Taichung park
Personal Stories

My Immigrant Journey: The Unexpected Path to a New World

In a world where tales of extraordinary journeys often take center stage, not every story begins with grandeur or drama. I firmly believe that every ordinary story can be just as compelling as the extraordinary, as long as they are shared experiences and adventures.

The Decision

Roughly two decades ago, I made the life-altering move from Taiwan to the United States. Unlike the dramatic twists of fate that often mark immigration stories, my journey began for the same reason as countless other immigrants: my parents sought a better education for me.

The decision to uproot my life and embark on this journey wasn’t mine to make; in Asian families, parents seldom consider children’s opinions, let alone include children in significant discussions. The thought of leaving Taiwan never crossed my mind, even in my wildest dreams. I had heard whispers here and there from relatives and family friends, but I never associated them with me, so I paid them little mind.

The Process

One day, upon returning home from school, my world shifted. My mom informed me that I had some school-related documents to complete. These documents, as it turned out, were the first steps toward my immigration to the USA. I was taken aback, far from amused. A tumultuous dispute with my parents ensued. I was in eighth grade back then, and I wasn’t ready to leave everything behind, including my friends and family. I felt like this was the biggest punishment I have received simply because I could never attain the grades that would satisfy my parents.

Reluctantly, I started filling out all the required documents and venting my frustration to my friends. Some of my friends were excited for me; they viewed this as an incredible opportunity and a life-changing turning point. However, at that moment, all I could see was darkness and an uncertain future ahead of me. I wasn’t an A student and I struggled with learning languages, even my native tongue. How could my parents expect me to start a whole new chapter of my life in English, especially when they knew I wasn’t proficient in the language?

The move was life-changing, but not in a good way. I felt like I had been pushed off an endless cliff, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

The Move

Of course, everyone in my family made their own sacrifices to make this journey happen. My mom had to leave her family behind to come to the USA with us, and the same went for my younger brother, who was very young at the time. My dad had to live by himself. The impact was immense, and I’ll never forget the day I flew away from home – June 7, 2003.

One of my mom’s best friends took me and my brother to the USA to meet her; she traveled to the USA months before us to get to know the city we would now call home. I didn’t know where we were going, only that we were going to live in Davis, somewhere close to San Francisco. Little did I know that once we arrived in San Francisco and got through customs and baggage claim, I would have to wait until we arrived at the hotel to see her.

The Arrival

I was curious and somewhat excited to see what the USA was like. In my mind, I pictured big city life since I Davis is close to San Francisco. But when I arrived in Davis, it was nothing like what I had imagined. I was in a small college town, and it was endlessly disappointing for me. After spending more than half of my life here, I still find it disappointing.

My mom cried when she saw us because she was so happy since she hadn’t seen us for a long time and that everything had gone smoothly and without complications (by the way, the reason behind my mom’s relief is that this all happened during the SARS outbreak). I was crying too, but my reasons were different. I felt like my world was doomed, and I believed no one could help me. And so, this is how my immigrant journey began.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.