Real Experience

December 15, 2008
By Jack Han, Hoffman Estates, IL

America is the greatest country on earth? Don’t make me laugh. This place isn’t so great. Although, I got to admit, in all my 78 years of living I had never seen any place like the United States of America. Everyone here dresses funny and is obese. To this day I still don’t understand why there are so many cars. What is wrong with a bike? Or walking, I mean they could use the exercise. My wife and I managed to get vistas and green cards so we could visit my daughter’s family in America. I was really excited to see my grandson; I haven’t seen him in four years. I pictured too see this short chunky boy who was full of energy, but instead saw this older teenager with long hair. He almost looked like a girl. Appearances didn’t matter I was just overjoyed to see my family.
Everything seemed fine at first, we all got along and everyone was happy. Soon however, I got the feeling that my grandson might be embarrassed by me. The family went to a Chinese restaurant once and for desert we got these cookies. Someone told me that it was called a fortune cookie. Now I’m not one to criticize, but that sounded very strange for a cookie. I figured I would use my chopsticks to open and eat this cookie but I got the strangest look from my grandson. I thought cookies were supposed to taste good not be a choking hazard. I ended up almost dying from eating that cookie. Whose idea is it to put a piece of paper in a cookie? I feel that my grandson has become Americanized. He doesn’t speak any Chinese, and he doesn’t eat traditional Chinese food. He said he liked orange chicken and shrimp fried rice. I had no idea what orange chicken. They call it Chinese food but I had never seen it in my life. I think it’s a crime to name food after a nationality and have it be a lie.
Many times I have tried to speak to him on many occasions but I get in replies are nods and grunts. I wish he could understand that he needs to be more influenced in the Chinese culture. Sometimes I almost feel that he doesn’t want us to be there. One day I decided to walk around the neighborhood. I enjoyed walking around the mountains in my town. Water towers and supermarkets replaced the views of mountains and villages markets. Since Hoffman Estates was so much different then China I wandered around not realizing that it was getting late and that I had walked out of Hoffman. I began to worry that I was lost when I see my grandson driving past me in his car. He was driving home with some of his friends. At first I think he was pretending not to see me but then picked me up. I started to tell my story, and I heard laughter from his friends. I didn’t understand why and got confused. Then for the first time I saw my grandson defending me. He said a bunch of words that was gibberish to me. A lot of the words started with F and ended wit a K sound though. At that moment I guess, I realized that in his teenage way he did care about me.

I expected to spend a lot of time as a family but that never was the case. My daughter and her husband are always at work and my grandson is either outside or in the basement. When he’s down in the basement he is always on the computer. Back in my days all I needed was my imagination to keep me busy. Kids these days are so spoiled. He’s always on this thing called face book or playing this video came called WoW. Sometimes I just have to use force to get the whole family together. I figured television was an easy solution, But I guess my grandson didn’t share my interest in watching Animal Planet. He tried to introduce me to ESPN but I Never understood the concept of American football. I also thought baseball was very boring. It felt like people standing for two hours while a guy threw a ball. The only thing we could ever settle on was watching the Olympics. I felt a lot of pride for my country. To being the host of the Olympics is such an accomplishment. I like the idea that we were ahead in gold medals. As always we dominated in diving and gymnastics. The one thing I didn’t like was all the attention Michael Phelps got. I felt that everything should be focused on China. The times that we managed to be a family were good times. I think my grandson got a bit looser and talked more.

As the long monotonous days of staying in the United States are coming to an end, I will miss my family. Even though our worlds are completely different I do hope that my grandson will accept his heritage and be proud of it. I am looking forward to China but I am less enthusiastic about the twelve hour-long plane ride.

Similar Articles


This article has 1 comment.

sneesester said...
on Nov. 1 2009 at 8:55 pm
It's always good to hear someone else's point of view and I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I hope that you found some things you culd appreciate about America. Every nations has their setbacks. I like that you tried watching baseball abd football even though you didn't like it. Please don't judge America on one experience, because it's my home.

Parkland Book