My American dream, in a package of Little Bites

A student reflects on how blueberry muffins taught them real-world lessons as a child immigrating to America.

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Every packet of Little Bites is a scam.

Although today I know that the world is surrounded by inequality, corruption, hunger, poverty, and discrimination, I was oblivious to all of these issues as a child. None of them bothered me in the slightest.

For me, my biggest concern was the number of blueberry muffins in each packet of Little Bites — only four! Still, my parents made sure one packet lasted a week.

I was four when I came to the United States. Money and food in my house were sparse, managed carefully and meticulously. My mother, who had a bachelor’s in nursing, had to take two buses to work because we couldn’t afford a car. My father, with a master’s in economics, took a job bagging fruit at the grocery store. Our house was filled with second-hand furniture because that was all we could afford.

That’s probably why my dad, who would do anything to provide for his family, conceded every time I begged him for my favorite snack, Little Bites. Snacks were a luxury item in our household, scrupulously made to last a week.

But Little Bites were the best part of my day. They were my version of blissful ignorance and my parents’ version of appealing to my innocent joy.

Each day, no matter what happened, there would be a Little Bites’ muffin waiting for me without fail.

They were my first lesson in finances, teaching me that money is not something to be taken for granted. My parents never taught me to believe in Santa Claus because they knew that gifts were not freely given — they are the result of hard work. “So work hard” they said. “and you can give as well.”

Little Bites are the stamp of my parents’ perseverance, something they have embodied in me. They are my version of the American Dream.

More importantly, Little Bites are a symbol for me that money does not define life. They taught me that happiness flows from family and financial burdens can never diminish love. Little Bites stand as a reminder of the unquenchable motivation that flows through my family’s blood — the unwavering hard work of my parents to pave the path for my future.

A parent will do anything and everything to ensure their child’s happiness. My mother would go to work every day, and yet find time each day to make a traditional home-cooked Indian meal. Rice and all the sides, everything carefully prepared to guarantee everyone got their fair share.

But, the Little Bites? They were mine. In a home full of spices and curries, they were that bite-sized America that united my mother culture with the one I learned to embrace.

As the years went on, my parents began to achieve the American dream that they wanted when they first came to this country. I’m no longer the same four-year-old kid with a slight obsession for blueberry muffins. The number of Little Bites in my house grew and with them my memories in this new country — plane rides, new sisters, hospital visits, first days of school, yearbook deadlines, dance marathons, and new best friends. They mark milestones in my journey through this country and in this life, one that is ever-continuing. They are the memory of a childhood I do not ever want to forget.

They are my America.

Although my parents may never feel completely at home in America, I no longer feel like an outsider in this country. This is the country that gave me the chance to dream and I am determined to dream big. I am grateful for my childhood obstacles — they made me who I am today.

So every time I take a delicious bite out of one of those blueberry muffins, it is a reminder of how far I have come and how far I have yet to go.

Listen to how the author was inspired to write this essay.


  1. Beautiful story ❤️. Brought tears in my eyes. Yes, a lot more waiting for you out there. Wishing you a bright and prosperous future.

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