In the 50’s my grandmother and my grandfather decided to immigrate to Panama without anything to start a new life. Immigrants from Canton, China, both started working at the counter of a local convenient store. They worked from Monday to Sunday, taking rest when the other one was working, and saving as much as they could. With the pass of the months and the unstoppable working routing, my grandparents managed to adapt to their new environment, to save money, and to undertake the difficult task of learning Spanish. These three elements gave them enough support to advance to their second goal, start a family. Here is where my mother came from. She has four sisters and one brother. And as you can conclude, my grandparents are really traditional because they tried several times to have their male offspring before stop procreating. Being an Asian immigrant back in the 50’s was really difficult. There were a lot of prejudges, stereotypes, and discrimination toward foreigners. This was the main reason and the biggest mistake of why my mother, aunties, and uncle cannot speak Chinese. My grandparents were afraid to teach them Chinese as it later might give them a hard time to adapt to the society because of the language barrier. Although I consider this as a mistake, I can tell from what they did, how big their concern was and good care was for their children.

Studying abroad in Taiwan has given me the opportunity to wake up the Rabbit living in me (1987 – Lunar Calendar’s Animal). I have decided to embrace the Taiwanese culture and become part of this millenary society. However, the greatest opportunity I have received while studying in Taiwan is what my mother, aunties, and uncle did not have ─ learn Chinese. Since the very first day I started to learn Chinese, I felt amazed by the character strokes, pronunciation, meaning, and history of each one. It is incredible how come a character can keep beauty, order, and feelings. For me learning Chinese has become into a privilege and honor. To speak, write, and read Chinese is totally an art, where only through dedication, constancy, and passion can be mastered.

Globalization makes our world become more competitive. With the development of new technology we can communicate to new places easily. Both elements have contributed to make us closer to each other. This is one of the main reasons why languages have become such an important issue in the last decade. As a future businessman a personal presentation in Spanish, English, and Chinese will open me more options to compete in this demanding and harsh business world. Therefore, the best business decision I can take, while studying my undergraduate degree in Taiwan, is invest in learning Chinese.

My dream of speak fluently Chinese might be really far away from nowadays, but I know that working everyday will approach me one step closer to my goal. Learning Chinese is not a timed race competition, but it is a resistance competition. Frustration, disappointment, exhaustion, are all part of learning Chinese, but this is nothing to the rewards I will collect in the future. The biggest motivation that keeps me running Chinese race is the hope to speak Chinese to my grandmother. To have the conversation in Chinese with her and let her know that all her efforts and difficulties she and my grandfather faced to set a new life and raise a family are really appreciated and esteemed. This is the dream that give me fuel to keep running in the learning Chinese race.

MCU-Juan_Montero.doc704 KB