I told you we are going back today, didn’t I? This picture was taken on December 21, 2001 and it brings back great memory when I look at it. I actually didn’t even know my mom took this picture until a few years ago when I was looking over the collection of picture and discovered this gem. It’s the only picture taken on the airplane right before I departed China.
To complete this throwback Thursday post, I am going to share a passage from my Ice Breaker speech, an essay inspired by this picture.
When I first stepped out of the terminal at LAX airport that night on December 21, 2001, I felt like I was stepping into a strange new world. The air was fresh and clear and I thought to myself, “Well, this is a new beginning.” Of course, I had a large hot dog for dinner that night which was very different than anything I’ve tasted that it felt strange to my taste. I mean I’ve had a similar variety in China but they were called “sausage in a bun” or here call it “pig in a blanket”.
So the first night, I began settled into my new room, then the next day, I was somehow on a car driving half-way across the country to Austin, Texas for Christmas and meeting my new grandparents, yet I won’t even be able to talk to them. I had fun, of course, lots of presents and went to many new places that I can’t even remember except for my vivid memory of riding a pony with seat belt strapped on me because of my age and walking along the river walk in San Antonio.
After getting back to L.A., I was immediately enrolled into the 5th grade on the first day of the new semester. The next day, my teacher informed me that I’ve been placed into the Newcomer’s program to learn to speak English. It took me several days to get used to the classes at school but I found that school here is much more enjoyable than school back in China. I also found out that people here were more accepted of one’s appearance and language skills. Back in China, I was always judged by my appearance and because of my height, I had no friends and often been teased by my classmates. After about a month in the Newcomer’s program, I’ve already learned to speak some phrase in English and began making and communicating with friends for the first time. My pictures with my friends in the playground were even taken and put into the school yearbook which unfortunately I didn’t buy it since I know that my school picture was not in the yearbook. It wasn’t until two years later when my best friend showed me her 5th grade yearbook.
As the semester came to an end, I was getting a little disappointed that everyone’s going to different middle school next year but I was cheered up again at the award ceremony when I received my math excellence trophy, my first trophy. Until now I still remembered that moment as it was yesterday when my teacher suddenly called my name through the microphone and said I was awarded the trophy. As a reward, my mom took me out of school three days later and took me to Disneyland.
…and that’s a wrap. I’d like to thank Priceless Joy for nominating me for the challenge. I’ve had a blast sharing all my old photographs along with the memories they hold. I know as usual I went beyond the requirements of the challenge but who cares, it’s all about the fun.
My invitation still stands. Anyone is welcome to join.