Sunday, December 13, 2015

Elaine Chen~ Hardships To America


       For this oral history project,  I decided to interview my mother, Elaine Chen who did not want to be video recorded (there's audio version respecting her choice).  She was born and raised in Canton, China.  In her early years, my mother and her family decided to immigrate to the United States because her father had citizenship in the US so everyone can be all together.   

Background~  My mother explains about her hometown back in the days where life was simple. My mother also explains how there was a lot of responsibilities in the household because of her parents trying to support for the family while attending school. Although life was simple, surviving was a difficulty for her family members. 

Leaving China~ In the video below, my mother explains leaving China where the president of China from the 1980s, changed the policy allowing any Chinese to immigrate across to America. My mom explained her reason on why she immigrated was to be reunited with all of her close family members but as well experience the better opportunities America.   

Settling in the US~ Immigrating to the United States, my mother and her family had a difficult transition settling into the San Francisco, Chinatown area. My mother explains the hardships of how difficult it was to have a source of income while being a high school student at Mission High School  with her parents working trying to survive.  

Life in the US~My mother explains how life in the US wasn't as easy. She explains how being a high student at the time after a year of immigrating that she had to get a job in order to support the family. Juggling both a job and school was very difficult because my mom had worked many hours and studying very hard to be very successful. 
Later on, my mother talks about life now and how she feels in a happier place than she was before. Before, she had the hardships but now feels glad to have anything she desires being able to see the world living life happily. 

Roots in the US~ My mother explains how she keeps her Chinese culture everyday. She maintains keeping the culture each day by celebrating each of the important Chinese holidays, traditions, cooking Chinese food, and speaking the language. As well, she teaches her kids about her history growing up even visiting her hometown to remember where she came from. 

Leaving China, my mother was very happy to be reconnected with her family members to have a better life. My mother didn't miss anyone but her friends since all of her family are in the United States. Talking about her experiences, she said that she learned a lot coming from a different country having hardships but to remember you have to work hard to be successful and not take things for granted. When asked if she would go back to China, she said no. She wouldn't go back because then she would have to start all over from the beginning and would not like the weather in China. She was very clear on saying San Francisco is the place for me and would never want to move back being adjusted to her lifestyle in San Francisco as her home.  

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