“I’m Hsiu-Jung, Shen (Doris Shen), an educational counselor from Taipei, Taiwan. I’m a new immigrant to America. My husband and I met and got married in Taiwan and have two wonderful boys. Four years ago, we moved to America in the hope for a chance to give our kids a more diverse education and living environment.
Being a bilingual family, some funny things are always happening in our life. When my older son Cooper turned 2 1/2 years old, he would mix up three different languages in one sentence: Chinese, Taiwanese and English. He said: “Mom, where is wa e Kong Long lei?” (Where is my dinosaur?). That made us laugh so hard. Our youngest son was only a year old when we moved here, so naturally he always liked to be naked in our back yard when he played. As an Asian mom it’s an “OMG! feeling” to me. But his dad would say: that’s ok, he’s just being a boy. When he was 3, I took him back to Taiwan and we would regularly play at the park with my friends and their kids. He would be the only boy out in public running without a shirt and shoes on and all my friends would laugh and say to me: “He is truly an American!“
As a traveler and educational counselor, I travel around the world often taking study tours, visiting cooperating schools overseas or personal trips. I like to explore the world and take in all that the country has to offer wherever I go. I never thought culture shock would hit me. However, once we immigrated to the states, it definitely hit. Some little things like, one day my older son Cooper brought his lunch box with dumplings to school. His classmates said to him: “What’s that? It’s stinky!“ Since then, Cooper would tell me not to prepare him a lunch anymore. It’s not a big deal for me. However, because of the lack of understanding and exposure between different cultures, these types of situations happen. We can avoid them by learning more about each other’s food, culture and experience.
With two little boys, moving hasn’t been easy. As a daughter, our move to America made my mother cry. As a traditional Chinese woman like my mom, our children and family is everything. I struggled leaving knowing that. I never thought that being homesick would be a real problem for me. But within the first six months of us immigrating to the states, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I struggled with the situation because I was still waiting for my green card and couldn’t leave the states. After 8 long months I finally received my green card and I decided to head back to Taiwan to see my dad even though my mom and my brother told me not to worry. I had this overwhelming feeling that the situation was worse than they had led me to believe. Looking back at that moment, I am glad I made that decision; because that was the last time I got to see my beloved dad. One week after I flew back from Taiwan, my dad passed away. I’ve always known death is everyone’s destination, however, I still feel the pain of heart break every day. Now my mom is not in good shape. I’m still struggling to find ways how I can help take care of her in Taiwan while caring for my own family here in America.
In this country, I am still finding myself. For me, family is my root and home is where your family is! Love starts from there. Opening our mind to learn other cultures is fun and makes you humble. Humility is not a weakness. Arrogance isn’t strength. Love yourself and respect others and this world will be wonderful.”