Since she needed to move and I received my stock sale money, we moved into a 10X12 room in China Town, that’s one of the most unsafe neighborhoods in Portland. Unknown to us, we moved into a building where it was the last resort for some people like pedophiles, murderers, and felons. Even people on SSI lived there. Since we both worked at the same place and almost the same schedule of 4am-1pm we would have to take the bus to our place of work and take a cat nap in the break room because the next bus wouldn’t arrive until 6am. We used to live on 4-6 hours’ sleep every other day because of school and work. This was when I asked my soon to be wife to marry me. At one point we were so poor that all we could afford was rice, but things were soon to change.
I ended up finding a good paying job petitioning to get initiatives on the ballot. Since I love politics this was my dream job, and it paid well too. My soon to be wife quit her job to be able to focus on school while I worked to pay the bills; our rent was only $365 a month. Since the building had rats and roaches in it we were finally able to get a cat to combat them both. The only thing we had to our name other than our clothes was the laptop I was able to purchase with leftover money from school which I bought on clearance for cheap. This was the life for us though. I still look back and think how happy we were with nothing but each other and the cat.
About a month before we got married I found a job doing Tech Support which was what my field of study was in college. Just a few weeks after we got married, we found out she was pregnant. We were given a notice by the building manager that we had to move out before the kid was born. We would have anyway; no one wants to bring their kid into that environment. We were even extra motivated considering one of our neighbors just received a 106 year sentence for many counts of rape, attempted murder, assault, and many other things on top of this being his 3rd strike.
Things were finally looking up for me and the wife. I had a good job; she just landed her first job that wasn’t a call center or grunt labor as a data entry clerk. We, not knowing, lucked out to get into our apartment where we lived. We moved into the yuppies neighborhood on the West Side, the West Hills. We thought we had died and went to heaven.
Right before my son was born, another stroke of luck, or so I thought, came our way. As a way to prove to my wife that there were jobs out there, I randomly applied to 3 jobs on craigslist. I landed one of them which paid enough to be able to support our soon to be 3 person family so she could stay home with our newborn son. As soon as I took the job she was able to quit her job because she was having complications with it because she over extended one of her ligaments.
Our son just turned 1 about two weeks after I got laid off from my job, but he’s been really lucky. Although mom is working now, dad gets to stay home with him and take care of him. Our son has not had to want or need for anything. We’ve given him a better life than we ever had and he’s only a year old at this point in time. Unlike how my wife and I were raised by our babysitters, we’ve been fortunate through circumstances to have been home with him the whole time.
When I started off I said I was thinking about the “American Dream”. There are two parts to the “American Dream”. The first part I have relayed to you in a story of me. The “American Dream” allows a person to go from nothing to something. The things that are important to me in life are my wife and my son, that’s my “American Dream”. I can look back and see where I was, where I am, and where I’m heading. The same can be said for America. We know our history of where we came from, we know where we are, and we know where we want this country to be for our children. Knowing my history makes me grateful for what I have in the present. For the first time in my life I have a top notch bed, pictures on the wall, a TV and DVD player, and my first couch set. It’s easy to forget where we came from, but sometimes we need to take the time and remember.
The second part of the “American Dream” is shaping our country through our political system. So many people only want to do part 1, but forget about part 2. An example would be that I want my son to be self-reliant, open minded, and a kind person. Without me taking my time to be involved with him, all I’m doing is procrastinating hoping it will be done on its own. Weather you feel that the government should have a big or small role, deficit spending is ok or it’s not or you trust your officials or not, you still have to fulfill your part and your oath to your fellow citizen. Without the political arena we wouldn’t even have the ability to participate in the “American Dream”. Think of politics like an inventor, without ideas being pushed around so that everyone can come to a consensus, nothing would ever be invented, and politics is the same way.