Thursday, January 21, 2010
17.01.2010 - 21.01.2010 -10 °C
My parents took a train this morning at 9:10 to go to Shenyang, my dad’s hometown. Even though their time in Harbin was short, cameras and words capture the best parts of it. I find myself avoiding most of stereotypes of studying abroad. Our AFS preparation books said that we will feel homesick before leaving, when we arrive at our new country, and when our parents come and see us. I have managed to avoid all three. I think there is a difference between homesickness and missing certain people. In the case of homesickness, one desires to have their home setting. Missing someone means you have missed the presence of that someone. Missing my family members has happened to me, but it has not evoked a homesick feeling. I don’t long for my old school or the environment where I have spent the last 16 years growing up. I have left that old life to join a novel experience.
At last Sunday’s lunch, I had made a comparison to the novel "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" written by C.S. Lewis. It reminded of back in 5th grade I had participated in "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" play as Susan. Coincidentally, when I was flipping through some channels, there was a short introduction to the movie based on the book. It reinforced my analogy that Zach is Peter, Nancy is Susan, Matt is Edward, and I am Lucy. Because of our age, we are by default placed into these roles, but I find some people play their roles better than others. Zach definitely fits the Peter role because he does have that knight-in-shining-armor image. Before winter break began, we had an ice rink at our school and Zach competed in a speed skating competition. Of course, he won and had exhibited his athletic abilities to his entire class and to his homeroom teacher. I can say everyone is proud of Zach and of his abilities.
As for Nancy, she is kind-hearted and caring. In fact, all of us do go to her to pour our thoughts and ourselves into her. Matt plays his role perfectly. Like Edward, there was a young, immature nature but since, Matt has grown to be more mature and understanding. I can say he’s my best guy friend in Harbin. As for me, you’ll hear in a second. These roles has helped defined our team to become somewhat like a family. In 5th grade, I had played Susan, but it was not a key role. However, since I have been in China, I felt I have taken on a larger role by becoming Lucy. Have you ever felt like you had taken on a larger role just by shifting your environment?
Not only have I been thrown into the Lucy costume, I have been thrown into a leadership position. Out of our Harbin AFS group, I had been hurled the position as leader. Last week in Yunnan our AFS liason, Ms. Li, automatically gave me the title as leader. I was to make sure everyone was present, lead group activities, and translate. The only reason why I would be given this position, which is the same reason I have been given for any important role, is because I have the most experience for the needed role. I knew the most Chinese and had exhibited myself as a leader at Harbin No. 1 High School. Just as Lucy had opened the wardrobe which had unexpectedly led her and her siblings to Narnia, I have helped my classmates interact with Chinese people. The task could be as insignificant as buying a cake from Holiland or as demanding as reporting a lost wallet. In either case, I feel useful to all and all cases useful to me because I improve my Chinese language skills.