Accomplishing Three Goals
Handy Chiu; Jakarta, Indonesia
Interviewed by Keith Chiu
“I only knew how to say certain words such as orange juice… you know, tea or coffee as I got on the plane.”
This plane would take me to America, the land of opportunities. I have never been there before and I didn’t know what to expect. Many questions like, “Will the cultures in America be different from the cultures in Indonesia?” or, “Is the food good over there?” ran through my head. I wasn’t sure of the emotions I was feeling, but I was sure of something. When I arrived in America, I needed to accomplish three goals: get a job, go to college, find a wife and start a family.
I stayed at my cousin’s house when I arrived from the twenty-two hour flight. My cousin showed me around and helped me adjust to my new environment. He introduced me to many people and helped me get my first job. I worked in Chinatown as a waiter in my friend’s restaurant. I forgot how much I was paid, but I remember the job helped me practice my English by taking the customers’ orders. Working as a waiter was a huge accomplishment for me because it helped me earn enough money to go to college.
The reason I went to America was to get a better education. My parents always had high expectations for me and to make my parents proud, I always met their expectations. They wanted me to become a very successful man and I thought that the only way I could be successful was to get a good education. I heard there were good schools in America, but you had to be very smart. I studied a lot and did the best I could in all my classes in Indonesia, so I think that was an advantage for me. I earned enough money from my job and I got into Lincoln University. I stayed there for a semester and transferred to San Francisco State. There, I graduated with a 4-year college degree. I wanted to get a Ph.D but I had to get out of college and find a better job because I needed to support… my family.
I met my wife in college. I knew her in Indonesia, but I was never really close to her. I recognized her while I was walking to my accounting class. I started to get to know her better by studying with her and talking to her on the phone. I finally gathered enough courage to ask her out on a date. At first she replied “no” but my parents told me to never give up. So I kept on trying and she finally said, “yes, I’ll go on a date with you.” We went on a lot of dates and finally, I bought a ring and asked her to marry me at a Chinese restaurant named Tong Kiang. She said “NO!” haha just kidding; she replied yes. We got married and after a year of our happy marriage, we decided we wanted children. So I got out of college and opened up my own store while my wife went to school until she graduated with a bachelor’s degree. We managed very well with our first baby… and second… and third… and last but not least, our fourth baby.
When I first came to America, I wasn’t sure if I was going to accomplish those three goals I set for myself, but my parents raised me to become a successful man. To me, accomplishing those goals made me successful. Now, I help support my wife and my four children by working as a real estate agent. America is truly the land of opportunities, and I learned you must take advantage of the opportunities to become successful.