I have always dreamt of a better life. Since the early childhood when my dad and I had been going to the city market to sell some fruit and to buy some rice for the money earned. I do not remember us eating meat, may some bones that contained thin skin. Meat was too expensive to afford. I was the only male child in the family so I had to work and bring some money into the family. My older sister was given to her husband’s family after she got married. We didn’t see her often. My mother didn’t love her much. Yet, my dad did a lot.
So, every time he saw me, it seemed that he wanted to see her instead. And he became mad. I often felt his powerful feasts on my neck. But he was my parent, he gave me a birth and I respected him… That was a sad-sad childhood. The thoughts of the past make me suffer much. Yet, it is those hardships that made me go on, to seek another better life, to seek this life overseas…. O, sweet America, sweet dream. I have always see it my dreams. I remember once waking up from the excitement that filled my soul and my heart when I saw the statue of Liberty. My dad was somehow educated a little.
So, when me and my sister lived with us, he used to tell us about the country of dream – the US. He wanted very much my sister to be educated. He told that education was a way up. That’s what I remembered for the rest of my life. And I wanted my life to go up. That’s why I decided to go to the US…. The girls in China were not in respect. My family was considered misfortuned, since there were two of us, girls, in the family. My mom told me that my dad used to beat her after my sister was born. He dreamt of a son. It was understandable, since girls had to go after they got married.
Thus, parents would have to be left by themselves, without any support. A boy in Chinese family meant a hope for a good old age. When the boy was born into a Chinese family, the latter was considered blessed. My family was considered misfortuned… Yet, later on my dad got to love my older sister a lot. He tried to make her strong as a boy, despite old Chinese traditions of femininity and obedience. Thus, you can imagine how much my dad waited for a son when my mom got pregnant for a second time. And gain…failure. He was really mad. There was no hope he could love me sooner or later.
That is how I became a real outcast in my family. My parents respected Confucian ideology a lot. Confucius professed that we, the children, had to respect and obey our parents. And we did. I do not remember any time I said something against my dad, even despite all that he made me do. I had to learn to earn money since my early childhood. I had to work as a boy. And I did… However, despite harsh strict regime of traditional Chinese family, my dad was an educated person. He never stopped staying that Chinese civilization has very old roots and we had to be proud of that. And we, certainly, were.
He told that it was Chinese who invented paper and many other useful things that the humanity used. His stories were exciting. And they were probably the only rare times when our family gathered together peacefully. Despite the fact that my dad was somewhat educated, we were a family of farmers. We grew rice and fruit and then sold them. We were never rich. We were like many other Chinese families. My dad always told that Chinese is the great nation. However, I couldn’t ever understand why such a great nation made girls, the ones who gave birth and contributed to the development of Chinese generation, suffer so much.
I still cannot forget how my sister used to hide from my parents in order not to show them her great pain – she couldn’t really walk for some time. But my mom convinced that Chinese girls had to have very-very small feet. That was a sign of femininity. “Otherwise”, she used to say,» you will never get married”. But we really didn’t think about our future at that time. The only thing I personally thought of was how to ease that horrible pain… But time passed and we grew. I have submitted with my fate that made me suffer both from my dad and from our old traditions. But I never complained.
I knew that Chinese were a great nation. That is why everything that had to be done, even if it made me feel pain, was actually for my sake. I am very thankful my dad that he brought me up being strict and not always tolerant. He taught me to achieve everything myself. He taught me that I had to fight for myself and I did. Now I remember that horrible pain from my past and I think I can survive everything. Now I can walk easily and this is the real happiness. Moreover, I am happy because I am now in the country of my dreams – in the US. I am happy because my daughter will not have to suffer as I did.
I am happy because millions of Chinese girls will be relieved from the humbleness and great pain that made them inferior to men, that made them die being alive. It is all over know. I still respect Confucius, but I am in another country now. I will learn the great wisdom of this ancient Chinese philosopher from the walls of American University. Oh, those Americans. They are so different. But that is so interesting to penetrate in the whole new culture that is so much not like yours. I was so surprised to know that here men and women are considered to be equal.
That is such a great feeling. Yes, I will study Confucius from here and I will perceive all he said from the new perspective. I have so much ahead. I have so much to learn. This will be an exciting time I will never forget. We didn’t have centralized schools for a long time in China. Education was domestic. My parents couldn’t afford that. I did lack communication. But it’s over now. My daughter will not suffer. She would be happier than I was. But, I swear, she will not forget our Chinese culture, she will still respect Confucius’ teachings….