Say it’s 2245 you are the first from your family to immigrate from the US to China. The American economy is crumbling, you are underemployed, and you want your children to actually get a good education and have career opportunities, so you move to the economic and cultural center of the world – China.
It’s likely that I might have to spend most if not all of my money to do this. So you pack everything you own, you get there and you are broke. What next? The first thing I would do upon arrival is find other Americans who have come before me. I hope that they can show me how they got settled and help me do the same. Maybe this means letting me, my wife, and our children sleep in their basement for 3 months, or teaching us how to shop in a Chinese supermarket with only English or letting us copy off of their immigration / tax / work forms because we don’t know what they hell they say. And certainly show us how to get them into school.
Next, I ask them what they do for a job and if they can help me get one too. I am a lawyer in the states, but I don’t give a shit what I do in China as long as I can get my kids into a good school and make sure that they can do whatever they want. So, I ask Frank (he changed his name to ? because no one over here understands these crazy English names). Anyway, I ask ? where he works. He tells me that he has a pizza shop called Cowboy Baseball Mountains (for some reason a combination of 7 “American” words have to be in all pizza shops). Anyway, he says I can work there while I learn Chinese (which is really difficult because I only work with other Americas), save up money, and am able to move out of his basement.
So I get to work. And I work my ass off. I don’t give a damn, I’ll work 25 hours a day if I have to. I am not about to move my family half way around the world and then let them down. Eventually, I am able to save up enough money to move into a new place. Luckily another American family I knew just moved up to a bigger house and knew we were looking for a starter. It was great, because I’d be screwed if I had to a look for a place in chinese on the market.
A couple of years go by and my kids are doing great in school. They speak Chinese better than they speak English now. Which is great, seeing as I still don’t speak a lick of it because I’ve been making, selling, and delivering pizzas this whole time with ? and some asshole named ? who just moved here from Texas. Luckily my kids help me translate anytime that something unexpected comes up.
A few more years go by and I have finally scraped together enough money so I can stop working for ? and I can finally start my own thing. You know what I am really good at? Making pizzas. I’ve made 10,000 pizzas over the last 10 years and I’ll be damned if I don’t make the best crust and the tangiest sauce this side of the Yangtze. Also, ? showed me how to run the business and told me he would help walk me through the start-up. This is going to be great. I can’t wait to open Cadillac Swamps and start working for myself. However, I have to spend most of my capital in starting this place up. So I ask my son and daughter (who are in high school now and are really embarrassed of their round, blue eyes, which breaks my heart because god they look just like their grandmother’s eyes) to help me until I can start up the restaurant. My wife works there too. I say works there to be nice, it’s more like we live there. But hey, we are together and making it work. If we all stick together we can really make this place a success.
A year or so later, I get a call from my college roommate. He tells me his brother Jason just got fired from his job and is through with the US and is determined to come to China. I tell him to have Jason give me a call. I can help him out. Hell, if he and his family need to crash in my basement for a few months that is cool with me. And don’t worry about a job. I’ve got him covered.
I know I haven’t posted on here in forever but that was a nice post on what it’s like to be a U.S. immigrant in China in the year 2245 so Americans can better understand what immigrants in their country experience. It was a post on reddit which you can read here.