $100.
      When I got to middle school and high school I was able to fit in the “nerd” group, and that is where I found my identity, per say.

  • Great story! I’m half asian, half european, so growing up was definitely hard. I was teased a lot as well and it was definitely hard to fit in because I had no “group” which I fit in with entirely.

    And that’s great that you get to borrow a cap and gown. My friend went to a very prestigious university, and she said the cap and gowns for her undergrad AND graduate graduation were over $600 a piece (and this is a rental, not buying it), and she couldn’t wear the same one twice because of different colors. Ah I just could not do that!

    • Yeah, thankfully it was not that expensive, but I’m saving a $100.
      When I got to middle school and high school I was able to fit in the “nerd” group, and that is where I found my identity, per say.

  • Bill Nye was great!! You were forced to grow up fast. It seems like you have really done for yourself and you are highly educated. This is a great story.

  • Bill Nye was great!! You were forced to grow up fast. It seems like you have really done for yourself and you are highly educated. This is a great story.

  • Thanks for linking to my series!! I love that it’s inspired you to share more about your background. As you know, I hardly fit a particular mold, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way. And I loved Bill Nye!!! :D

  • I am impressed with what you’ve achieved in your life thus far. I always have lots of respect for those who understand and have compassion for their parents and their financial situation.
    “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.” — Hats off to you. Good luck with your future endeavors.

    • Thanks Shilpan for your comment! I didn’t ask much because I did not want to further burden my parents. I never really saw how little we had until I got older and started seeing what other kids had. Of course, I wanted things. My parents spoil me now :) My mom always buys me clothes. She is awesome. Also, my parents have always encouraged me to pursue my education. They believe getting an American education is the most valuable thing you can have.

  • I am impressed with what you’ve achieved in your life thus far. I always have lots of respect for those who understand and have compassion for their parents and their financial situation.
    “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.” — Hats off to you. Good luck with your future endeavors.

    • Thanks Shilpan for your comment! I didn’t ask much because I did not want to further burden my parents. I never really saw how little we had until I got older and started seeing what other kids had. Of course, I wanted things. My parents spoil me now :) My mom always buys me clothes. She is awesome. Also, my parents have always encouraged me to pursue my education. They believe getting an American education is the most valuable thing you can have.

  • Thanks for your advice on starting 401K. I don’t have a job yet (currently on the search), but I want to be prepared.

  • I agree with you. I do not fit into a particular mold. I like being unique now though :)
    Thank you! I discovered the series last night. I really enjoyed reading them!

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