What I’ve Learned

My mom’s coming back in a few days, and that made me reflect on all these years I’ve spent in America growing up without her near. Sure, I’ve visited for a few summers back in elementary school, but other than that, I got by with my relatives and my grandparents. When I first returned to America after 3 years in Guangzhou I had to take speech classes because I couldn’t pronounce the “th” or “sh” sounds. If you think I’m mean, I was even ruder than I am right now (when I moved out of her home and into my dad’s, my aunt for some reason told me that a friend’s mother called me “just plain rude” when I first came here). I played all day, distracted and bossed everyone around, and received the worst grades imaginable.

8 years later, some things have changed, others stayed. Through much heartaches and headache, I care enough about grades to be considered “doing well” in school. I still use my the internet for an emotional crutch. But instead of reading rubbish on Quizilla, I’m gaining insight on everything the world has to offer. As the oldest person in the house who can speak English fluently, I learned independence and responsibility, not that my relatives would recognize it of course. I’m still don’t have an ideal figure, but I’ve lost enough weight to not consider myself “fat.”

And in the past year, I decided to burn my bridges and let these years all sink in. Although we’re still on speaking level, I’ve cut commitments to my classmates, since I’ll be leaving them. To avoid drama, I’ve emotionally isolated myself from my friends and in order to let myself leave in peace, I coldly remind my family that I’m leaving. In the end, I survived and succeeded without them, but my heart has closed up.

What now? I want to learn how to drive, so I can see the beauty of California. Before I watch my last sunset, I want to explore Los Angeles and sit on the beach on my own. That way, I’ll have something beautiful to call home instead of the ugliness of forced family reunions with relatives who shake their heads and sigh at the sight of me.


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