Thank You America

Thank you America for giving me
my second life in the US
starting on this day 14 years ago.
It has been quite a journey filled with cultural shock,
a language barrier,
a lot of studying, and adaptation.

I remembered those early days of
going to grad school in Texas
I was, and still am,
usually mistaken as Chinese
“All Asians look the same anyway”
was a casual racist statement I heard of

Our names and their beautiful meanings
were long gone
Tề My became Temy
Anh Thư turned into Ann
Nhật Triều became Trieu or Troy

We lost our identity and fell victims
to homogeneity ironically
in a country worshiping individualism
which has at times manifested itself in narcissism
which has evolved into the selfie
or ‘you do you’ culture nowadays.

Still compared to where I came from
this country is a luxurious upgrade
with full implementation of Freedom
something I could feel right after
stepping out of the airplane

to speak for yourself without any suppression
to pursue an education, a career, entrepreneurship,…
to blog and fight for democracy
without being put in jail

as long as you have passion and will

And for that I thank you, America.

California Aug 9, 2015.