I have been thinking a lot about how people in my home country sacrifice everything just to be able to live in the United States. Many Westerners whom my parents have met, they told me, love Asian cultures because of how people embrace each other, of how being collective is a norm, while in their home countries – the United States – children fly away from their birth places as soon as they are legally considered adults.
For many generations in my family, people dream American dreams. But I would tell my parents, why would they want to come here when that means they will lose everything – their houses, wealthiness, as well as their connections with relatives and friends. That, I admit, is my selfishness.
The more I encounter different cultures, the more I understand what are the true values. I’d love to wear my country’s traditional clothes – ao dai – just once more, despite the fact that I hated it for having to put it on every Monday morning back in high school. I’d love to eat all of my mom’s food, even though her cooking is not the best in the world to me. I’d love to speak my own language whenever I can, and to spend my one-hour salary to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant.
However, the truth is I don’t speak Vietnamese whenever I can. As an foreigner in the United States, many times I try to blend in, to work, to study, as though I am an American, just to close the gap between cultures.
I feel sad about how much Vietnamese have endure to live a life of someone else. The norms at other countries are adapted into our norms, while ours have be ignored just purely because of our identity.
My generation exposes to better chances to learn and to grow in-depth. We embrace cultures, and therefore we understand our own values. We will all replace our parents, grand-parents, and many generations before that. We will eventually realize how important it is to live the way we are supposed to.
But our ancestors will not. They have been and are waiting for what we refuse to offer them. They have been waiting to bury our history.