Mother's Columbia Diploma

In 1998, at the age of 3, I moved to New York with my mother and sister from China. The decision was made for my mom to continue her graduate study at Columbia Law School. As a woman who had to take care of two children as well as her education, she had to work incredibly hard to balance her life, meanwhile providing a better life for us.
However, I wasn’t appreciating her effort at all and even despised our Chinese roots. I was quickly adapted to the American life, where I spoke fluent English and ate pizza every day. My mother told me that whenever she picked me up from school, I would quickly cover up her mouth with my hands and tell her not to speak Chinese from this point on. Indeed, I was a very self-conscious child who was always embarrassed by my mom speaking Chinese or broken English in public. Growing up, I encountered identity crisis all the time, figuring out whether I’m fully Chinese or American. I wasn't happy because no matter how much I have assimilated, my roots were embedded in the other side of the world.
It was my mother who told me to appreciate my both sides and integrate this advantage into my daily life because I get the best of both. Her Columbia diploma has always inspired and reminded me of how intelligent and hardworking she is as well as the oppurtunities she provided for me. I truly missed her English with the thick Chinese accent because it’s raw and real. And I’m forever grateful to call her, my mom

Place(s): China
Year: 1998

– Lucy Yan

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child