The top lesson I learned growing up was that I was an outsider.
I wasn’t like most of my American peers. I also didn’t feel like I fit in with my own family. I existed somewhere in between, suspended between two very different cultures. If I had a misunderstanding at school, the teachers would think that it was because of my upbringing. If my parents were unhappy with my behavior at home, they believed it was because I was “too American.”
Since I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere, I desperately tried to fit in everywhere by pleasing everybody around me. I would behave one way at school so that the teachers would praise me, and I would behave one way at home so that my parents would be happy. I practiced piano for two hours a day after finishing my homework and completing all the housework required of me while my parents were still at work.