Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Friendship Forever

   Friendship is one of the most important things to have in life. When I was little I used t have all my best friend beside me. In fact, when all my best friend are with me it makes me feel better and comfortable. Over the years I noticed that a very good friendship is quite valuable to me. However, since I moved to U.S it was very hard for me to make new friends because everything was very strange to me and I could not get used to it. I was worried that I would not able to make new friends quickly, When I moved to Chicago I was very afraid of the new environment. For this reason I noticed that the friendships that I have in the U.S are not as strong as the friendship that I made in China.
For me, a best friend is a person that would like to help me at any time. When I was in China, I always asked my friends for help and they would give me advice to help me to get out any difficult situation. For example, when my friends saw me look very upset, they used to ask me automatically. I feel that it is what best friends are supposed to be and do, and they are the friends that I can depend on forever. However, the friendships that I have in Chicago are totally different than the friendships that I used to have in China. In the U.S my new friends would not help me automatically unless I asked them for help. All of them are very independent and busy even though they are very friendly to me.
In addition, I used to share my personal secrets with all my best friends. For example, back home we used to get together and share story and after we shared them we would keep it as a secret for each other. We would never expose any personal story because as a best friend we should not expose anyone's secret to strangers. We trusted each other so well. On other hand, the friends that I have in Chicago would not tell me their secret for many reasons. They thought that secret is their own privacy and they are supposed to keep it to themselves. I realized that the friendships that I have in Chicago were not strong as the friendship that I had in China.
Furthermore, when I lived in China, I used to hangout with friends as a habit. Also spending time together would make me feel quite joyful. We could also hangout for any reasons, such as studying together and shopping. However, when I moved to Chicago most of the time I would hangout with my friends at the library. We would read together and spend time doing homework in the library. Sometimes we often have after tea but not all time. Thus, I do miss the free time that spent with my friends in China. Those were profound and unforgettable memories of my life.

I have already realized the reason why I could not make friends in a short time. When I first moved to the U.S, my life was so strange. Maybe it was culture shock that made it very difficult to make new friends. However, now I do have more good friends in Chicago and our relationships are getting stronger than ever. I hope that our relationships will continue to be very strong as always. I do miss all my old friends in China and they are in heart. I do believe that nothing can change our friendship because time can not take our friendship away.


Second Home

In general, people always say school is our second home in the world. In China, when the school needs students' help, for cleaning or something else, the teacher will say the school is our home, the clean and tidy depend on student effort. However, the second home in different country is extraordinary dissimilar due to the huge different surroundings and culture. When I came to America, I gained a lot of alternative experiences about second home in the U.S. I have a new perspective of school.

“An jing”—Be quiet. When someone came in the classroom in china, he would always hear the word like “An jing” for the teacher, they were so strict to students, and they didn’t allow students to interrupt them when they were teaching. As a result of some of them were concerned about face-saving. In addition, they believed that teacher would not make any mistake. Nonetheless, in the U.S., teachers are so friendly that you are able to raise your hand to ask any question or even correct teacher’s error. American teachers encourage students to think positively and expand their mind. With the open education teaching system, American teachers and students are almost equal in every way. As far as I can see, I prefer the way students can say or ask anything they want in class, because it will not confine of thought.
            If I attempt to compare with the Chinese-style education and American one. My experience is a good example. When I studied in China, I had an amount of assignments, a lot of quiz and so many kinds of examinations which needed time to prepare. All our homework, we needed to finish by no using computer. Therefore, I didn't have too much time to join any activities in school. My daily class schedule was Monday to Saturday, from 7:30 to 9:30. I only had two little short break, I was able to back to the dormitory. That means almost every week I stayed at my second home. On the contrary, when I studied in the second home in the United States, I was able to have time to join so many activities , no matter it is in-school one or out. As a matter of fact, because many of the assignment will like a big project, you had enough time to prepare it, research it and finish it. While I was doing the homework in school or at home, I can use the internet to get more information and useful tips. Furthermore, I can type my papers on the computer and print it when the due day coming. It's more wonderful for me to learn something in American-style education, because it will give me more knowledge and less pressure to study hard.
         In china, when we discussed about how to learn something, we only had two ways to learn. First, we accept another person to give us knowledge. Second, we learned by ourselves. In my view, In Chinese schools, teachers are always teaching students by giving them a lot of information, requiring them to memorize and testing them all the time. All the things the Chinese teachers did are want to confirm how much knowledge that their student had already learned. On the contrary, In American schools, teachers inspiring their student to learn something by themselves. They hope them to learn independently. They teach students not only the knowledge but also the skills of learning, but it has the only thing is insufficient. Of course, If any student who does not have self-control, will be lost when he study by himself. He will not receive the knowledge but also waste his time.
         Consequently, school is a place that spreads the knowledge for people like farmers sow an area of land with seeds. Like each farmer has his different way to sow the seeds, so every second home has its own style and ways to teach somebody and enrich a student’s brain. We can't compare to get a result as which one is better, but I'm so thankful about what I experience and what I learn in the United States.


