A lot of people say that coming to the US was the best decision they ever made. I would agree to that. Although it wasn’t exactly my decision, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Many people would define a first generation American to be someone who is the first person in their family to be born in the United States. I consider a first generation American a person who gained their US citizenship shortly after coming to the US.
I was born in Dubai, a country located near Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. Dubai is one of the 7 countries which make up the United Arab Emirates. Dubai has recently gained popularity over the past several years, mostly being known for its uprising economy, architecture, and wealth.
To explain how I was brought to the US, we have to go back in time to 1979 in Tehran, Iran, which where I am originally from. In the late ‘70s there was a revolution in Iran which brought many young Persians to believe that the best thing for their future was to flee their country; this included both of my parents before they ever met.
My mother decided to go to London to study abroad and learn English. My father did the same thing, going to school for civil engineering. They met in 1980. Both were from the same country and had similar reasons for escaping to London. They got married a few months later in Iran and decided that it wasn’t where they wanted to start a family. They went back to London, completed their studies and decided to move to Dubai. Since my dad was a civil engineer, he figured Dubai was the perfect place to settle down. Dubai was in the process of being rebuilt from the ground up and he could contribute. After my parents lived in Dubai for nearly 10 years, I was finally born in 1988.
Dubai was the new place to be and everyone wanted to live there. It caused a lot of controversy with its beauty and all the wealthy people migrated there. Eventually Kuwait was planning on attacking Dubai for their oil. This news was the worst thing that could have happened. My family immediately moved from the UAE to the USA , settling down in Orange County, California. We lived there for two years, from 1990-92. We later came to Pennsylvania.
Growing up in the U.S. was normal to me. I traveled the world with my parents when I was younger and didn’t realize the difference in culture until I was older. I always spoke multiple languages and celebrated a wide range of holidays, from Persian New Years to Christmas. I was definitely an Americanized child growing up 100 percent Persian, yet living in the US.
When we think of being international, we think of diversity. We think of culture, language, tradition, values, etc. I do believe that a person can easily forget where they come from if they don’t carry on those traditions that they were taught at an early age. By learning your native language, visiting the country which you originate from and celebrating those holidays which are in your blood, you can learn more about yourself and go down a deeper path and learn about what makes you who you are.
I firmly believe that people now a days who are living in the US don’t know anything about themselves. It’s a shame that so many people don’t know where they come from, and what reasons lie behind why and how they ended up here. The reasons for this is because most people who are living in the US have grandparents, great grandparents, and so on who lived here for as long as they could remember. But we didn’t all just magically appear here. There is a reason why each and every one of us is here today.
Diversity is what makes up America. It’s what lies beneath each of our souls. Diversity is an essence of us all and when it comes down to it, we are all international. Some of us just haven’t figured out how yet.