The Land of the Free

After a three week visit, my mother was off to Hong Kong last night at about 1:30 a.m.  It was a wonderful three weeks that we spent together; lots of laughter, great food and heartwarming conversations.  Saying goodbye to her was very tough for me.   

As I was sending her away I couldn’t help but notice that there were so many people at the airport from all over the world going back to visit their home countries.  They were from India, Mexico, Hong Kong, UK, China, France etc.  Most of them were US citizens as I could tell from their passports.  Yet, whenever they have a chance it seems that they would go back to see their families and friends in the other part of the world.  

As an immigrant I often ask myself…  What is keeping me here away from my family? How long should I stay here?  Why am I still here after all these years?   

I remember when my cousin was applying for a student visa  to come here. He got rejected three times despite his excellent grades and great background.  Why do people still want to come to America despite these miles of red tape?   

I can’t speak for all immigrants.  As for me… it is the freedom.  

Freedom to dream.  Freedom to think.  Freedom to act.  If you dream it, you can get it.  This luxury is not common in most countries but we can find it here. Being free to pursue your dream is everything.   

Millions of people emigrate to the US every year without knowing a word of English or having much money.  I was one of them 14 years ago.  We work hard.  We never complain.  All we want is the opportunity to serve.  All we want is to be free.   

Earl Nightingale once told this story: 

In New York City there was a Korean family who managed to buy a small convenience store in midtown Manhattan.  The first thing they did was to clean it.  It sparkled with cleanliness.  Then they stocked it with everything their customers would expect in a grocery store.  They were open early in the morning and stayed open until late at night.  They never failed to smile and greet their customers.  They were open seven days a week.  Slowly, they became wonderfully successful.  After years of operation, one day a customer came and found that they were closed.  On the door, there was a sign giving the reason why.  It read “We’ve gone to Yale University to see our son graduate.”

That is an American story.   

Despite the mountainous obstacles of not speaking any English and not knowing anyone, they worked hard and made their dream come true. 

What is your dream?  Are you living your dream?  Are you getting the most out of this land of the free?  

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5 Responses to “The Land of the Free”

  1. CA on 27 Jun 2007 at 7:02 am

    Touche. I am your northern neighbor now. As a youth, I had made up my mind to move to Canada. I do not remember the reason for that decision now - only that goal remained.

    Now that I am living my dream, I have other dreams what I want to live - BHAG, I call them. Big Hairy audacious goals. You can read more about it here:

    All the best to you.

  2. on 18 Aug 2007 at 8:24 pm

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  4. FitBuff - Total Mind and Body Fitness on 20 Aug 2007 at 8:42 am

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  5. Allan on 16 Sep 2007 at 10:20 am


    Frequently those of us that were raised here forget the benefits. We see changes that disturb us and wonder if it could be better somewhere else.

    There seems only one way to assurance; travel and compare our personal goals with the opportunities and restrictions that exist elsewhere. Perhaps we can then return satisfied.


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