26 November 2012
The Reason I was Born in the USA
金山 or Gold Mountain was the name given to the United States by the people of China looking for new opportunities. The immigration story on my mother’s side of the family begins with my great-grandfather’s journey to the United States in search for a better life for himself, his wife, and his four children. At this time, the majority of the population in China was living in poverty. Being able to come to America was the dream of many in the hopes they would be able to become wealthy. However, it was a rough start for my great-grandfather. The language barrier was a major obstacle and job options for foreigners were very limited; the only job available to him was working at a laundromat. 10 years later, my great-grandmother joined him in the United States. Due to the difficulty of getting permission to come to the United States, and the fear of not being able to support them in the US, she was forced to leave her children behind in China; three daughters and one son. My great-grandmother was a very intelligent woman, and when she was finally able to contact her husband she settled in San Francisco, she was disappointed to discover him working such a low paying job. At her insistence, together, they decided to open a restaurant, and slowly their dreams of a new future began to emerge. My great-grandparents worked tirelessly to keep their business running. Long hours were necessary to support not only themselves but also their children in China, who received the money they earned shipped overseas. Not wanting their kids to repeat to hard life they had, they were determined to give their children education. In this way, my grandmother was able to get college educated, which was very rare for women. In 1906, a major earthquake struck San Francisco. It sparked a series of fires that raged throughout the city for three days which left over half of San Francisco’s...
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