When I was 10, I was getting ready to make the trip of a lifetime, the 11-hour airplane ride from Guangzhou, China to Los Angeles, California. I wasn’t thinking of what I want to become when I grew up. Just trying to adapt to my new environment was a difficult enough task.
I had to learn a brand-new language, one where I was supposedly the best in my class when I was in China but turned out I barely knew a single word.
I remember my heart pounding and hands shaking as I met my step-father for the first time at the airport. You’re ready, I told myself, you can do this. After all, you’re the English class leader and you’ve been preparing for this moment for a long time. However, the first few words poured out of his mouth left me puzzled. “What did he say?” I asked mom.
“He asked how was the flight.” I simply just nodded.
I didn’t finally utilize some vocabulary I learned in China until I arrived at my step-aunt’s house some three days later. She asked me, “How are you?”
“I am fine, thank you.” I replied in a shy voice. Everyone was surprised, of course but really, “How are you?” and “I am fine, thank you.” were the only sentences I knew and learned in China.
Eventually, I learned to communicate and in the process absorbed the American culture and it was then I finally began to dream about my future. I think I started dreaming when I was 12 and no, none of those dreams is connected to what I am now nor I don’t they will ever be.
My first dream was to be a singer. Then it changed to singer/director. I dreamed of directing my own music video and that my music video would win tons of awards. Before I knew it, those music videos became movies and TV shows, with me playing the lead. I would often lie on my bed and imagine fame and money.
I don’t know those dreams became shattered or who shattered them but one day, I suddenly stopped thinking of those things. Maybe I got older and wiser or maybe I finally understood those dreams were unrealistic and I should be someone practical. All of a sudden, I was imagining business suits, high heel, and suitcase, walking down Wall Street glancing at my watch every few seconds, thinking I will be late to a meeting.
Maybe this is who I meant to be, a business woman because here I am, studying to be an accountant, to work for a large international firm.
Meanwhile, there’s still my dream to be writer. Maybe that dream will come true after I graduate.