Half way across the world

Sunny Chen, Staff Writer

It was a dream at the beginning, and after a lot of hard work, it came true. The first time I mentioned the U.S. in public was when I was running for student body president in high school for the Student Union Election in 10th grade. “I would like to go to Harvard University for school!” I spoke out with passion. I am from China, so at that point it seemed to be impossible. It is now all a blur.

It was an opportunity that I got when I was in 11th

grade. It was a turning point in my life. After 15 hours of flight, I arrived at Houston Airport in Texas.

I stayed in Texas for 15 days, two years ago. In the southern region of the U.S., the reality of being in the U.S. became clearer in my mind.

The environment was like a picture, combinations with green, blue and white. The first time I learned that soccer has a different meaning from football. The first time I tasted freedom.

The first time I understood the wider significance of Christian prayer, I lived with a lovely host family and we usually prayed before having each meal. We would thank God for everything we had and said “amen” at the end of every prayer. I learned a lesson from this action; be grateful. It even influences my life now. In this period, I encountered a lot of “firsts”, found a lot of differences between cultures and had to try hard at everything I did. In China, we usually have one and a half hours break after lunch, but an English class immediately followed the lunch in Texas. I was so sleepy it nearly killed me. The class I loved the most was dance; I jumped, twisted and leapt in the dance team. When the team practiced for the football game, I appreciated the diverse formation, strong rhythm and the power with the dance that was performing. I enjoyed and I learned how to express emotion by movement. For education, there are so many options to choose what you want to learn.

Discussing, team building and having your own opinions are the main elements in a class. In China, the courses are fixed and regular. A vital part of studying is reciting the text and thinking

about how to get good grades. We need to get ready for the GAOKAO (University Entrance Exam) from the first day we enter into high school. When I went back to China, I decided to change my life, make my dream vivid and focus on how to take responsibility for myself and my future.

Now, I am here again, but in the northern part of U.S. in Wisconsin. Challenge is everywhere. I live in the southern part of China, so I have never seen or felt the snow. I am looking forward to the first snow and I am both nervous and excited.

Now, I live in Whitewater. If you have learned a second language, you realize that the knowledge from the textbook is not enough for you to live in that country.

That is me. Sometimes I lose my tongue and sound like a dummy when I communicate with people. Sometimes I cannot catch other people’s points when they speak because their speed is too fast for me. I hope it won’t be a big deal to me in a few months. I know you have challenges at first, then overcome and finally, be comfortable.

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