A New World Not So Far Away

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A New World Not So Far Away Essay, Research Paper A New World Not So Far Away There are a lot of differences between the American and Chinese culture and values. Aspects such as philosophy, family values, time management, individuality, and religion are just some modern examples of the many differences between these two major industrial countries. However, one does not have to come from China to experience just how different and influential these cultures are. Throughout most of my childhood, I have been predominantly exposed to nothing but the Chinese culture. When my parents first immigrated to the United States from Canton, China, they rented a small apartment located right in the heart of Chinatown. Chinatown was my home, the place where I met all my friends, and the

place where I?d thought I?d never leave. I spoke only Cantonese, both to my friends and to my parents. I was pretty much secluded from the outside world because I never left Chinatown, for I felt this was my home. However, my parents felt differently. They wanted me to adapt the ?American? culture. By being more ?Americanized?, they felt that life would be better and that my sister and I would be more accepted. For that reason, my family and I made the big move to the Sunset District ten years ago. A big move my parents hoped would be a quick assimilation into the mainstream ? the ?American? culture- an assimilation that would ultimately change my values and my perceptions of my cultural background. When I moved from Chinatown to the Sunset District, I was completely amazed at

how different it was compared to Chinatown. There was considerably less traffic and noise on the streets than in Chinatown. I remember, I would have to push my way to get through streets when I was in Chinatown. Another difference that I noticed was that all the children on my block were Caucasian, whereas in Chinatown I associated with predominantly Asian.. My home in Chinatown was an old Victorian apartment with a ceiling that was at least 15 feet high. I used to string my toy plane from the ceiling and let it fly circles propelled by a mini-fan attached to the back of the plane. It was a thrill to see the plane fly enormous circles. An old radiator located in the living room heated the apartment every winter. On cold winter nights, our family would gather inside that one warm

room, since it was the only heated room, and just sit there with our blankets doing our daily chores and studies. My new home is quite modern, has central heating, and a much lower ceiling. This place was definitely different. How would I fit in? When I arrived at my new home, I was quickly plunged into the ?process of assimilation.? My parents enrolled me into St. Anne?s, a Catholic school that consisted mostly of Caucasian. Although I am a quick learner, it was especially hard for me because I had to learn English. I did whatever I could to blend in. I bought cafeteria food and ate American lunches like bologna sandwiches and peanut butter and jelly. Most of my friends were Caucasian, and I joined clubs associated with Caucasians. I tried hard to fit in so that I would be

accepted. I did whatever my friends did. I begged my parents to buy me trendy clothing and designer labels. The haircut I had was also very similar to that of my friends. I spoke like them and adopted their ways. I wanted no longer to be Asian. I hated that part of me. I just wanted to be ?American.? I hoped that by doing everything they did and following their ways, I would be accepted despite the fact that I wasn?t white. It was not until fifth grade that I began to grow more aware of my changed behavior. A new student, Bradford Chin, was enrolled into my class. Bradford reminded me of myself when I first came- conservative, traditional, and very studious. Not knowing any better, I felt somewhat embarrassed around him. I believed that his appearance would be a reminder to