I dreamed that I was lost in a windy city, and I couldn’t find a way to go back to my hometown. In the dream, I wished I could wake up. One day, the dream became a reality, and I lost myself. I was a person who didn’t want to pursue anything, but just enjoy life. I was relaxed and enthusiastic. I looked forward to flying all around the world. At first, I was excited when I moved to Chicago. Later on, I realized my personality had changed. I lost the feeling of being alive, I lost a sense of control, and I lost a sense of identity. I lost the sense of who I am in this new country.
Compared to my hometown, Chicago is the coldest city I ever experienced, and I lost the feeling of being alive. My emotions became numb. When I lived in my little village in southern China, Fu Jian province. I felt that my world was small. I always wondered what the outside world would be like, and I wished I had a pair of wings to fly and explore the world. In the little village, people who I met were the same, but they were enthusiastic. For example, people from my village used to greet each other. Generally, they would ask what was going on, and ask if the person had breakfast, lunch, or dinner when they met each other on the street. This is the typical greeting in China. They were hospitable. When I walked on the street, I would receive greetings from everyone. Once they knew I hadn’t had my meal, they would invite me to have meal at their home. People took care of each other. The village was my home because I was comfortable, and my emotions remained relaxed. After I moved to Chicago, a cold northern city, I thought there was a chance that I would fly. Therefore, I pushed myself to become the person who lived free in the big world. Unconsciously, I kept challenging myself to catch up to the city’s rhythm. Perhaps, Chicago was too frozen, and that’s why people had fewer emotions. Some people seem not to spend much time with friends or families, because most of time they stay home in the winter. People who live in Chicago move in hurry all the time, and some don’t often communicate with each other. I haven’t gotten used to it, and I could barely move same pace as they did. My nerves have become anxious and numb. Not only is the weather cold here, but also the some people here are cold.
Living in Chicago, I have also lost a sense of control. I always thought there were rules about spending money and getting things I want. It is a good custom to first earn it and then spend it. For instance, when I lived in my village, I would not use a credit card for my shopping because I knew there was a big chance I would run out of my money. Using a credit card was not a bad thing, but the bad thing was whether I had made enough money to pay it back on time. When I arrived in Chicago, I couldn't control myself. My behavior changed. I had a new mindset. I followed people here and used a credit card. The good thing about credit cards is I can spend money first to get something that I want, and then pay for it later. Unexpectedly, I had borrowed too much money from my credit card, and I had hard time paying it back. I thought I got too comfortable so that my bills, like the number infinity, became a permanent repeating pattern. Eventually, I became impatient to get the thing that I wanted because it was an easy and fast way for me to borrow money from my credit card. After a while, I wished I could become the person that I was back home, but it was hard. Sometimes, I made make an excuse for myself, like people who live in Chicago are paying with a credit card, and I am good at adaption. However, I know the truth, which is that I am devious. I don’t want to change my behavior in this city because I have gotten too much satisfaction here. My own world has changed. No matter how much I loved to be the one to make money first, and enjoy the items that I bought from my efforts, but I couldn’t control myself, and I got lost this city.
Gradually, I couldn’t set myself free anymore in this city because I lost my sense of identity. When I lived in my village, my value was to be myself, and I didn’t have a lot of certain things. For example, I didn’t care about my grades on my homework or examinations because I knew I did my best. My grades were not who I was. I knew even if I had lost points, I would lose nothing about myself. However, since I moved to Chicago, I have gone to school here. In my mind, a degree is a ticket for my career, and grades reflected which level I was in because the grade represented me. Later on, I realized that I didn’t want to fall behind. I started to compare myself to others who had good grades. I saw their success, and I imitated them. I wanted to be like others. My requirement for myself was to get A’s because I thought it made me see clearly, which I would show off. Finally, I realized I was obsessed with grades, and I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that the number of points reflected how I felt about myself.
I wish that this was just a dream, and I could wake up. I miss the simple life in my village where I felt so relaxed. I was free, and I had a cheerful life. Living in Chicago, I feel uncomfortable because I get a chill from the people and the weather. I have followed some people here, but I lost my direction. I am looking forward to advancing myself, but I can’t find a way to be myself. In this busy and cool city, I wonder how long the flame will be left on, and how a bird will fly free.