Skip to main content Skip to footer content

Zhuo Quan Li

My Memoir

By: Zhuo Quan Li

"Life will not be the same as it is in China," grandma told me when I was ready to come to America. As I had already known, it would not be same since I am moving to a new country and getting in to a new high school. However, what else can be different?

Before I came to the United States, with my limited knowledge, I thought that everybody from around the world was all the same, For me, moving in to a new country is just like moving to another house from the next block, quite simple. However, once I arrived in America, I started to realize that it is not simple at all.

Yes, I moved in to a new house, but the house is very different from the one that I was living in China. The walls are made of wood and sheetrock, compared to the brick house in China, which was just like an egg and a stone. I do not feel secure living in this house. And in the United States, people live independently. I could not even see some of my relatives once a year since they are living so far away. In China, many members of my family were living nearby and we saw each other all the time. I never felt alone in China.

And yes, I got in to a new high school, but the way they taught and the classmates were totally different from my old school. Many of my teachers are kind or maybe too kind and that makes their students not listen to them and do all kings of violent activities. My classmates are multicultural, and in each class I have different classmates, so maybe because of this, many people do not have long and real friendships in school. Each of them is isolated from the word "Culture". They only stick with those who are just like them. For the first time I have actually learned the meaning of "diversity". One of the major causes for this word is the language barrier since people speak different languages, and there is no way for them to communicate. In contrast, in China, I can actually find friendships in school that last longer than in the United States. Although the teachers are strict and sometimes they even beat their students, that kept everything in order and every student would learn something in class. No one would be left behind.

It took me a while to learn English. In the beginning, I couldn't even read a sentence without checking the dictionary. I took out a book for 3rd grade from the library, opened it, and I felt so bad that I couldn't understand any of those words. Even though, it is hard to overcome the language barrier, I kept telling myself not to give up because this is something that I had to do in order to live in the United States.

As the time went by, I worked hard to get rid of the language barrier and my English improved. I gradually got used to this diverse society. Now, I am feeling more comfortable with the way the teachers teach and I enjoy the class activities. I like the discussions over the novels or stories, and arguments about different answers, I actually learned more from those friendly argues than just reading the book alone. And I found out that some students are friendly too, they love to talk and help the other. I love to be friends with them even if I know that this kind of friendship will be gone when we all graduate high school. I enjoy the times we have and will never forget that they are my friends from high school. Furthermore, I always learn something by interacting with people from different social backgrounds.