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An Immigrant’s Perspective

 

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.


Knock, Knock, Knock.

I picked this up from “the creepiest thing that has ever happened in your house at night while you were alone” thread over on Reddit and boy is it a good one. Slightly not for the faint of heart.

This one is absolutely true.

Many years ago, I lived in a big, old, three-story house that had a room on the middle level that we converted into an office. I used to write financial reports late at night that were published early the next morning.

The office had a few computers and my toddler son had been playing on one of them for most of the evening, right up until I finished my work at around 9pm. By then he had fallen asleep, so I switched off his monitor, scooped him up and took him to bed, flicking off the light as I left.

For the next couple of hours I relaxed in another room watching TV with my wife. She went to bed around 11pm, and at midnight I decided to do the same. I realised I’d left a window open in the office, so I went in there to close it.

The house was silent, and the room was pitch black dark and ice cold when I walked in. Colder than it should have been for the time of the year, even with the window open. I paused for a moment in the center of the room to think about this, and then it happened.

Knock knock knock.

Something was tapping on the glass. But it wasn’t the random tappings of a bird or another kind of animal, it was completely uniform. It sounded human, but I was on the second floor, so how was that possible? It was so dark that I couldn’t make anything out against the black glass, but a few moments later it happened again.

Knock knock knock.

By now I was already feeling on edge. Then, something happened that chilled me to the core. Because out of the corner of the room, to my right, and from the darkness, a high-pitched, almost squeaky voice began to speak quite loudly.

I can see you.

I froze on the spot. My blood went cold. My bowels prepared for evacuation. My God, I thought, I never wrote that book. Any book.

It spoke again, but with greater emphasis on that all-important word.

I can seeee you.

I determined that I was almost certainly done, so I figured: what the hell. I turned slowly to my right and walked into the darkness, until I finally reached my son’s computer. Nothing there but an empty chair. But no talking now. Just silence. A horrible silence.

Carefully, I reached over and switched on the monitor. The screen brightened, and there it was: something red, and horrible. Once again it tapped on the glass.

It was Elmo from my kid’s Sesame Street game.


Powerful Lesson Learned

I just read this comment on a thread on Reddit and it does deliver a power lesson albeit in a rather disturbing way. Take a quick look and read the following quoted section and let me know what you think.

Junior high was OK for me. As a good student, yearbook staff member, and band nerd, I was well liked by the faculty and minimally harassed by fellow students. Skip to social studies with Mr. R. He started class one day by explaining to us that he had gone over test scores, homework, etc. and determined why our class average was so low. Quietly and determinedly, he announced that I and another boy were to blame… for everything. Then he calmly explained to the class why we were so stupid. I was so shocked. I remember staring down at my desk and crying silently while he proceeded to humiliate me and the other boy in front of the entire class. Then he told me to pick up my desk and move it to the back of the room, facing the wall. He barked at me again to move it when I squeaked out, “seriously?” So the other boy and I silently moved our desks to the back. The harassment continued. The other boy was crying, and I think I was near passing out from embarrassment and confusion – I had aced our last test. The class was incredibly quiet. My friends gave me pity looks or avoided eye contact, and one girl actually started to laugh out loud at me. We sat like that for half the class. Then Mr. R stopped his lecture and asked why nobody had stood up for us. When he got no reply, he said, “Well, this is what Hitler essentially did to the Jews. And none of you said anything to stop me from humiliating your classmates. Interesting.” My student/teacher relationship with Mr. R never fully recovered, even after he apologized.

It can be argued that the two isolated students should have known beforehand but I think it definitely delivered a more powerful because neither the two students or the rest of the class was aware of what was going on. However, depending on the students you should, and you leave that judgment with the teacher, it can certainly have unintended consequences from an otherwise very excellent example.

Source: Reddit


Reddit Runs International Secret Santa 2

It’s no surprise the economy is shrinking and so is the number of presents under most people’s trees but thanks to one Web site, nearly 3,000 people will have one special surprise from someone they’ve never met before. The members of Reddit.com, a Web site where users share links to breaking news stories, photos and more, have gathered together in what they believe is the biggest secret Santas ever and I participated in the event along with a roommate of mine, both of us who have been members of the site for a couple of years now.

The idea started simply enough, with one member “kickme444” asking if anyone was interested in a gift exchange and, like most social media, the idea exploded in just days. I am really excited to see the idea take off and see some of the press coverage it has received over the past week or so including the ABC article and CBC clip I have attached at the bottom of the post.

Kickme444 and members of the site designed a site, wrote programming to match up givers to receivers and come December packages will arrive from around the country and possibly around the world. Unofficially 3,500 participants are from the United States, but the rest of the 1,000 members hail from 53 other countries varying from Canada to Australia to Japan and beyond.

The current Guinness Book record holder for the largest secret Santa is more than 1,500 people, held by the staff at UK’s pharmacy chain store Boots. This exchange is set to double the number and smash the record.

This Secret Santa is unique in its relative anonymity. When signing up, Redditors could volunteer information about themselves and participants can look at their recipient’s past comments to get an idea of their interests and personality.

Suggested value of gift and shipping is around $15 but so far the average gift has cost about $27 with another $10 spent on shipping. The organizers have stated, “Handmade awesomeness is suggested, thoughtfulness is required!” Some are opting for homemade gifts – original art, photos, mix CDs, pepper seeds or items unique to their area. Discussion of ideas and requests have been flying on the site for the past few weeks.

Initially I did not know what to get as a present for my Secret Santee as he had very limited participation on the community site but a submitted form allowed everyone to enter some items they are interested and it listed a couple of television shows they were interested in and they wanted a poster from those shows. That made my

Gifts were scheduled be shipped out by Dec. 10 and assuming plenty of redditors are procrastinators, a lot of gifts including mine were shipped out on the last date. Upon receiving the gift, community members have begun posting photos of their present on a thread for Reddit Gifts for the rest to see.

Another noteworthy piece from an ABC affiliate out in Seattle titled “Web Site Runs Elaborate Secret Santa Gift Exchange“.


Kurt Vonnegut on Americans 1

I saw this on reddit earlier this morning and it seemed like a pretty good excerpt to share: Kurt Vonnegut on America and Americans. Excerpt from Slaughterhouse-Five. Also if you haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet and were contemplating, you should definitely read this book. I read this way back in high school off a recommendation of a friend and it was truly one of the greatest books I have ever read. Anyways, here are the two excerpts from his texts:

“America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. To quote the American humorist Kin Hubbard, ‘It ain’t no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be.’ It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and thereforre more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking etstablishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: ‘If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?’ There will also be an American frag no larger than a child’s hand – glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register.”

“Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue,… . Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for an American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say, Napoleonic times. Many novelties have come from America. The most startling of these, a thing without precedent, is a mass of undignified poor. They do not love one another because they do not love themselves.”