For those of us raised in immigrant households, navigating life through two (or more) cultures can be very confusing. This in-between experience may be hard to share with others because it's often difficult to find people who may be able to relate. Here are some things that you've definitely experienced if you're the child of immigrants.
1. Talking to important people in behalf of your parents
Your parents made you talk to their doctors or internet service providers because they didn't know how to say what they wanted to say. Chances are, you didn't know how to translate some of that stuff so you just hoped you guessed right.
2. The "you're the reason we came to America" guilt trip
It's one type of hurt when your parents tell you they're disappointed in you. It's a whole different level of hurt when they tell you that they threw their whole lives away to come to this country and give you a better shot at life and you disappointed them. Not to mention, our "when I was your age" talk goes more like, "when I was your age growing up in ___".
3. Getting your languages jumbled
Sometimes you know how to say something in your native tongue but not in English or vice versa and it's a struggle trying to explain it!
4. Letting your parents know days in advance if you have plans
Oh, what? Today? No, I can't hang out today. You have to let me know a week in advance. No, it doesn't matter how old I am, she said no.
5. Adulthood is not independence
Generally, American values tend to say that you are truly an adult once you can handle complete autonomy when it comes to taking care of yourself and living by yourself. However for immigrant families, adulthood is not leaving the nest but taking over the nest. For us, adulthood is defined by when we can take care of our parents and take the workload off their shoulders.
Although these may seem very foreign or even extreme to non-first generation kids, this is our life for better or worse.