Hi There Lovlies and Gents!
For today’s post I wanted to bring back the lovely @IAMKERENO with another of her latest beauty, sit-down-with-me, vlogs. Why you ask? Because she is talented with her makeup and skincare tricks and also brought up what it was like growing up bilingual and immigrating to a new country at the same time. But before I go any further make sure to check out her video down below!
In this latest video she prepares to get ready for her passport photo and also takes you down memory lane about her upbringings. She was born in Hong Kong and she and her family emigrated to the US when she was six-years-old and knew not one bit of english. She talks about how she went into high school, with taking online school, which is a common Asian American thing to do. ABC’S Fresh Off the Boat has an episode of this too, if you’d like to learn more. But when I heard this, I almost froze because I couldn’t believe how similar her immigration adolescence felt so close to mine.
Close family and friends who know me know that my family of 7 emigrated to the US when I was six and a half and we too did not know any English. My father was the only one who had high school English classes under his belt and my mom was proficient in learning English. We first lived in Atlanta Georgia to acclimate after leaving our country of Angola, Africa.
I don’t remember much about those 3 years in Georgia but I remember vividly having to move to Nebraska. Ewing , Nebraska to be precise. Up until that point, my siblings and I had to prepare with the little English we knew. We spoke Portuguese in the household and out in public but as the pressure of our first day of school loomed closer, I could tell the tenseness in the household changed.
My parents had to make the difficult choice to cut our native tongue in the house and strictly speak English. When that happened, I rebelled as anyone could imagine. I didn’t like the feeling of not knowing what classmates were saying most of the time and didn’t like how I had to still force this unfamiliar language into everything I did at home.
My biggest fear was not being able to speak Portuguese again and lose my childhood memories with identity I knew to be familiar with my family back home. I knew my parents didn’t want me or my siblings to feel the turbulence of all the change happening but after awhile, I still felt a menacing feeling that an unfamiliar presence was lurking around. So my siblings and I knew to stay together always and not go too far away from the church doors or our house.
Things started turning around and my school realized I wasn’t slow, I just understood the teachers body language first before interpreting it back to them in class. Then I found I was good at acting in front of people because I found my footing. Yet the struggle to find that comfortable recollection with God still grew as I tried to remember the things I used to like before all the moving out of a familiar place had to happen.
My instincts to question my surrounds subsided enough for me to learn what a safe space felt like and I even started making friends easier. I picked up reading and my extracurricular activities in school shined my talent of public speaking.
Today, I believe my past in my immigration story is what helps me to better understand conflict resolution and utilize my talents of being a interpreter for people in their social settings. In my current employment, I get to translate to people who their insurance works and how they got their bill when most people just know the common $50 copay for an annual visit yet don’t know how to talk to their insurance company about the type of package they have.
Everyone has medical bills so I have all types of patients call our office. Some don’t have English as their first language, others are elderly and most are around my age group of mid 20’s and are taking control of their healthcare responsibilities. And I guide them through step by step on what happened on their last visit and they have to take a leap of faith in trusting that what I’m saying is right and that they don’t need to feel insecure about a balance on their statement because its their money and they have the right to question it first before paying.
So the next time you call the billing department from a doctor’s visit you had and want to know more about your bill, remember that your insurance plays a lot more control of your bill than the billing office and to be nice to the person who has to explain this to you ;).