When the glass of my phone screen shattered into a million pieces, so did my heart. I simply could not live a life where I had to read text messages and feed updates through broken glass. It was essential that I have that screen fixed as soon as I could so my life could return to its normal, comfortable bubble.
Some people say that life is difficult being the child of immigrants. I have to say, my life is nowhere near difficult compared to what my parents have gone through. I was the first person in my family to be born in America, so I have always led a privileged life. I always thought that I had it worse than my parents, having to mix my Western culture with my Indian heritage. At many times, this created complications and forced me to make difficult decisions that made me weigh how important each part of myself was to me. I am a combination of my home in America and my people in India, and I have every reason to be proud of that. More than anything, though, I have every reason to feel a great sense of pride in my parents because of what they've done to adjust to a life completely different from theirs back home.
My parents were both born in India and grew up there their whole childhood, meaning they were only accustomed to how they lived in their motherland when they first reached America. My dad traveled abroad to America to study and further his career, and my mom came along to work. From what I've been told, life was not easy for them. I could understand; they had to change small aspects of their lives, like drive on the right side of the road instead of the left and change their measurement system from centimeters and kilograms to inches and pounds.
My mom loves telling stories of when she lived in India, and she told me about traveling to high school.
"There were no school buses, so I would wake up a few hours before school started to get ready and run to the bus stop," she said. "From there, I took a public transportation bus 25 miles away from home to the high school that I used to go to."
My first question to her was: "Isn't that not allowed? I mean, here, they make you go to a certain school based on where you live."
She chuckled and told me, "Life here is easy for you because you have everything planned out and done for you. There, back home, it's not as simple. Going to school far away from home on public transportation was normal for me because that's how I lived."
I frowned, obviously wanting to fight back and tell her that the education system has put too much pressure on students that causes mental illnesses and whatnot, but she seemed intent on the fact that I had no idea what "difficult" meant.
As the years went on, I began to notice some firsthand experiences of them adjusting their lives to fit in; having me be the first American teenager in my family also forced them to change themselves for me. I find it amazing how strong they are, both as parents and as immigrants. They are the embodiment of one voice that speaks courage and determination, and I admire that more and more each day. It must be a struggle to be halfway across the world from your family while taking care of your own, but they did it because they wanted a future for their children. I did not realize it before, but being the daughter of two immigrants is amazing.
Why? Because I have two incredibly powerful role models to look up to in times that I need strength. They'll always be there.