From Tai Wan to the United States: An Immigrant's Journey

March 2, 2011
By princeofsparx DIAMOND, Manhattan, New York
princeofsparx DIAMOND, Manhattan, New York
57 articles 8 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
Those who reach for the stars should never forget the flowers that bloom at their feet.

Ya Feng Tsao at the age of 37 years old has a steady job as a teacher and is a hardworking mother of two. She may seem to be doing well, but moving to the United States wasn't all that easy for an immigrant originally from Tai Wan. Residing in New York, she came to the United States for one simple reason, and that was to marry the person that she loved.
"Marriage, I moved here because of marriage," said Tsao as she smiled.
After her move to the United States, Tsao realized that her new life was not going to be easy. Facing hardships such as learning English and embracing the American culture, she knew that her move was not complete without obstacles along the way.
"It was difficult in the beginning," said Ms. Tsao as she laughed, pairing her laughter with a smile.
Along with the disadvantages, there were some advantages that came along with Tsao’s move to the United States. Tsao realized that the United States was not as bad as it seemed because it provided a better environment, a better quality of life, and more income. She came to the conclusion that her move to the United States might not have been as bad as she once expected.
When Tsao first arrived to the United States, she knew that her new life was not going to be like the life she had in Tai Wan. In Taiwan, Tsao had friends and family; she knew the language and knew the culture. Here in the United States, Tsao had no one but her husband. She knew that she would have to work hard to start a new foundation.
"Challenges are languages, culture, and uh…finding a job that I like," said Tsao seriously.
What did Tsao expect when she first moved to the United States? She expected to be a hardworking mother, getting through challenges and tough times.
"I expected that life wouldn't be as easy as life I had in Taiwan," said Tsao.
Expecting to find a life full of labor and hard work, Tsao's predictions were soon proved wrong when she arrived to the United States.
"I found that it was not as difficult as I had thought," said Ms. Tsao.
Tsao also found a job when she became a middle school teacher at a bilingual school called Shuang Wen.
"It was… I was kind of luck, actually." said Tsao.
Tsao is now kept busy by two babies at home and hundreds of students at Shuang Wen. From a lonely start to a happy present, life has certainly changed for Tsao since her departure from Taiwan. These days, not only is she well liked by most of the teachers at her school, she is adored by the kids of Shuang Wen; being unanimously named as their favorite teacher each passing semester.
"She's a nice teacher when it comes down to it. She's fun and shows us that teachers are humans too,' said William, a current student in her class.
With all the obstacles that Tsao has had to endure, she has no doubts that she will stay in the United States for at least another good 20 to 30 years.
Tsao will always have an option of moving back to Taiwan in her mind, but her kids are her number one priority right now. She would like to go back, but she feels that the United States would be a better environment for her kids to grow up.
"In terms of moving back, now is not the right time because I think at this point, the most important thing is the learning and social environment for my children. America is better than Taiwan." said Tsao.
Though Tsao is far away from her family and is still adjusting to her new living style. She fully knows that moving to America was something that she had always wanted to pursue. Her parents orfamilyy did not pressure her because it was her decision to make.
"Uh… I wasn't forced to because I had a choice" said Tsao as she tried to remember her exact emotions during the time.
Does Tsao generally enjoy living in the United States?
"Generally, yes, I would say yes."
Tsao would still like to go back to her hometown as she misses her friends and family there. She feels that through leaving her homeland, a part of her will always be missing. Nonetheless, she carries no regrets about her move.
Tsao feels that living in the United States has changed her for the better, giving her more confidence and freedom. She feels that Taiwan was a burden to live in because of the pressure, but that pressure has been lifted off in America.
"Over here, people around you don't really care about what you do as long as you don't hurt them," said Tsao thoughtfully.
From adjusting to a new life to learning a new culture and language, Tsao certainly has not had it easy. But it's not hope that gives her strength, it's her family. Tsao's fire to help give her kid's a better life gets her through the obstacles faced by an immigrant moving to the United States. She works hard for what she wants and doesn't let the fact that she's an immigrant get in her way, because at the end of the day, "America is the mixing pot for all nationalities."

The author's comments:
Once my teacher in middle school, Ms. Tsao still inspires me that through the values of compassion, perseverance, and the bonds of family, can we prevail in achieving the American Dream.

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