Summer Fun

Summer Fun
Summer in Chicago is almost gone, and I can see the leaves twirl down from the trees and people wearing their sweaters to keep warm. When I walked alongside the beach alone, I saw fewer and fewer people walking in the sand. I felt a little lonely and I started remembering my last summer in China. Even though I have a new life in  America, I will never forget these unforgettable moments of summer time I had in China, especially memories including my best friends, the relaxing scenery and the annual beer festival.  

Summer is not only as my favorite season, but also my friends`. When I was in China, one of our common hobbies was shopping in the summer time because the weather in summer is excellent with the comfortable temperature and cool wind in my hometown. However, I don`t just like to shop. I enjoy shopping with my friends, but since I came to the U.S., I have only been able to find acquaintances here. My friends here do not have common aesthetic in clothes. Most of them prefer a more fashionable style; however, I think casual style is more suitable for me. I sometimes get homesick when I go window shopping alone due to this less joyful atmosphere.    In addition, the outlet mall in Chicago closes at six o`clock, but it is too early for me and my friends. We have a lot of work to do, so we cannot go anywhere due to the late time. In China, there are eight supermarkets located near my apartment, and each of them was closed at ten o`clock or later. I would always invite my friends to go shopping together even in the evening. Because we have similar tastes in wardrobe,  we usually give each other nice suggestions. Also, we want to enjoy the comfortable evening in summer.  

My hometown Dalian is on the northeast coast of China, which has a really beautiful scenery in summer. In my province, hiking in the mountains and overlooking the sea are two relaxing activities that I did whenever I had free time. However, since I wound prefer most in daily life, some factors led to the abandonment of that. In Chicago, there are no hills or mountains to view. Therefore, I have to put my dream of hiking in the mountains on hold for now. Even though I came to the United States, I have still remembered the scenery mountain, the special plants and the vast sea in my hometown. For example, there are variety wild colorful flowers and different kind of green plants grew all around the mountain. Looked for  further distance, I become more calm down. Besides that, I always sat on the top of arc stone construction and overlooked the extensive sea while I felt distressed and sorrow. Because this is the best way for me to relax and calm thinking. Although there is another replacement called Lake Michigan near my house, it is hard to have the same emotion and sensation as I had back home. I have found some place to relax, but Chicago is a seriously huge metropolis which is filled with rushing, busy and noisy atmosphere. In fact, it is hard to found a good place to relax. There is no doubt that Chicago is a prosperous business city, but not a tranquil place.  

Finally, the beer festival is one of the unique festival in my hometown, which occurs on July 2. Historically, it is a magnificent festival, which attracts a number of people every year, and people enjoy this grand celebration with great expectation of delicious food, beverage and alcohol. The most impressive view for me is the splendid evening fireworks. Even though there are fireworks show at Navy Pier in Chicago, I still prefer watching them in my hometown. Compared with the Chinese, Chicago`s fireworks are slower and the show are shorter. Meanwhile, Navy Pier`s fireworks are more monotonous and less innovative. Even through , I lost beer festival this summer, I hope I can join in next summer in China.  

