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It seemed as if it was just yesterday when I anxiously fidgeted around in the airplane seat, awaiting unexpected surprises in my new home. This, however, was ten years ago when I emigrated from China to the United States. My parents had warned me that it would be a drastic change; but when one is at the naïve age of six, change hardly means more than a brand new place to play in. Leaving behind years of comfort and memories, I found myself arriving in not only a new location but adapting to a new lifestyle as well.
At first, America turned out to be quite different than I had imagined it to be, mainly because of my language barrier. While other children enjoyed their carefree years in elementary school, I dreaded science and history classes since the new English terms were unfamiliar to me. Every night my parents and I would decrypt both these lectures and homework assignments in hopes of helping me catch up to the other students. I distinctly remember one afternoon when I had gotten an assignment from third grade English class; the instructions were to create a sentence using the word “green.” Although the task was simple, it caused distress among my parents and me.
With time, the handicap that forced me to hurdle many hindrances soon became an advantage; being fluent in both Mandarin and English opened up many doors and it would be foolish to say all that hardship failed to pay off. As Dolly Parton once said, “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”
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