East and West. Chinese and American. In a transient world as we are facing today, people come and go, move in and out, the young replaces the old, the new becomes the outdated…Only one thing stays constant: our cultural heritage–the deep-rooted customs, norms, habits, traditions, and even the nostalgic childhood food. While keeping in touch with our roots is applaudable, adapting to our newly adopted culture is equally important. The experience can be exciting at times, but confusing at others. It can also be hilarious, funny, awkward, humble and heart-warming all at once.

This year (2015) I have spent an equal amount of time (a total of 50 years) staying true to my native Chinese culture and exploring my adopted American culture. I was fortunate enough to look at both worlds through different lenses, comparing, examining, appreciating, critiquing, learning, adapting, and all that. My hope is to share some of what I have learned on my journey of “east-meets-west” about similarities and differences in both cultures with all who want to live a bold, brave and bighearted life.

Charlene is a daughter, a wife, a sister, and a mother of a wonderful 11-year-old boy. She received her Doctoral Degree in Sociology and Public Policy from Princeton University. She is a senior marketing analytics manager in the finance industry.

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