In conclusion, my friends and I have common joyful and distressed memory in summer. Our laugh, our tear, and our celebrations were organized around of special summer. Even though I left something significant in China, I will never forget them and I try to create new memories here in Chicago. I absolutely miss China, but I really appreciate that I was born in China and now I can enjoy both American and Chinese individual customs.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015


The atmosphere of the Chinese New Year in China is lively, but the atmosphere of this festival has lost its translation in Chicago.  Chinese New Year was my favorite holiday in China, and it is the most important holiday for Chinese people. When I was in China, I could feel the mirthful atmosphere of the Chinese New Year, and the festival is filled with people do a lot of things in the New Year holiday; for example, they set off fireworks, go hiking, and decorate their houses. During the Chinese New Year, I did a lot of activities, visited relatives, and ate a lot of food. However, since I immigrated to the United States, I have lost the atmosphere of the Chinese New Year.
The traditional way of celebrating New Year’s customs have been lost. When I lived in China, on New Year’s Eve, my sisters and I did not go to sleep all night. Instead, we did a lot of activities. After dinner, my family and I watched the Spring Festival Eve TV Show on television. It was really brilliant, and we all laughed the whole time.  At midnight, we set off fireworks and fire crackers to welcome the New Year. Outside the house, there was a lot of deafening noise and an amazing atmosphere. Every child received “lucky money” from parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents.  My sisters and I played poker and bet money the whole night, and enjoying the time together.  In the United States, on the other hand, all the activities had gradually faded away. The Chinese New Year obviously not a holiday in the United States and everyone has to go to work. My family and I do not have any time to play, watch TV shows, and nobody sets off fireworks.
            In addition, visiting relatives is a Chinese traditional custom during the New Year. While I was in China, in the morning of first day of the New Year, my family and I dressed in our best clothes to have tea in a restaurant. During the New Year, my family and I stayed at home and waited for my aunt’s or uncle’s family to visit us, and we went out to pay a New Year’s call. On the second day, my family and I left home to visit our relatives while my grandmother stayed at home.  I said “Happy New Year” to everyone, and everyone said it back to me. Some of my relatives lived in the same city, but we seldom saw each other. When I saw my cousins in New Year, I talked with them about studies, places to go, and shopping. It was a very pleasant chat. In the United States, all the relatives live near my family house, and we live on the same street. In fact, even though I have some relativity here, they are usually busy.

Finally, family meals have also disappeared. During the festival, my family bought plenty of food to eat and gifts to share. When my family and I went to visit our relative’s house, they prepared a lot of sugar and cookies for visitors.  My parents also prepared many sweet sugary snacks for visitors, and they were very delicious. On the fourth day of Chinese New Year, all my relatives came to my family house to pay a New Year call, and there was a big party. Everybody helped each other and cooked up a lovely dinner that was very healthy and delicious. I will never forget the flavor because the taste of the food is different in the United States. There are many different Chinese cultures from different places in Chicago, and the taste is really different from my hometown.

