Life is An Amazing Road Trip

Yes, I am a scientist. Ironically, the biggest awards I got in my life have nothing to do with science. My three province-level awards in my teenage years are from speech competitions, a piano competition, and a writing contest. My hometown province has a population size like the one in California. Later on, I didn’t pursue my career to become a politician, a pianist, or a writer,

BECAUSE my parents thought all politicians are liars and most pianists and writers can’t make ends meet.

They only believe that I will have a future if I study science.

I came to the US to study biological sciences. My first stop in the US is South Carolina. My first impression of US is humble and neat. The buildings are short. The streets are clean. The skies are blue. And, the people are sweet. The first time I was called “sweetheart” at the checkout line in a grocery store, instead of feeling happy, I felt awkward. What? How can you call a total stranger sweetheart? Only after a while, I was told it is the Southern Hospitality.


Not all memories are sweet though. I faced some challenge in my first semester when I signed up for an upper-level class. I took my first in-class examination, but the score turned out to be 4 out of 10! My mind went totally blank, and all I could think of is me being expelled from school and bringing shame to my family. After class, I turned for help to my teaching assistant Gina. In her office, I tried to be calm at first. However, after a little bit, I couldn’t pretend anymore. I burst into tears.

And this is what she told me, “I came from Ukraine when I was 18. Similar things happened to me. I cried on my friend’s shoulder. However, you cannot stop fighting back.”

Later on, I became a teaching assistant myself, and I always tried to be as excellent as Gina.

My second stop in the US is Southern California. For the first two weeks, I didn’t dare to drive because every driver was always in such a rush. Lots of people looked so lost, lost in translation or transaction or something else. Only till I had made some friends, I realized that two hours east we can go skiing, two hours west we can go to the beach, two hours north I can hike in the national forest. Is there a better place in the whole US I can call my new home? I doubt it.

This New Year holiday, my boyfriend and I had a road trip from Memphis, TN to Los Angeles, CA. There was one day, we started in heavy snow in central Colorado, then saw rain in southern Colorado, the sun in Arizona and heavy clouds before sunset. Literally, four seasons within 12 hours! It’s just like my journey from China to here. I might have to experience all weathers, but overall, life is one big amazing road trip.

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