People usually have a certain negative perception of immigrants. Having been an immigrant as a kid in the US, I learned that quickly. I pretty much learned to hide my past from my friends. No one cares about your home country, no one is interested in your past life. People want you to assimilate, they want you to be like them. But life as they sell to you may not be what you want. To live, you do find ways to learn and adapt, try to fit in, and build a new home and a new life. The desire to hold on and to change sometimes put you somewhere in between, neither here nor there.
Fast forward to today, I feel I'm an immigrant once again. I'm now back to the country of my birth, but not exactly one of the locals. Some people would want to call themselves ExPats here, but I think I would be more proud to retain my label as an immigrant. Either way you call it, the experiences are the same. Like many immigrants do, we find camaraderie with people who are like us. We go to the same places to hang out, eat and work. I do want to make an effort to assimilate, but this time around there is not social pressure forcing me to conform. I'm not sure what time will bring, but you never know what to expect when you leave what is familiar. But then again, isn't not knowing all part of the fun and excitement.
I can't exactly suggest to regular people to go and leave your home and live the immigrant experience, but for those who have, we share this unique transition phase of life that I really am appreciating more and more as an adult. Being a kid, you wish you weren't a fob, not a stranger, not the kid w/ the funny cloths and funny accent. Now reliving the immigrant experience as an adult, it gives me a real appreciations of what my parents went through adjusting to a new and foreign land with bratty kids in tow. I can imagine how difficult it might have been when I now find filling out a form in Chinese impossible. There are also other challenges in daily life that I had taken for granted. Though it may not always be easy, I'm loving it all. Luckily I found a great bunch of folks here along on the same ride. You know who you are... my FOB buddies;)
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