Since I immigrated to the United States, I never set off fireworks, I don’t visit relatives, and the food has changed a lot. Everything has changed a lot because the atmosphere in Chicago is tranquil. During the New Year, and I feel particularly lost.  In addition, there is no real holiday for Chinese New Year in United States and most Chinese people is busy because they need to study or have a job. The only time I feel the atmosphere of the Chinese New Year is when the parade through Chinatown.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Eating Culture
       There are many different eating cultures in the world. Each country has 
its own history and culture which is the reason there are many special eating 
habits. It helps people realize where are they come from and influences their 
own lifestyle. I lived in China for twenty-five years and loved the Chinese 
food very much. As it has a long history, the eating habits in China have 
special styles, and they are famous around the world. Even though there are 
many Chinese restaurants in Chicago, they also mixed with the local culture 
and the tastes are different compared to China. The unfamiliar style makes 
me have a particular nostalgia for the eating culture of China.
        When I was in China, the food market was near my house, and the 
ingredients in the market were fresh. Most of the vegetable and meat, they 
were selling just in one day. If they left in the second day, the sellers always 
sold them at a lower price. That was the reason that I went to the market 
everyday to buy some fresh food for my family’s dinner. However, it 
changed when I arrived in the United States. My first place in Chicago was 
far from the market, so I couldn’t go to the market everyday because it would 
waste a lot of time on shopping. In addition, the most of the food was stored 
in the refrigerator. People consider that keeping the meat frozen is safer than 
into the air and putting the vegetable in low temperature can retain its 
freshness. This new approach to storing and selling food made me feel that 
the food was not as fresh as I had eaten in China, even I just bought them 
from the market.
     When I lived in China, I loved eating soup because soup always followed 
the seasons. In the summer, my family would cook vegetable soup because 
they can provide me much vitamin C to make us feel healthier. In the winter, 
my family liked to put some medicinal ingredients and meat to cook the 
soup. It would let me feel warmer and provided me more energy. In the 
United States, I have tasted the soup in the restaurant, but it was dense and 
sweet. It made me feel very strange and didn’t want to eat it at dinner. 
It tasted more like the dessert than soup. In addition, another reason that I 
like Chinese soup is because it can help me relax and remember my mother. 
Since I have immigrated to Chicago, I liked to eat a cup of soup. At this 
moment, I always remember how my mother was always busy working on 
the chicken and how she taught me to cook the soup. 

          Finally, the happy family time is reason that I miss my the Chinese 
eating culture. In China, I was busy working on the daytime. When I sat 
together with my family around the table, I would feel relaxed and always 
shared some interesting information with our family, it was the time that I 
communicated with my family. When I arrived in the United States, my 
family and I didn’t eat together everyday. Their working times were 
different. Sometimes, they had to work until 11 o’clock at night, so I 
needed to eat the dinner just by myself. It always made me feeling lonely.  
         I have been living in Chicago for one year, and I am still nostalgic for 
the eating culture of China. I have considered that time will change it, but it 
hasn’t yet. Now, the Chinese eating culture has a deep place in my heart 
because it is not only the culture that I miss, but it is also represent how I 
miss my parents and my countryside. Even though I have to adapt the native 
culture in Chicago, I still try my best to keep our own eating culture with 
my family.




Family Time

Family Time

            When my family and I moved from China to Chicago, I figured out that we had a family time problem. Now that we are here, my family is very happy that we had the chance to come to the United States, but everyone in my family is very busy because my parents need money to support the family. In addition, my sister and I are busy with studying in college. My family only has one day a week to get together in Chicago. It has also affected my sister’s and my education because we can’t share some things about our school with our parents. I haven’t even taken a trip with my family. Since my family moved to Chicago, there have been significant changes to our family structure due to our new busy lives.

            First, my family and I have decreased our communication because we have less time to spend time with each other. Each of us has different schedules, but in China, my family and I spent time together every day. Now, my parents work in the restaurant for twelve hours, and only have one day off a week. However, in Guangdong, China, my parents only worked eight hours a day and had two days off each week. It’s a custom in China for people to have two hours to go home to eat lunch with their family; during that time, we could talk and share what I learned in school. My parents used to share their work experiences with me, but this custom has changed. Now when my parents come back from work, I am usually asleep. However, when I wake up in the morning, they are still sleeping. When we have a chance to meet each other, we don’t even have any comment to share with each other. After my family and I immigrated to Chicago, we missed our connection with each other because we did not have the same experiences that we had in China.
Furthermore, our time for recreation has also disappeared when my family and I came to Chicago. My parents always think about how to earn more money from work because they want to use money to provide a better life for my sister and me. My parents also spend a lot of time at work because we need to pay rent, car payment, taxes and other bills every month. Back in China, my family did not need to pay any property tax. Also, the house that my family and I lived in we inherited from previous generation, but in Chicago we had to start from scratch. In China, we only payed the price of the house after we pay it off, then we were done with the house. Living in Chicago, my family and I have lost a lot of joy because my parents spend most of time working and less time with my sister and me.
Finally, my family also used to be an important part of my education. In Chicago, my parents are very busy with their job, so I have lost their support in my education. In addition, my parents do not know any English, and they cannot help me with my homework. When I was in China, my parents spent most of the time with me doing homework and sent me to tutoring. After I came to Chicago, my family did not ask me if I wanted tutoring. In addition, since I started school here, they do not care about how or what I learn. My parents’ only say, “Study hard now, so you will find a better job.” If I try my best to finish my education, I am not sure that I will have a job to support my family because I know that are many unemployed people in the United States. My parents want to help me with my education, but they cannot because of the language difference. The only thing that they can tell me is to study hard.

