First Generation

October 8, 2008 at 11:22 am (Fun, Writing Exercises)

My father was always a very polite man. Moving to a new country in the middle of life affected him in ways he never fully overcame. He never let go of that feeling of foreignness, the feeling that he was perpetually a guest in someone else’s home. It made him polite. Unbearable so. It was as if every citizen he met was the one who decided to grant the green card, even if they just wanted to know if he would like plastic or paper bags.

Also because of his permanent status as a guest, my father was an incredibly shy man. This shyness prevented many possible bonding moments between him & I, purely because he refused to ask for information

“I don’t know how much the carnival is, boppy. It might be too expensive. We’d better get home to your mother”

“Let’s just ask! It looks like so much fun…”

It wasn’t just prices he refused to ask for, but everything. Directions, assistance, support. They all had to be attained through subtle and indirect means by myself and my mother. I’ve often wondered if this shyness extended all the way to his wife. I suspect it did–it extened to his son, after all.


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