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Wonderful and Difficult Lessons Learned from Being a Child of Immigrants

Watching the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding when it came out in the theaters with my Lebanese best friend was the best free therapy I’ve ever received—no joke. We laughed and also cried tears of incredulity that a film could so perfectly capture our experience as first-generation Americans.

My parents emigrated to America from Cairo, Egypt in the 1970s, when they were in their mid-twenties. I am not blonde and thin and, yes, all I wanted for lunch growing up were Lunchables or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. My mom couldn’t relate to the torture and grief I experienced when the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches came in pita bread.

“It’s the same. It’s better!” she said.

Now I’m finally at an age when I can appreciate all the lessons I learned from being an immigrant kid. Here are just five things I learned, especially from my mom.

Life isn’t fair.

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