我的名字叫鳳儀。我从中国温州来美国！那我的女儿带我来的，我是移民过来的。那我女儿在这里读书，嫁人，生了小孩。 她说叫我来帮她带小孩的。那我是到美国来干什么嘛！我心里好害怕那时候。那个飞机场里走进走出走进走出，就是不敢做飞机。我老先生呢：“赶快进去！” 他送我的嘛。“飞机要飞了！你还不进去啊？赶快快进去啊！”我说我去干什么吗？英文也不会。我好害怕！
后来，到了这里看看， 这个唐人街都是中文的！我看看，有救了！我们的中国人的语言能沟通了！也能够沟通，也能够去找工 – 对吗？开始我也没有找工，但是呢后来我想想了。女儿在美国呆久了，她好像自己很骄傲一样，很自豪。对我们态度也不是很好了。我想想我在这里再待下去，不行了。 我要去打工，下面还有几个女儿要等我带，我老公还没来， 也要等我带。那我坐在家里，又没有报税，又没有什么。怎么办呢？ 后来我就去那个“移动”下面，去那个找工作的地方就找了一份工作。
他说你这么大年纪了，我五十三岁来美国的嘛！ 中国退休才来的吗。他说“你们就是做保姆，做管家没有其他的工作!” 那我说我就是不想做保姆，不想带孩子。 美国的孩子，又不能凶他，好难带的。 我有时候说 “不要吵呀！” 声音又很大，人家以为你在骂他。 我说我不要做这个工。我还是做别的工，工厂的工。后来他就把我派到那个做饺子。做那个花卷。我在中国我当经理的，我也没有做这些东西。我说我不会呀！ 不会，不会就学啊！因为我是邮电学校毕业的。后来我在杭州生了小孩，我先生要我调到温州来。 我就到温州去做那个烟糖酒公司。那个时候我们的邮电局也在省人吗，62年。外面来的人不要那没办法就到那边去了。 到那边去就工资是我最高。 经理也没我那没高。后来，慢慢慢慢的就我也当经理了。所以说呢？我不会做。他说 “你真老实， 人家有的人来，不会的都说自己会” 我说那怎么可以说谎呢？ 等会儿你叫我做， 我就做不出来了。不会就不会嘛。
后来他说你就打杂吧。我就一盘一盘的肉拿去那边….做了好几个月。 后来我想，我要带人啊。我就问，老板你可不可以帮我缴税呢？他说不可以！我们不可以报税的。那有什么办法呢？我后来又去问别人。别人说你还是去 《华策会》做那个护理。那好像是政府工，能打税的。
那我拼命跑去那边。他们问我，你多少岁呢？我五十四岁。他说，你不行！那个时候做护理，年轻那个时候不可以做的！要五十五周岁！那我没办法，怎么办呢？ 又去 Mott 街那个礼品店帮人家看店。“T-Shirt 4 for 10 dollars, T-Shirt 4 for 10 dollars!” 这样！在那边做，做了很长。差不多1年。
过了1年多，我又跑会《华策会》很艰苦！但是呢？我觉得美国很好。我很感谢美国。我一直做到六十六，那个工卡局给我退休了。但是我呢？还在做。我们的负责人，他们对我很好。我调到这里犹太人这了。我在那里做到六十九岁。人家说，啊呀你不要退休了，你天天红红呼呼的。我真的很好，很喜欢做。 我从5块钱做起。他们后来五块六块多，后来升到八块一个钟。后来，等我要退休了， 他们十块钱一个钟！我舍不得退嘛！我还做得动。那么多钱，我还是要做。现在十几块了，十五六块了。
所以说，真的很好我在美国。一开始很害怕，不想来。但是现在想想呢，来到美国学了很多东西。英文 a little bit 也是学一点点！有时候人家讲什么能听得懂。但是自己讲不出来，但也没关系。单词有几个会讲，也没关系人家也会理解。那我就考公民， 我还考了一 百分。我的那个律师，他都说我聪明。我真的，我对生活也很热爱 。我感觉啊人有劳动，很开心。我很感谢美国，我很喜欢美国。
Feng Yi’s Story: From Teaching in China to Building a New Life in the U.S
My name is Feng Yi. T. I came from Wenzhou, China to the United States. My daughter brought me here. My daughter came to study, marry, and have children. She wanted me to come to help take care of her children. But I thought, what would I do here! I was very terrified. I paced back and forth at the airport terminal – I didn’t want to get on the plane. My husband was yelling “Get on the plane!” He had come to see me off. “The airplane is about to leave! You’re not getting on?” I yelled back, “What would I do there?” My English isn’t great. Oh, I was so scared.
Afterwards, when I arrived, I saw that Chinatown was full of Chinese people. I looked around and thought, there’s hope! I can communicate in Chinese, I can find work! At first, I couldn’t find work so I thought about going to my daughter’s. But I remembered that she’d been in the United States for a while. She seemed to have grown prideful and developed an attitude towards us. I couldn’t stay here like this – I needed to work. I still had other daughters who relied on me to immigrate. I still had my husband who needed me. I was at home, not working, I had no record of tax payments. So I went to look for a job at an employment center.
The worker there said, “You’re already so old!” I came to the U.S. at 53, right after retiring in China. “People your age take care of grandchildren, or become housekeepers.” I didn’t want to be a nanny, I didn’t want to take care of children. The kids here…you can’t yell at them. If you raise your voice, people think you’re scolding. So he sent me to work at a dumpling factory. I told him I didn’t know how to do this type of work. “Then learn!” he retorted. In China, I was a manager. I’ve never done these things before. I graduated from a telecommunications college. Later, I gave birth to my children in Hangzhou. Then my husband asked that I come to Wenzhou, where I worked at a tobacco, sugar, and liquor company. It was 1962, and the telecommunications bureau was downsizing around 1962. They didn’t want outsiders working there. When I started working in Wenzhou, my salary was the highest, even higher than the managers. Eventually I worked my way up to becoming a manager. So? I didn’t know how to work at a factory. They said I was honest about admitting to that.
I was assigned to organize and carry trays, trays of meat. I did that for several months. Then I thought, I needed to help my family immigrate here too. I asked if my boss could help me file taxes. He said of course not! So I asked around, and someone recommended I go to the Chinese-American Planning Council to work as a home attendant. It seemed like that job filed taxes. So I quickly ran over to CPC. I was 54 then and they said I was too young to work as a home attendant, I needed to be 55 to qualify. So what can I do? Eventually, I found a small shop on Mott Street and worked there. “T-Shirt 4 for 10 dollars, T-Shirt 4 for 10 dollars!” I was there for a long time.
After a year, I ran back to CPC to apply. It was difficult. Being in the United States was hard, but I loved it here. I’m thankful to this country. I worked until 66 and my retirement benefits came in, but I still wanted to work after. My boss was very kind to me. I was transferred over to a Jewish senior center to work. By then, I was 69. I started with five dollars an hour. They later raised it to six, then eight. Later when I was about to retire, it went to ten! I couldn’t leave! I still had energy. No matter how much, I still worked. Now it’s at 16 an hour.
It’s been great being in the United States. At first, I was so scared and dreaded coming. Now as I reflect, I realize I’ve learned so much here. As for my English…I still learned a bit! When others spoke, I could understand! I just couldn’t quite respond. When I took my immigration exam, I scored 100%. Even my lawyer says I’m smart. I really — I love my life. I’m grateful to this country.