James Hong

Immigrated from Xindian, Taiwan

Avery B.

James Hong

December 16, 2019

The reason my grandfather came to the United States isn’t like most.  He oversaw global business development for a business, his region was in the united states, so he’d spend lots of time in the US.  The first time he ever visited Disneyland was a life changing experience for him. As he stood in front of It’s a Small World, he was blown away by all the sounds and colors.  And in that moment, he decided that he must bring his family here right away. “America is the only place where creative imagination can be a profession.

Fast forward to the day of the meeting to see if they could get their green cards.  Him and his family had already been living here for a few years, but as illegal immigrants.  Nobody had spoken a word the whole car ride there.  

“I couldn’t help but think of all of the possible outcomes, good or bad, that would happen to me and my family after this day.” He said.

As they entered the building, there were people with all different types of emotion.  Holding hands, he took his family into the meeting room thinking, “We will always be a family.  He doesn’t remember much, mainly because he couldn’t speak English too well, but what he does remember is that the attorney did most of the talking.

Although, the one thing he remembered, that he will never forget ever in his entire life, was when he noticed the man folding up each person's individual file.  His heart started to race. The interviewer looks up at him and puts his hand out, “welcome to America.” Now that he understood. “Thank you, thank you so much,” he said shaking his hand with both of his hands firmly wrapped around the interviewer’s.  

As they walk out my grandmother said, “Show no expression.  There are some people who didn’t get this opportunity and we don’t want to make them feel even worse.”

When they get outside, my grandfather takes off his jacket to reveal his shirt dripping in sweat.  My daughter looks at me and says, “Dad, that was the first time I ever saw you smile.”  

He couldn’t wait to take his family to Disneyland.  This really is the happiest place on earth.