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Huanhua Chen


By: Huanhua Chen

Since I came to the United States, everything changed in my life. Obviously, the living environment around me changed; the language I spoke and the culture all had changed. Most importantly, my personality changed.

Before I came to the United States, I was a happy, friendly and optimistic boy who lived with my parents in a big house. I was a good student in school, I got respect from the teachers and students, and I went to school with the boys and girls in my village. They were very close to me; they spent time with me and they faced problems with me. Actually they were not just my best friends, they were my brothers and sisters. In the harvest season, I helped my parents harvest the crops that we planted in the spring. During the new year, I spent the happiest time with my relatives, friends and parents. I never thought of coming to the United States, although my parents had mentioned this to me several times. But I didn't care; maybe I just didn't want to lose the happy life I already had.

Finally, I came to the United States in May 2000, which was the time I was in 8th grade in my junior high school. After I moved in to live with my uncle in Queens, NY, I felt like I was living in the cage. The house was so small compared to the house I used to live in and everybody closed their door all the time. I lost all of my friends and relatives; I also lost my happiness and optimism. I became irascible when things were not going my way. And I became lonely; the loneliness came at night and that especially killed me. Then every time I thought about the happy moments that I had in my village, my tears came out slowly from my eyes. When I started attending Newcomer High School in Queens, I felt isolated, because I didn't know how to speak English to the teachers and students. Many students hung around the hallways and the classrooms during the free time, but none of them were my friends. Finally, I felt better in school when I became close with a couple of boys that came from my village.

My loneliness came again after school and during the weekend. I wanted to hang out with my new friends, but my parents wouldn't let me, because they were afraid that I might get lost in this big, busy city. A year later, I moved in to an apartment in Brooklyn and I attended a new school. Things became a lot worse than I thought. I missed my new friends and I didn't have a friend in my new school. Everyday, I came to school like a walking mummy. Right now, I have a few friends in the school, but we don't hang out often. We just hang around in the school and talk on the phone.

If I ever had a chance to choose whether or not to come to the United States, I definitely would choose to stay in my own country. Reality was cruel and I did come to the United States. The only hope that I have now is to go to a good college and get a good job.