My freshman roommate once asked me, as she blinked awake to the cloudy, Ithaca sky filtering through our dorm window, “Kelly, are you ever so stressed that you can feel it in your chest when you wake up?” I, having just woken up ten minutes ago, looked at her, looked at the fort of laundry between us that needed to be done and just nodded. Earlier this week, almost exactly three years since that conversation, I woke up to that feeling in my chest again. Immediately, I thought of her and our yellowish wood furniture and string lights that clearly violated safety hazards — what a stressful, chaotic, beautiful time. It occurs to me now that her musings always came at a particular time, and it happens to be that time of year again — early March or, more to the point, summer internship acceptance season. When someone brings up the words “summer internship,” I am immediately overwhelmed by a series of thoughts: I have not found one yet.
Undocumented Latino immigrants have more complex living arrangements and less stable family structures than documented immigrants, a new study conducted by professors in the College of Human Ecology found.
While food is often what brings us all together, it’s the company and people you surround yourself with that leads to extended trips, family yoga classes, snuggling up on the couch to watch a movie or sticking around for breakfast the day after.
My parents packed all their luggage in one just bag when they came to the United States from China. That’s a story my family loves to tell over and over again — the layers of coats my mother wore so she could bring over all her clothes, the prized kitchen knife my father snuck past security, the Scott McKenzie song playing on the airplane when they first landed. But I never quite thought about what my parents couldn’t pack — the scallion pancakes from the shack downstairs in their province, my mother’s pink bike she rode for three days on a road trip, the Napa cabbage blooming behind their old home. All their brothers, sisters, cousins. Those were all faint elements I knew existed, but never saw for myself.
Last summer, I fell victim to my longings for spontaneity and crashed a wedding. The hunt for viable festivities took guts and perseverance, but once I arrived at the venue’s floral walkway with my date for the evening, we knew our labor was worthwhile. Inside, it seemed to be the aftermath of a rowdy affair. The drunk aunts and uncles rocked and gyrated on the edge of the dance floor with blank stares that make you want to give them a pillow and a blanket. In the middle were the three of four most passionate couples, rubbing up against each other in slow motion as the DJ spun his late night playlist of R&B songs you don’t recognize until the chorus.
This year was the first year I headed home for Thanksgiving. Most of campus tends to clear out the week of Thanksgiving Break, and usually, I am just another immigrant millennial headed to one of their American friends’ homes to gobble down some turkey and stuffing (and chocolate covered strawberries if I get lucky). This year, however, the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services decided to come in clutch and schedule my citizenship test the week after Thanksgiving. I was headed home to the aggressively Southern state of Texas to take my citizenship test, and spend some quality time giving thanks with my parents in the process. The idea of family bonding is not lost on my family.