Family ties, pearl of their eyes

Mother reunites with her family in America

Last week, a small, wide-eyed woman who'd neither seen America nor speaks its language, stepped off a plane and into the arms of a doting family.

Tears well in the eyes of Lin Wu, owner of the Ocean Pearl Chinese Restaurant at 441 W. Victory Way, when asked about the moment that witnessed the reunion between his mother, Wu Mei Huang, and a family that lived a world away from her native land of China.

"She's come to America and thinks everything here is beautiful," said Wu, after taking a brief moment to compose his emotions and thoughts. "She's been really excited ever since she saw her grandkids."

Huang, or Grandma Huang as family members call her, has seven children, two of whom -- Lin and his sister, Lisa -- live in Craig. She also has five grandchildren in the city, four of which she'd never met until recently.

Coming to America was a bold move for Huang, who has spent a lifetime in Communist China, has never attended school and does not know how to read or write. Through an interpreter, she said the family reunion has been worth the trip.

"I am real happy," said Huang, buried beneath a thick hooded coat because she's still getting used to the cool Colorado weather. "I always saw pictures of (my) grandkids. ... Now I get to see them. Seeing everybody makes me really happy."

She used one word to describe America -- ho. Translated from her native Cantonese tongue, the word means good.

The cultural adjustment for Huang's move from China to the United States has been a great one. In China, for instance, she remembers times where there was little food, and no running water or electricity. In America, grocery stores are chock full of selections and indoor water and electricity is a given for every household.

Since arriving in the U.S., Huang has busied herself with getting to know her grandkids, catching up with her son and daughter and helping out at Ocean Pearl. She's also spent time crocheting, a task for which she uses chopsticks.

Mary Pressley, a Craig resident, CIS library technician and a friend of the family at Ocean Pearl, said the reunion has produced joy in her heart.

"I know how hard it was for them to be separated by thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean," Pressley said. "It makes me happy to see them happy. ... I'm just so glad they were able to meet. Family is so important."

In China, taking care of one's parents is considered an honor. That's certainly how Lisa Wu views her mother's arrival in Craig.

"I think if you're lucky, you get to spend time with your mother," Lisa Wu said. "She's here now. Her son, her grandkids are here. It's a big change for her life.

"We missed her. We're going to take care of her. Now that she's come here, we're happy."

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