my latest issue of Joie

My latest issue will focus on the topic of immigration.  Here is an excerpt from an interview I conducted with my father.

I was the first of the Lai’s to leave Taiwan to study overseas.  My Dad was so happy and so proud that he invited all my relatives, about forty people to bid me farewell.  He rented a bus and a driver to bring everyone to the airport.  He also prepared lunchboxes for everyone.  When we got to the airport one of my sisters presented me with a wreath of flowers to wear around my neck.

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I arrived in Los Angeles in August of 1968.  I remember getting into LAX and how huge it felt.  I realized that I was very awkward because I brought very bulky baggage including cooking ware and blankets and it was all very heavy.  I don’t recall where I spent the first night but it was definitely not a hotel.  I found a place to stay near the University of Southern California, probably near 13th Street. It was right near where the riots took place.  I found a place where the windows were broken and the landlord was very happy to have me because no one else wanted to live there. It was $27 a month for a room and I was the only person inhabiting this house.  After a few months I finally had a roommate, also a Taiwanese student. One of his hands was broken so he used his feet to wash his clothes.  I lived in this place until December.  During this time I needed money so I walked down a street full of wholesale stores and tried to find a job.  Most of the people rejected me but this Jewish man who owned a fabric store, actually the wife of the owner, gave me a job.  I moved the fabrics for about three months and then I took a greyhound to Mississippi to start the spring semester…

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