This is such a powerful story! The journaling reads:
Have you ever gone through a period in your life when you have no idea what is happening around you or to you, when everything is new & incomprehensible?
That was me at the age of 17, the summer before I entered college. This picture, from appearance, is as if I am already well integrated into the middle class Minnesotan American life: sitting in a boat, on a lake!
What you can’t tell from the picture was that I had only arrived in the U.S a month before the picture was taken . While I already spoke English like an American native with very little accent, I had absolutely no idea or background in American life or culture. It would be years before my understanding of America catches up with my mastery of the language it speaks.
So there I was, in America! After a tumultuous and nearly capsized run at obtaining a student visa, I had arrived! It was scary to leave my parents to strike out on my own, but I was young and felt invincible. It would be four years before I would see them again, and two years before I even spoke to them on the phone! However, I was in good hands, both in God’s, and in the dear people who chose to take care of me during my college years, the Andersons’.
So there I was, in the eye of the storm, and totally oblivious. The one thing I was acutely aware of was the burden of my responsibility. Now that I was finally in the U.S. and my first year of college tuition paid for, it was up to me to excel in school. To do anything less than extremely well would mean failure and dishonor to my parents’ sacrifices. At this point, I would not know how much they would continue to sacrifice and suffer for the next four years to sustain the dream of establishing me in the American society. My future was completely uncertain and the only thing I knew to do was to study well and study hard. Everything else was not up to me, I had to utterly rely on God, faith and circumstances that He would provide.
So there I was at the edge of adulthood, only I was surrounded by all new things, sometimes incomprehensible things. After all, was I not on a boat, in the country of great wealth, with streets paved with gold? Which part of a dream was that for a girl who had loved in China and Africa? I would soon find out how much I did not fit in from what clothes I wore to study habits. I would soon enter a period of serious identity crisis in a strange world with foreign people who all thought I was born and raised in Minnesota.
At 17, my life in the U.S. was about to take flight, only I had no idea what that would be like.
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