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November 30, 2011

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Food helped me change my attitude

WHEN my parents told me that our whole family decided to move to Shanghai, China, I was astounded! My first questions were, "Why do we need to move? What about my friends here? What about my school?" I was born and grew up in Texas and I didn't want to leave my hometown. My resistance was firm but, I had no choice.

As soon as I set foot in Shanghai, I was disappointed by the new environment. China was really different from the United States because there were too many cars and people, and it was a lot more packed and dirty. My mom knew that I had an appetite for Chinese food so she used it as a turning point for me to like China. She brought me to various restaurants in China: Have you ever tasted the crab soup bun which has delicious crab juice inside? And the varieties of dumplings and wontons, boiled, fried and steamed? I enjoy all of them and it was a feast-of-a-lifetime for my stomach! After that, I started looking at the positive side of China.

Once I started changing my attitude toward China, things really brightened up. I go to Concordia International School Shanghai. It is a multicultural environment and provides many opportunities. As a fifth grader, I joined the debate team, choir club, swimming team and fencing club. We even preformed a choir concert with the Ireland Orchestra at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center which is a big theater in Shanghai! Last year I tried the 2010 China National Amateur Fencing Tournament and it was so much fun. I started to like living in Shanghai and my new school.

Moving to China opened my eyes and now I can see more people in their needs. At school we were able to raise 61,000 yuan (US$10,000) for poverty-stricken children who were waiting for money for heart surgery. When I learned these kids recovered after their operation, I was happy to be able to save their lives. This encouraged me, so I'm planning to initiate and organize another fundraising group to make and sell fresh sugar cane juice so that we can use the money to buy books for the poor kids to support their education in the school for the migrant students.

Moving to China helped my Chinese jump to another level. In the past when I walked in the street, each Chinese character didn't mean anything to me because I didn't know any of them. Now I find that they are so meaningful and informative after I learned more and more of them. When I read each Chinese character to my mom in the subway, she is so surprised and excited about my Chinese progress. Chinese is so much easier than I thought.

Moving to China gave me opportunities to be more grown up and independent. Now I need to commute between Shanghai and my hometown of Dallas by myself because my parents are not available, due to work. This summer when I traveled alone from Shanghai to Dallas (my first time traveling without adult accompaniment) a flight attendant asked me to translate to a handicapped old Chinese woman sitting near me. I also helped her find the gate for her next flight in Chicago. I felt that I grew up a lot and I was proud of myself.

I share my international experience of moving to China in case you need to move to China or any other place, such as going to college.

Here are three pieces of advice. First, don't be afraid of moving; quickly get out of the low mood if you don't like the new place. Second, if the environment can't change, change yourself, change your attitude. Always have a positive attitude. Third, get more involved. The more active you are, the more you will like it.


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