Looking back when I first went to summer camp, I realized I was being spoiled at home. I was always the one often needed other people’s help. My cabin members got really frustrated whenever I couldn’t do something by myself. I wished my parents had taught me how to take care of myself. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be as embarrassed.
Growing up Taiwan, most parents plan their children’s lives perfectly down to the minute. What tutoring are they going to take, what talent will they have, or even what their future career will be. Our decisions in life are made the moment we were born. Parents also tend to keep their kids home until they get married. Parents believe it’s their responsibility to take care of them, so children can focus on their studies and work. However, this turns the kids into a “Ma-Bao”, a child that is super dependent to their parents even after turning into an adult.
I was an exception. As an only child, I had the whole family’s attention. I didn’t have to do chores- not that I knew how to anyway. Everything was done perfectly for me already, and my parents did their best to fulfill all my wishes. The only thing I needed to do was to study, study, and study. However, there’s something different in my family compared to other Taiwanese families. It’s my family’s tradition to send the child somewhere far for college. For example, my mom and aunt went to Japan for college, and my dad went to the Military Academy. Though I was born in America, I spent most of my childhood in Taiwan until high school. So for me, I was somewhat destined to move to the States at some point in my life. However, rather than move out for college like my parents did, I came to America by myself when going into high school.
The transition from being a “Ma-Bao” to being extremely independent right away was quite a big jump. Even though I was living with a family friend, I still had to learn how to do the dishes, do my own laundry, and even wake myself up. The first few weeks were the most dreadful days of my life. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but I still came across a lot of challenges. Choosing my own class schedule for the first time was probably one of the toughest decisions I had to make in my life since my parents made all the decisions for me back in Taiwan. Since then, I needed to start making my own choices. Whether it was big or small, I knew I’d need to take any responsibility for the choices I made.
Taking care of myself was only half of the challenge. I also had to fit in the new society I was living in. I had visited America several times before moving, and my parents did their best to prepare me for the American lifestyle by sending me to several English tutors. They also let me travel around the world to give me an international perspective, yet starting a new life in a foreign country was still difficult. Converting measurement, finishing large food portions, and learning the slang people use are just a few challenges I had to go through when I first started my life here.
Fortunately, I adapted really quickly. Now I can take good care of myself, make daily decisions easily, and feel more accepted by the people around me. Even though the way my parents send me away and hope I’ll be able to be independent right away is like kicking a baby bird off the nest and hope it can fly, I’m still glad my parents let me come to the States. If they didn’t, I’ll probably turn into an extremely spoiled kid who can’t even wake myself up.