It is impossible to go back; we can only move forward. Moving to Chicago made my family and I change our whole lives. My parents only focus on money because they need money to support the family which means that I lost a lot the part of adolescent time with my family. This experience of moving to the United States that my family has been bittersweet. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Lost Chinese Festival

Festivals are manifestation of culture. China has many interesting traditional festivals, my favorite is Mid-Autumn Festival. When I was in China, it was a special day to eat moon cakes, and have a family reunion. One year ago, my family immigrated to the U.S., which has different traditional way of celebrating. As a result, our lives has changed, and we have lost the Mid-Autumn Festival. As my family began another life and began fitting into different culture, some of our original culture has gotten lost in the transition.

            I really miss the traditional Chinese moon cake, which is a special desert only for Mid-
Autumn Festival. The United States also has Chinese moon cakes, and many stores in Chinatown will sell them when Mid-Autumn Festival is coming. However, when I eat a bite of it, it still makes me miss Chinese moon cake. In China, there are more kinds of moon cake which are not available in the U.S., and their taste is better. Also, I used to make moon cakes in China. Homemade food is more delicious than anything. After I arrived in the U.S., I no longer made moon cakes. One of the reasons is there are not enough ingredients here. Another reason is my American life because now my most of time is used for studying and working. After I finish that, I am tired, and do not like to spend time making moon cakes anymore. Without the traditional moon cake, my Mid-Autumn Festival loses the taste, it is not sweet as before.             

            Not only has my favorite moon cake was changed, so has my family meal. Before my family came to the U.S., my mother would prepare a great dinner for Mid-Autumn Festival because this Festival was a day for family reunions. Chinese people are accustomed to having a dinner to make family reunion. In the U.S., our Mid-Autumn Festival dinner has become very simple. It is like our daily supper. The U.S. does not have a vacation for Mid-Autumn Festival, so my mother has to go to work on that day. After a whole day of work, she cannot have enough time to prepare a great dinner for my family. In fact, our family will not ever make a reunion in Mid-Autumn Festival because it seems Mid-Autumn Festival is not important here. We cannot deeply feel the holiday here, so we have a simple day with our new American Mid-Autumn Festival.
Besides eating special food and family reunions, one of most important things in Mid-Autumn Festival is worship. Chinese people like to view the Mid-Autumn moon, which is the harvest moon and the biggest moon of the whole year. At the same time, they will make worship to give thanks to the harvest. Many people will go out of the houses where they can see the moon, burn incense, and put the sacrifices under the moon to make worship. That is a complicated process. For our new life in Chicago, my family no longer practices this part of the tradition. My family has decided to fit into some of American culture, and does not care about the ancient customs. We have chosen to forget some complicated traditions, or make them simple.

            When life is changed, thoughts are changed, and some of traditions are lost. As I eat a humbugger, enjoy the Christmas Day, and walk on the Michigan Avenue, I am not an original Chinese person anymore, and my cultural identity has been changed. As I try to fit into American life, it means that I will lose a few Chinese customs, but I have to do that. This means that I need to keep a simple, very simple Mid-Autumn Festival. The longer I live in the U.S., the more I realize that I just need to let some things go. It is enough that I remember how the Mid-Autumn were while I was growing up.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Five Fingers

                            I am a person who loves to eat. When I was in my country, Kyrgyzstan, almost every day I ate fresh meat, organic vegetables, and fruit. Before I arrived to Chicago, I thought that the United States had everything, and it was true. In the U.S. there are a lot of ethnicities, and they have their own cuisine. Since I came to Chicago I have tried various cuisines. It is amazing that to be in a just in one country and try different kinds of dishes. Even though I like Chicago and the various cuisine I miss some aspects of my native culture, especially organic fruit, vegetables, and Kyrgyz tradition food.

