Thursday, October 18, 2012

We cant only live for ourselves.

Isolation-- defined as the state of being alone. Isolation rarely correlates with your relationship with your family. However, Linda felt the isolation from the hearts of her parents. She was facing the isolation most children of immigrant parents go through when balancing their two cultures. Her cultures included her parent's Cambodia roots and the American culture. Her parents were escaping the Cambodia communist leader, Khmer Rouge, pledge to return the country to a Communist Peasant farm society. He would kill anyone that he believed to be to "west". As a result, the country's most educated men and women fled to the United States. Linda's parents felt that holding on to their culture was the best way to hold on to their family's heritage. They lost everything: their home, their loved ones and the most important part of their culture- respect. Her parents entered a society that doesn't respect the working class. Linda speculated that her parent constantly humiliation about working as janitors furthered their desire to instill traditional values in their children.
Nevertheless, Linda faced a constant coalition of cultures.  The boiling point happened when she started dating someone at end of her senior year. Her parents felt that it was inappropriate for a Cambodia girl to date an American boy. The verbal abuse was unleashed! She was ridiculed by her parents, cousin and extended family about her lack of Cambodia pride. Her parents couldn't deal with the possibility of non-Cambodia guy marring their daughter; especially, when he would never be able to understand their traditions. In retaliation, her parents never sent in her college applications. They believed that sending their daughter would further loosen their grasp on her.
Linda was forced into the community college system. Unfortunately, her parents never gave her the money to go to school, a ride or their emotional support. Linda spent the summer before freshman year working 50 hours a week. Finally, by the end of the summer she saved enough money to pay for a beat up Toyota and tuition.  The moment her parents realized that they couldn't stop her from going to school they demanded she pay rent. They charged an 18 year old girl working a minimal wage job $750 plus food. Linda didn’t give up! She found a way around every challenge they through at her. Although it took Linda three years to transfer, she is only a semester away from entering Cal State Long Beach’s Nursing program. She taught me the love my parents had for me. They always found a way to make my dreams come true at the expense of their own. Those types of parents are rare to come by. I never understood why everyone said I was lucky to have my parents till I meet Linda. Furthermore, the challenges Linda faced made her the person she is today. She learned that her love of education can overcome anything.  

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