I went to the Chinese supermarket few days before Chinese New Year (Chinese biggest festival). A mom and her daughter about my age caught my attention. I heard the mom, with her daughter's schoolbag on the shoulder, asking her daughter what does she want to eat for dinner, yet, I was standing by the shelf, alone. I ran away from the shelter as fast as could to avoid catching up my memories about New Year and families, but these memories just flushed into my mind without my permission.
Living in a brand new country is hard, it is not only about the cultural differences but also about the food. Especially being the first year leaving my home country, the feeling of missing homemade food and families got stronger and stronger when I was in the supermarket looking at that mom and her daughter's interaction.
(Upper left) burger; (upper right) hot dog; (bottom left) pizza; (bottom right) steak.
But all I had were these American food in the U.S. The question my mom asked me before I came to the U.S. “Can you stand for the loneliness there without families and friends” popped into my mind. But it was not until the moment I was in the supermarket few days before Chinese New Year, I could intensively feel what the word, loneliness, means.
Hainan's newest built Haixiu expressway.
Summer 2015, I went back to my hometown, but I found out something changed me. There was an expressway building right in front of my home, which bothered me for a while in figuring out the way to my destination. I could not remember the name of my most familiar street near my junior high school. Moreover, I could not help but saying some nouns in English. For instance, I could not find a proper translation to express the word “presentation,” “volunteer,” etc. Or even though I knew their Chinese meanings, I just somehow felt weird to me if I compelled myself to say these words in Chinese. Therefore, I tried my best to prevent those English words from spilling out of my mouth until I went back to the U.S. study again.
(Left) No Name Restaurant in Boston (Upper right) Freedom Trail (Bottom right) Korean Kimchi Jjigae.
Winter 2015, I went back to Boston before I came to Purdue. I went to my favorite Korean restaurants; ate the freshest lobster in a harbor; walked through the most crucial historical places in Boston through the Freedom Trail again. Every place that I had been through reminded me how familiar I was to Boston, and how hard I work to accommodate myself to that city, American culture and food. “Oh, I don’t want to leave this place. I think I have started to like it”, I thought.