What Makes me me

Everyday, I think about how much my parents have sacrificed and I instantly feel a warm rush of gratitude. Both of my parents immigrated to this country for nothing more than a hopeful future, what some would refer to as the American Dream. They fled from their home country Iraq, a country dominated by war and persecution, a country in which they saw no future, no opportunities. They managed to make their way into a completely foreign country, with no knowledge of the language, no real job experiences, and a million hopes for a brighter future.

As I have grown older, I have become more grateful for my ethnicity and background. I am proud to be a first generation Chaldean American. It is something in which I take pride in. I’d like to think it is a huge part of who I am, and who I will later become. I am apart of a closely integrated community so diverse and rich in culture. Although my parents have immigrated from their home country, they make this country feel like their home. They have carried their values and traditions with them, which heavily influences the way in which I see the world.

Growing up in a household of immigrant parents, and being surrounded by immigrant family members has showed me the value of hard work. The American dream is not something that is just given to you, it is the result of determination, it is earned. This country provides us with the tools we need to be able to succeed, but you have to be willing to work for it. My family came to this country with nothing. They quickly found jobs and were able to build lives for themselves. Immigrating here with the ethic of wanting to work for it, allowed them to thrive in whatever it was they chose to do. It allowed them to ensure their future generations were given the opportunities that were not available to them. It allowed them to live their idea of the American Dream.

My parents, along with the majority of the rest of my family never had the opportunity to pursue a higher education. They stepped straight into the working industry to make certain that their families always had food on the table, and a roof over their heads. From a very young age, my parents have raised my siblings and I with a strong emphasis on the importance of education. They value our education, and have always been strict when it comes to school. Although sometimes I was overwhelmed with their emphasis on school, I have realized that they want nothing more than to see their children succeed, and take advantage of the opportunities that were not at reach for them. I want nothing more in life than to have my parents watch me succeed. To watch me take advantage of the opportunities that are at my reach. I want nothing more than to see a smile on their faces, to see their eyes sparkle as I tackle the real world. I want nothing more than to be able to give back for everything they have sacrificed.

I am proud to be a Chaldean American, it has shaped me into the very person I am at this moment. It has given me a sense of purpose, it gives me perspective. It is truly remarkable to see immigrants leaving what they are familiar with and building lives for themselves. I am able to see what a sense of hope and perseverance is able to drive. I look at my values, and life I have now, and remind myself that I wouldn’t have any of it if it wasn’t for my family. So, thank you Mom and Dad, for giving me a sense of myself, for giving me a strong work ethic, for pushing the importance of education, for the opportunities, and most of all thank you for believing in yourselves and all the possibilities that were awaiting you.  

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