America: Land of Reality

Tsz Sum Chau, Best in Class
Grade 12

Every year on the 19th of July, my family gathers around the dinner table and asks the same question:
“How would our lives be different if we were still living in Hong Kong?”

I don’t deny the possibility that my family would in some ways be better of living in the place where we were born. My mom would still be the head nurse at a hospital and my dad would be a policeman. My sisters and I would live under our maid’s care, not obligated to do any chores. Living in middle-class luxury, worries for the future would be hidden. Communication would not be a concern. Racial discrimination would be nonexistent. Hong Kong would be a place of comfort, not distress. Everything would be settled. Nothing could disturb this utopia.

In hopes of having a better education opportunity, we moved to America. Sitting in a third grade classroom after arriving here, I failed to distinguish the difference between a bat, a wooden stick used in baseball, and a bat, a mammal. Living in a world in which English was the dominant way of communication, I had to relearn everything from the alphabet to the dreadful homonyms. Chores were no longer done for the sake of fun; they were my obligation to support the family. Not having the same job occupations as before, I started to notice how hard my parents needed to work in order to provide our basic necessities. I realized this is reality.

Reality wakes me up from the spoiled world that I was in. Nothing is inevitable. Contentment is not for certain, but rather, something to go after and earn. Reality causes me to step out of my comfort zone and start over again. It means accepting the changes and adapting to them. Reality pushes me to grow and mature.

If I still lived in Hong Kong, I would never have realized the hardships that are involved in life. I would continue to live while solely depending on my parents’ toil. I would blindly come to the assumption that contentment would be inevitable. I would never dream of something outside of my utopia.
Hong Kong is no longer my utopia, but rather, a place that I can reflect upon. It signifies my growth and maturity. It serves as a reminder of hardships that I had over the course of living in America. It encourages me to keep striving for something beyond what I already have.
After nine years of living in reality, I have come to acknowledge and appreciate the choice my parents made of residing in America. The decision my parents made nine years ago allows me to recognize the immensity of life.

America is the land of reality. It enables me to dream something greater; something beyond comfort.