My mother, Lucy Ho emigrated to the United Sates from Taiwan when she was 22 to pursue her master’s degree in piano performance from Western Michigan University. She grew up in a small town a little south of Taipei called Hsinchu, where her dad set up shop as one of the town’s physicians. From an early age my mom has expressed an interest in the arts, competing in local art competitions and learning how to play the piano.
My grandparents have always supported my mom’s love for the arts, paying for piano lessons and even buying her a brand new grand piano to practice on. Throughout her childhood, my mom never experienced pressure from her parents to become a doctor or a lawyer. She extended this kind of parenting onto me, always supporting my ambitions and never pushing me to study something I had no interest in. This was very unusual in the Asian culture; Asian parents are typically very strict with their children and often times determine their children’s’ careers for them.
It was 1986, July. I was trying to fly from Taiwan to Michigan for my master degree in piano performance. When I arrived to Seattle airport, I had to claim my luggage, go to immigration, check in my luggage again, and take the shuttle to the next terminal. That was the first time I needed to take the shuttle to terminal. That was horrible, I couldn’t find my shuttle and couldn’t know which stop to get off. I still remember I’m running in the airport and almost couldn’t catch the next airplane. Finally when I get to the airplane and flew to Chicago, it was night time. It was impossible to get to the next small airplane to Michigan. I need to refind a new one because the schedule already delay. I already got the last airplane to Michigan and I had the chance to take the view and enjoy the night view in Chicago. It was beautiful. Finally, I got to the airport in Michigan. It was almost 11 pm. I don’t know who was going to pick me up and my luggage is not there yet. I am the only one who is there without my luggage. So that was my first day in America, it was much more than stressful. I went to four different airports, four different airplanes, and didn’t know where I’m going. I don’t remember how long that it is but it was an unforgettable experience.