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I ate a goldfish

- Ying Sa is the founder and principal certified public accountant at Community CPA & Associates Inc. and a co-founder of the Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit. 
 
 “What? You ate a goldfish?“ I raised my voice and could not believe what I heard! 
 
“Yes, it had a bitter taste and was not good at all,” Wang said matter-of-the-factly in her slow and accented English.
 
When she was in her late 30s, she and her husband came to United State through Governor Ray's refugee settlement program. They settled in Iowa, raised three wonderful children, and all of whom were college educated and employed. On a monthly basis, for decades, Wang would come to visit me for sales tax filing. Today she brought her husband Phung with her too. They both were sitting across the desk from me.
 
Content and happy as always, they had seemed this way to me for as long as I could remember. Business was never hard for them; they always made money. They are not the wealthiest clients I have, but with the little profit they earned, they use it to love the world. From an accountant's point of view, they run a perfect small business; especially if you can add “contentment” into the equity portion of the balance sheet.
 
I was telling these two that I brought my mom three goldfish when I visited her last week. So Wang blurted out her dining experience with the goldfish. They were caught off guard by my explosive reaction, so Phung added, “That was the time when we would eat whatever was moving.” He looked at Wang and she agreed silently.
 
My hand was on the calculator. I was supposed to get their sales tax completed, but at that moment, everything stopped and my mind was wondering about my own reaction and pondering Phung’s words.
 
Why would I be surprised? Of course I knew how life could be for them when they lived in the refugee camps. Life is so good here in United States, that people like me do not always think about folks who were forced to eat anything that could be eaten.
 
Today, it is unthinkable for someone to eat goldfish. They might even be reported to the animal right groups for animal cruelty. My kids would certainly be advocating for animal rights!
 
Material wealth is available to all of us here in this country. Living in this country is like heaven on earth for those who lived in a refugee camp. This is why Wang and Phung are so happy, all the time, no matter what.
 
I am their accountant and I know that they did not make a fortune with their $15.00-per-piece sewing business. But the way they carry themselves makes you think that they are exceedingly successful with their business. They are so content with what they have.
 
When someone has experienced hunger and hardship, they can appreciate what this country offers them. The hardship made Wang and Phung develop a tough mentality. So facing difficulties and challenges in the beautiful state of Iowa becomes nothing more than embracing the wind.
 
Phung continued to explain that when they were in the refugee camp they had to hunt for their food each day for three long years. Life was tough for Wang and Phung back then. So now, neither have had reasons to complain. Nothing could stop them from having a great business and great life. Every win is big win and every penny they made is a bigger penny than the ones before.
 
They wanted to live, so they ate a goldfish.

Comments

You have a beautiful relationship with your clients and always find a way of shining a light on what's important.

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