My Family and My American Creed
A question that is raised nearly everyday, what does it mean to be an American? A question that can be interpreted in many different ways, but there just isn’t a set answer to it yet. Being a first generation citizen in America, birthed to a family that immigrated to America at an early age provides me with a few different interpretations to what it means to be an American. I view America as a gateway of opportunities, a haven for those to live in contentment, and I strongly believe that America could not be America without the American Dream. Its something every immigrant wanted, something that they needed to have, risking it all for this ideology. Picture yourself sacrificing everything meaningful to you. Your friends, your family, and even possessions just to acquire an opportunity for a better chance in life for you and your family. Something my family did back in 1998. A financially stable, young family of 3 living in Albania deciding to move to America for the future of their kids. Possibly one of the most difficult experiences for my family. Leaving their entire family, leaving great jobs, and even leaving the country that made them who they are.
My parents grew up in urban Albania near the capital of Tirana. Both living in Fier under communist control under the authority of Enver Hoxha. They both experienced many hardships through their lives. Experiencing famine, unacceptable healthcare, inferior housing, etc. My mother living in a family of 4 with a single mother due to my grandfather’s sudden death, was the beginning of my mother’s survival in this country. Something my mother emphasized through her life, how family is important and will lead you to success no matter what. Even through the darkest days, her family was still there for her, and she was there for them as well. Something she repeats everyday, in this harsh world we live in, family is all we have. Both growing up in this harsh environment. It’s like they developed a survival instinct, as they call it, “survival of the fittest.” In no way were my parents economically stable, both below the typical Albanian at the time. Yet they still used everything they could to their advantage. They survived, they managed to make something of themselves. Education was their key to success. Another thing they emphasized through our young lives was the importance of education. Something not to take so lightly, in this one life we have, use education to your advantage. As my parents grew older and built their lives, starting the journey of their new life. Having their first kid in the heart of Albania, both with above-average jobs, most would think their life was set. As much my parents loved their homeland, they envisioned themselves living in America. The things they heard, the things that every foreigner could dream of. The American Dream. The freedom, the vast amounts of opportunities, the education. To my parents it was like Christmas for them. After time of research and thoughts, they decided to make the move to America. To this day I still hear my parents say how grateful they could make the move to America.
Growing up in America with the cultural differences of my Albanian family and the typical culture in America had helped me grow as a person. Everyday the question was raised to me, what does it mean to be an American? Growing up I saw America as the place that had fast food, cool cars, and such. I truly didn’t see what it held in it’s depths. Every year as I grew, I saw the true importance of America. I was seeing what the actual American Dream was. I saw the American Dream through my parents, my peers, and everyone around me. I saw the freedom, the opportunities, and beauty in America. I saw what my American Creed was. As the days pass, I grow and learn more things everyday. Even with the ugliest things occurring in America, I can always look past the dark days and see the beauty that is, America.