"growing up in china, the only western movie i ever saw was james bond. of course, in all the movies people lived in villas with swimming pools and drove aston martins. my parents went to the U.S. on a work exchange program where china sent their best and brightest to learn all they can, hoping they return with the knowledge to better the country. my brother and i remained in china, living with our grandparents. after seeing the revolution from aboard and wanting a better life for us, they decided to remain and immigrate. at the time, they shared a small apartment with another couple, making ends meet and living off of instant noodles. the apartment complex had a public pool, which was common for the area. their first car was a beat up brown station wagon. my dad was very proud of his car and the life he made in the states.
when my brother and i heard that there was a pool and we had a car, we immediately thought they lived like james bond. of course, nothing could be further from the truth. when we saw his car upon our arrival, "that's your car? this is our apartment?" we asked. that day our dreams along with my dad's pride was crushed. what followed was much better. from day one, they instilled in us the value of hard work and determination, not unlike most first generation families. from that first day on, we expected nothing but worked for everything." -@markgongphoto