By Xiao Y.
Grade 12, Oregon
Country of Origin: China

I was just a regular teenager in China, going to school, as my normal life. One day I came back home at 6:00 PM, and I saw my family, my older brother, my mother, and my father at the family table. They were disscussing what would it be like if we lived in the United States. They were thinking of moving. I was surprised; i didn't expect that we would go to another country. I thought we would live in China forever. My fahter told me that it would be a better life for the family and better education than in China. My uncle was already living in the United States, in Oregon; he's a manager of a Chinese restaurant. He offered a job for the whole family. My father bought the tickets and we got visas and Chinese passports. We traveled on a plane. The Chinese government says that we can't ever return to live in China, but we can come for a vacation. I was sad to leave but I didn't have any friends in China. When we got to the airport in Portland, Oregon. My uncle was waiting to take us to his house. We had a little money, to start renting a house. we started living on our own. I like our other house in china, it was bigger and better. I was 17 years old. When we immigrated, my parents wanted me to go to high school and learn English. I was scared, because I didn't know any English. I was put in ELL classes, which was ok, but i had no friends. I was a junior that time, but I was a senior twice. While I was going to school I also had to work at my uncle's restaurant, in the kitchen, washing dishes and cooking, but I wanted to be a waitress. It was easier, so i studied really, really hard to speak, read, and write English. Two months passed and I got the job as a waitress. I was really happy but scared at first. In school I was in Intermediate English; then my senior year for 2nd semester I was in Advanced English. When the freshman students came, I met a friend in math class. She loved Asians more than her race and she loved Chinese culture and the people. Her name was Janette. She was the first Mexican friend I had ever met and then she introduced me to her other friend Flor, who was really funny. But Janette was kind and helped me get through High school by helping me in my English, math, and science classes. My life in school was more fun and easier when I had someone who likes Chinese. My mother and father they were proud of me when I graduated. They don't know and English, but they're learning. My brother learned English on his own and got ahead more than me. He became manager in the same restaurant but in a different city. He is better in English than me, but I never see him. As a family we will always stay together in the United States. On Chinese New Year we are even happier and closer, I'll never forget the roots of my culture in China.

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