It’s a difficult thing, moving to a different country when you’ve just become a teenager. The impetus of the shock of having to live and assimilate into a new culture is not as cumbersome as when you’re an adolescent.
Moving to Singapore when I was seven years old was easy. It was relocating to the United States when I was 14 that proved to be a test. Not only did I have to alter the way I looked physically (no, nothing drastic such as liposuction or Botox), but I also had to make up for the many years of pop culture knowledge that I had apparently missed out on.
Here are confessions of an immigrant from yours truly.
I have never watched “Saved by the Bell”
While most of you spent your afternoons after school laughing yourselves away to this show, I, on the other side of the globe, spent mine watching Chinese soap operas with English subtitles, which, by the way, are really addicting.
References to Zack Morris during conversations would often leave me confused. No, I don’t remember that episode when Whoever A did this to Whoever B. I wouldn’t have even known about Zack at all had I not checked IMDB.
The use of vulgarity is accepted 8212; actually, required
Sentences cannot survive, at least in informal conversations anyway, without the insertion of expletives. For example, if I were to ask you how your day was going, you’d most likely say, “I’m all right, but frakking yesterday, dude? It was like crap. What a frakking rectum hole.” OK, you may not say it like that exactly, because I doubt that your curse words come from “Battlestar Galactica,” and no one goes around saying “rectum hole,” but you get the point. It seems most people here have trouble expressing themselves without swearing. What, you don’t agree? Frak you, female dog. (Just kidding. Please don’t hurt me).
Pennies, nickels, dimes: It don’t make no cents
Can’t we just stick to referring to them in their numeral form? It’s so much easier that way. I could have also been saved from the humiliation I felt in high school when a fellow classmate asked me if I had a nickel to spare. “What’s that again?” I asked, pretending to be playful. That didn’t work out, because he looked at me like I had been living on the other side of the world all this time (pun intended).
“It’s five cents,” he replied, coldly. Gee mister, you’re the one borrowing money, and here you are getting all up on my case just because I didn’t know what a nickel was? Talk about unfair. What if I plopped you in the middle of Singapore and asked you to direct me to the nearest hawker center that sells laksa? Would you like it if I looked at you like that?
Look, I understand that it might be difficult to accept that a majority of people around the world might not have been or will never be exposed to the same things as you. But life does go on outside the U.S. Calm down, and remember this when you’re sitting at the table this Thanksgiving Thursday.
8212;Kathryn Danganan is a communication senior.
8212;This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec.