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16 Little Life Tips From Our Immigrant Families

"After a good eat, a good sleep, and after a good sleep, a good eat."

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Growing up as a child of immigrants is a defining experience in many ways, so I asked friends and co-workers to share their favorite piece of life advice, given to them from a family member.

Here are some of their responses:

1. After a good eat, a good sleep, and after a good sleep, a good eat.

CBS / Via giphy.com

"The best advice I ever got was from my grandma, who'd say, 'Despues de un buen comer, un buen dormir, despues de un buen dormir un buen comer,' which means, 'After a good eat, a good sleep, and after a good sleep, a good eat.' Words everyone should live by." —Elena Garcia

2. Don't take the sacrifices of your parents and grandparents for granted, because they have laid down the foundation for you to reap.

ABC / Via giphy.com

"My dad crossed the desert alone from Tijuana to San Diego during the middle of the night when he was 17. He worked as an undocumented immigrant in agriculture for a few years before getting a better job that paid enough for him to send three of us over the border to join him. At 17, I was in multiple AP classes, involved with three high school sports and student government, and applying for college. The biggest lesson I got from all that was to make sure the sacrifices of OUR parents and grandparents aren’t taken for granted. They have laid down the foundation for us to reap." —Oscar Diaz

3. Be the person who creates solutions, not temporary fixes.

Disney - Pixar / Via giphy.com

"One time, my mom asked me what I would do if I were walking and something, like a grocery cart, was blocking my path. I said I'd walk around it, to which she replied that what she would do is move the grocery cart so that it's out of her way, as well as everyone else's. 'Someone has to do it, why not you?' she asked." —Jessie Wu

4. Always try asking for a better deal.

ABC / Via giphy.com

"My mom is an expert at haggling, like scary good, even for things you wouldn’t normally haggle for. So, her advice is to always try asking for a better deal." —Karen Hobowsky

5. Women should always maintain control of their own finances.

VH1 / Via giphy.com

"My mom taught me that women should always maintain control of their own finances. I feel like so many first and second generation immigrant women learned this the hard way." —AP

"My mom’s advice, drilled into my head my entire life, was 'Make your own money, have your own career,' aka never depend on a partner." —Claudia Mei

6. You can never have enough plastic bags.

7. Corn is NOT a vegetable.

Disney Channel / Via giphy.com

"Wear SPF every day, never let anyone tell you 'no', and corn is NOT a vegetable.” —Alex Laughlin

8. You may have learned a lot, but it's far from enough.

Viacom Media Networks / Via giphy.com

"My dad emailed me once, '24 is a great age! You have learned much, but far from enough. You are maturing, but still entitled to make plenty of mistakes.'" —Inga Lam

9. Never leave the house without sunscreen and especially not without a sweater.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Via giphy.com

"Never leave the house without sunscreen and especially not without a sweater. As my mom says, 'PONTE UN SUETER'." —Oscar Diaz

10. The most valuable commodity you have is time.

Viceland / Via giphy.com

11. Always gather as much information as possible.

NBC / Via giphy.com

"My mom always tells me to get as much information as possible. She says this in super vague terms but like, it’s basically her shorthand for saying that knowing more is always better and talking to other people and gathering information is invaluable so that you don’t get left behind, especially when so many factors —

like not knowing English very well — are working against you." —Sarah Han

12. You need to be assertive, and keep an eye out for any kind of bad behavior.

youtube.com / Via giphy.com

"My dad once told me, 'In this industry, women indeed need to be very assertive and ever on guard against misconduct. Practicing a reflex karate kick will definitely help'.” —Inga Lam

13. Realize that you may actually be the cause of some of your problems, as well as the solution.

Fox / Via giphy.com

"My mom used to say that some people often choose to be miserable and never appreciate what they have, meaning sometimes your problems are your own fault." —Walter Menendez

14. Don't go to bed with wet hair.

youtube.com / Via giphy.com

"My mom would always tell me never to go to sleep with my hair wet; otherwise I'd have headaches the next day." —Christina Lan

15. Wear a condom, because child support is expensive.

NBC / Via giphy.com

"My parents used to say, 'Wear a condom, child support is expensive.' Little did they know I’d be into guys." —Ron Chew

16. Pursue what makes you happy first, because everything else is secondary.

Comedy Central / Via giphy.com

"While I think my dad (who's immigrated three times) is proud of the sacrifices he's made, and all the good it's brought our family, a part of him grieves all the pleasures he's had to pass on to secure it. I think that's why every time I go to him with some sort of big life dilemma, he assures me that it's fine to pursue what makes me happy and to set aside the needs of others. In a way, my freedom of choice is an extension of his love, and I think that's friggin' beautiful and why I'll never let any of the Internet trolls at my job get me down!" —Michelle No

Do you have life advice that your family has given you? Share in the comments below!

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