Mission Viejo, CA
My whole life has been slightly more challenging due to the fact that I am a first-generation American whose name is different than the traditional “Michael” or “Jake”. Growing up, the first day of school was always a bit of a struggle. I always knew when a teacher reached my name on the class roster as they would always pause and struggle with the pronunciation of my foreign name. Teachers and students alike would always reply with “What was that?” when I would tell them my name. It took its toll on my young mind and I always wished to have been granted a more basic or generic name. The constant “what a beautiful name” statement eventually began to feel condescending. Every single job I have held has required a name tag which resulted in the constant questioning of where I was born or if I am a particular race, to which I have always replied “I am American”.