8:00 AM: Skye wakes up
8:00:10 AM: Skye decides to sleep for fifteen more minutes because of the comfort of her bed
8:37 AM: Skye wakes and panics
8:41 AM: Skye decides to get out of bed
9:11 AM: Skye finishes getting dressed and brushing her teeth
9:13 AM: Skye enters Tom and Debby’s to find Tom eating breakfast at the table
9:15 AM: Granola and milk
9:24 AM: Skye goes to retrieve dish soap from storage room
9:29 AM: Skye calls her Mom in Pennsylvania
9:35 AM: “I love you. I’ll see you soon.”
You’re probably wondering why I took you through a short segment of my morning. It seems completely uninteresting and mundane. If you read in between the lines, you’ll learn more things about my life than at first glance. I have a comfortable bed to sleep in. I have clothes, and running water. I have food to eat. I have access to a telephone. I have a mom who loves me more than I can hope to understand. I know some of you are asking, “So do I. What’s the big deal? “ The big deal is that most of the world doesn’t have half the things I have. If you’re reading this on your computer right now, then I hope you come to appreciate it all, including the technology you’re using right now.
Last night was an ordinary movie night at Tom and Debby’s. We watched a movie called A Better Life. Carlos Galindo, the father of a teenage son named Luis, works incessantly to move out of East LA, hoping to get his son into a good school and away from gangs. He must avoid deportation and keep his son from falling into trouble. There are depictions of immense poverty and migrant workers begging for work on the street. They live crowded in one flat. Illegal immigrants do whatever they can to earn money for themselves and their families. Many face deportation after being caught by the authorities. Ultimately, all they wanted was an opportunity to live better, as was with Carlos Galindo. Near the end of the movie, Luis visits his father in a detention center. Carlos pours his heart out, apologizing for failing his son, admitting that he loves him enough to give up his entire life. Carlos is sorry that he couldn’t give Luis any better. I cried.
Is it a little close to home for me? Probably. I really respect single parents. They have to be two different people, a mother and a father. More than that, I really respect single parents who are immigrants. My Mom’s effort to give me a great childhood as a single parent becomes clearer and clearer as the years go by. My Mom strived to keep both of us out of poverty for our future even before we came to the United States. I was too young to understand, but now I am learning of the struggles she overcame for me so my life would be changed for the better. For that reason, I grew up privileged.
I always believed that I had less than I deserved and other people suffered so much less. I didn’t have the fancy new cellphone or the $300 bag. In reality, I have so much more. I have basic necessities, and conveniences that are in fact unnecessary for survival. However, I have my life. A few days ago, Debby said, “All those superficial, material things could never compare to who you are and what you’ve experienced as an immigrant from South Korea. Your perspective of life is something that can’t be replaced by plastic things.” She articulated something so apparent to her, but not me. Hearing this gave me the best sleep I have had in a while. I woke up this morning feeling chipper, but most of all awake. I don’t mean physically feeling conscious, but really feeling awake.
How about we all take a moment to imagine what it would feel like not to have running water or to have a hungry stomach before going to bed?