             I miss fresh meat. In Kyrgyzstan, most of the people rarely buy meat from market because almost every family has a relative living in rural areas, and they breed cattle, sheep, and goats. When my family needs meat, we just call my grandmother. In Kyrgyzstan almost every man knows how to kill sheep, cow, horse, and goat. My uncle who lives with my grandmother can kill a sheep or cow.  Almost every day someone from the rural areas comes to the city Bishkek, and most of people in rural areas know each other, so my grandmother can send my family the meat with the person who coming to Bishkek. Unfortunately, in Chicago this luxury impossible for me because I don’t know anyone who lives in rural areas. Even it were possible in Chicago I think it would be very expensive because all organic food prices are incredibly high. The meat that I buy from a grocery store tastes totally different. It almost taste like rubber, and also the color is strange not red more light brown. Correspondingly, I cannot buy whole lamb or sheep in Chicago because for Kyrgyz tradition dish needs more meat. In my country when my family kills a sheep, it means big an event. For example, we invite all of our relatives to share meal. This is a good reason to be close to each other. The meat boils in its own broth for several hours and is served over homemade noodles sprinkled with green onion, red and black pepper. Women make special bread Borsok fried in oil, and make noodles for tradition dish Besh Barmak (in English it is five fingers because the dish is typically eaten by hands). In Chicago I cannot afford such a treat.



             In Kyrgyzstan all fruit and vegetables ripen in the fall season. The taste is amazing. Almost in every house there are several fruit on the table like apples, pears, peaches, watermelon, and of course, melon. The melon in my country is different when compare to Chicago’s. It is oval, big (minimum one melon is 22 pounds), yellow, and juicy. The smell is incredibly crazy. Maybe in the U.S. there is that kind of melon, but I haven’t seen them yet. Vegetables are different too, they are all organic without any chemical. In Chicago many vegetables and fruit are tastefully nothing compare with Kyrgyzstan’s. Also in Chicago organic fruit and vegetables are very expensive; for example last week I bought five apples for five dollars. In my country for five dollars I can buy almost five kilograms of apples. The fall season is very a respectable time in my country. Most people to plan their events like wedding, and housewarming for this season. In the fall we had a lot of fun because of events like that. Despite it was my favorite season in my country, I can’t say the same thing for U.S. In Chicago I feel myself lonely because all my days are like the movie ‘’Groundhog Day’’, everything is same day by day nothing special.



In the Chicago, there are several Kyrgyz restaurants, and their dishes very delicious, but it is not the same as homemade food.  Although I go to Kyrgyz restaurants here, they do not feel familiar because In Kyrgyzstan most of people enjoy their meal sitting on a floor, not around table. Enjoying meal in Kyrgyz culture is not just eating, but also talking to each other, spending fun times, and getting advice, and blessing from elderly. In Chicago, when I am going to eat with my American friends, it is different because they do not like talk while eating, if I start to talk with them they stop eating and l feel myself ill-bred. For addition, Kyrgyz people like a drink tea and eat bread with every meal.  The first time when I had dinner with my American friends and when I ordered stake with tea and bread at the restaurant, they looked at me as strangely. Fortunately, they now used to my habits and sometimes they order bread or tea for me without asking.



 I never thought that I would miss my country food, my noisy relatives, and eating etiquette. While I am in Chicago, I can just daydream about Besh-Barmak, melon, and our events. When people live in another country, they start to value their culture, traditions, and beliefs. I like living in Chicago, and maybe one they I will be familiar with its cuisine, people, and values. Despite this, I never will forget the taste of meat in my country, and that crazy smell of melon. I will always miss my country’s cuisine.