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My America

written by ChristingC January 31, 2017

Thoughts and ramblings from the heart. #notmypresident #nobannowall
My parents were young immigrants who travelled to California where I was born. My mother was pregnant with me at the age of 20, and determined to have her daughter in this foreign land where everything seemed possible. My father worked as a waiter at a 24 hour Chinese restaurant to buy the one bedroom house they were barely able to afford, but he looks back fondly at this time with anecdotes of torn shoes and late shifts. They were dreamers in love and America offered them a sanctuary. Although their marriage did not work, their adventurous spirit led both my brother and I to be born and raised in the United States. Both of us consider ourselves American having called it home for most of our lives. My mother wanted us to have as much opportunity as possible and believed America would offer us better education, more freedom during our childhood, and prosperous career possibilities in our later life. She moved away from the only home she knew in Taiwan, away from the security of family to become a single mother in a land of opportunity. She worked, ran her own business, and studied for her bachelors and masters degrees all while bringing up two children.

We were taught that because we were born in that country we would be welcomed. I have experienced both sides of divisive behavior, and inclusive behavior throughout my childhood. Growing up predominately in small suburbs, with few Chinese Americans, meant I confused my worth with being different. I often hoped I could assimilate, erase my heritage and all that made me stand out. Later in my adult life I realized that teaching society differences are to be feared or inferior is one of the most dangerous weapons that can be unleashed.

I grew up, moved to England and met an English boy. He was so curious about the world and his curiosity eased my insecurities. To him differences were interesting and to be celebrated. At this point my Dad resided in China and I made the trip to see him often. Shortly after we met, Dan jumped at the chance to accompany me on one of these trips and although it was his first time in Asia he embraced every aspect of the culture, and ate every single bite of obscure food with genuine enthusiasm. These qualities are what made me fall in love. His welcoming attitude towards everyone, whether their religion, sexual orientation, or race and his ability to put the women in his life on a pedestal.  My worth and confidence soared under his eyes and encouragement, and I was able to learn to love all the eccentricities that stunted my confidence in my youth. Not only is he accepting, he prefers diversity and soon began to crave travel so he could soak up more.

Fast forward several years, a big wedding, and a move across the world and we now have two babies, born with American citizenship. Their grandparents are a mixture of French, British, and Taiwanese. We currently live in Hong Kong, but travel the world constantly to show them everything each culture and country has to offer. Our goal is to teach them that the world is a wonderful place and it’s for all of us to protect, enjoy, and discover. We hope they will be able to forge relationships that will celebrate unique differences.

Trump’s Muslim Ban and Wall teaches it is ok to push others out. To judge them merely on the place which they are from or where they parents were born. To close doors rather than help. To be selfish rather than kind, and to fear what is not like yourself. ┬áThese values don’t make a great country or a valuable person, and will not make America great again.



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