11 Nov America, Here We Come!
Yeah! AMERICA, HERE WE COME!!! And she was more than ready for us.
In November of 1979, we flew into Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport from Kuala Lumpur. It was a long, seventeen hour, flight. During that flight, I dreamed of landing in America, a land of freedom and opportunity.
When we first set foot on American soil, I took in a full breath of air ….and slowly …exhaled with a deep sense of relief….
Little did we know, that we were about to embark on another journey… a long, rough and tough road was waiting for us.
It was very difficult for us, being new comers to America. We didn’t speak any English and did not know anything about the American culture….
When I began to learn simple English, I would look at our young children, wondering how I could possibly guide and protect them in this new and crazy environment. It was terrifying. However, my determination has always kept me looking, searching to find the way.
At first, I took ESL classes (English as a Second Language) and, after six long years of education I finally obtained my two year… Associate’s Degree from Illinois Valley Community College.
Education plays such a major role in breaking down the walls of isolation for immigrants and it certainly did that for me. Education was a major key to opening the door to opportunities and promise we found in this country. Education opened my mind and my eyes, and taught me how to communicate effectively.
However, The Associate’s degree just whetted my appetite…Now, I wanted more, I needed more…I decided to go for a business degree at Illinois State University.
It took me 10 years from when I started the ESL class until I was granted my bachelor’s degree. I often poke fun at myself when I declare that I actually got my PhD at the University of Life.
My journey was long, rough and tough and at times I felt like I was hanging on to the edge of the cliff by the tips of my fingernails. Giving up would have been easy but that was never an option for me. I never quit the fight.
On that adventure, on many occasions, I found myself harnessing and riding the waves and sometimes …I harnessing my faith, when my sail goes against winds and agitated by high waves. Through various wind tunnels and turbulent of life, no matter how dark the night is, I never give up because I know for sure that “the sun also rises.”