Chinatown residents share personal stories
未知 | 2013-08-05 15:46

Chinatown residents gathered to share their experiences of coming to America on April 13, in the Oak Terrace reading room.
The Conversation Club is a community group formed by Harvard University student Lun Tian Yew and two high school students Sukey Lu and Yating Lu, who organized the event. The purpose of the meeting was to increase cross-cultural and intergenerational communication in the community. Nearly 20 residents whose first language was either Chinese or English attended.
Chinatown women share during the Conversation Club meeting April 13
“It’s well planned and successful. We enjoyed the evening, hearing each other’s stories with entertainment and food,” said a woman from Hong Kong.
The organizers engaged residents by telling their own stories of overcoming language barrier as immigrants and teaching the residents the basic method of telling a good story. Yew, the head of the Conversation Club, described the typical structure of a narrative was challenge, decision and outcome.
Qindi Chen shared her story of experiencing discomfort when she moved to America from Guangdong about 20 years ago. “I had difficulties adapting to American food. When I asked for chicken, they gave me a burger; when I asked for fish, they gave me a burger again,” she said. Because of language limitations, Chen was unable to order what she wanted at McDonald’s. “Things are so different here than in China. Chicken and fish are served on the plate in China but not put in the bread!”
The woman from Hong Kong won a $10 gift card from the organizers by telling her story that followed the designated structure. The most difficult problem she faced after she came to America was the different method in raising children.
“The cultural barrier made me have different views of raising children with Americans,” she said. I used to protest against the strict regulation by the Department of Social Services (now the Department of Children and Families), but I soon realized it’s better to obey and follow the system.”
Most residents said that despite their struggles in the beginning, America became their home over the years. “I don’t even want to go back to China. I feel comfortable living in America, with language lessons, better air quality and welfare from the government,” Chen said.
An English-speaking resident shared her thoughts at the end. “We should gather more often and talk to each other,” she said. “Chinatown has grown. I have seen the improvement, and we did help bring Chinatown back and grow bigger.”
The residents expressed their fondness for the event and wished to gather again. The Conversation Club will have its next workshop on a different topic at the same place on April 27.
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