Our family first immigrated from China to the U.S. back in 1996. It was my father, mother, older brother and sister, and then me. Right off the bat, my dad knew that he is probably not going to stay here with us, because his work is in China. Few years later, after he finished his second bachelors degree, my brother decided that he didn’t want to stay here either because he wanted to go back to where his fiancee was. And just about two years ago, my dad and brother finally surrendered their green-cards so that they can go retroactive on their Chinese citizenship.
As first generation Chinese, we’ve assimilated pretty well. I particularly, assimilated better than my older sister. My mother on the other hand… well, ever since I went off to grad school, she had really blossomed into the wild one of the family. She travels between Guangdong and California leisurely, depending on which one of her grandchildren is in need of her service. When people ask if I have family here, I usually tell them it’s just my sister and I, and they have that “oh wow” look on their face. Growing up and not having a huge extended family here is pretty interesting, you learn to rely on your very tiny nucleus family for almost everything, and also some close friends.
Believe it or not, this is our first year ever, doing a BBQ and fireworks in our front yard for Fourth of July. We’ve always celebrated other American traditions, such as Thanksgiving and Halloween, but this is the first year, in me and my sister’s 17 years here that we actually went out got fireworks and BBQed.
Growing up in China, we’ve always been spoiled with fancy and ridiculous fireworks, so when we purchased a $100 worth of fireworks thinking that we might get something substantial, boy was I disappointing. Everything we got was made in China, shipped here, and heavily taxed and marked up — just little sparkling fountains in various size, shape, and length, and none of that big booms in the skies (I found out you have to ask either a Mexican to get those or have to go to Chinatown for it). Regadless of the overpriced dampered fireworks experience, it was definitely a fun one. My sister and her husband’s side of the family came over, brought along my favorite niece in the whole wide world (I only have one niece), and the evening was all about celebrating America’s independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.