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America, My Home Essay Contest

America, My Home

Feifei P.
Brighton High School
Rochester, New York
Sponsoring Station: WXXI, Rochester, New York

The plane was taking off. Gravity pulled me lean on the back of the seat. Seeing the trees, roads, cars and buildings became more and more blurry in my sight, I felt my brain was blank. "Hey, I'm really going to leave tomorrow…" I called my best friend the night before I left. "Don't forget to swim across the Pacific Ocean to visit me." She said after the long silence. Yes, for me at that time, America was truly just Hollywood and Disneyland on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. But soon enough, I would find out the real America by myself.

Before I knew, I was already breathing the air of San Francisco, my first stop. The Hip-Hop music coming from the radio was really loud, and people were trotting. I could even feel the fast beat of that city in the car. Something was not in that rush though — the pigeons. They were taking a walk leisurely on the street, did not afraid of people, as though if the hurry did not belong to them at all. That scene was never to be seen in my country.

When the last piece of furniture was moved into my apartment, my dad signed: "we have a home in America now."

"Rochester, New York." In the first summer, I used to touch the unacquainted address on the envelope every time we got letters, practiced to recite telephone number and close my eyes to feel the wind. So my new life just had begun unconsciously.

Almost nothing fitted what I imagined about the High School. Because it was a lot better than what I supposed. I thought I would be lonely, no one would talk to me, but actually at the end of the first of school, I already had known someone who I could consider as friend. Things were indeed not easy though. I held the map of the school building, and finally found my way to classroom after asking three people for direction. Teachers were nothing like the strict teacher in China, they were patient and funny. They were willing to be students' friends. I used to say, "Sorry, my English is very bad." at the beginning of the school year every time when I finished talking with someone. Once I was sitting outside of school gate on the stairs and talking to a girl, when I said my formal conclusion sentence, she said "Oh no, your English is very good!" and gave me a shinny smile. In my memory, the sky of that afternoon was as limpid as a lake with glittering sunshine...

Honestly, I did not understand or feel much every morning when we put our right hand on the left chest and say the oath towards the flag. Until one day the school showed the commemoration of 9.11 on the TV, I saw many teacher cried. I suddenly realized that America is their home, was just like someone attacked their home and hurt their sister or brother. The oath to the Stars and Stripes is not just about a verb, a pose; it's about the feeling of home.

Most sunny days of Rochester are mild. I will sit in front of the desk and look up to those cotton-candy-like clouds through the window. Or I will always take a walk in the dusk on some clean and quiet bypath, the tip of the church, which is tinged by the orange afterglow and the tall Chinars along the path, which sings softly in the wind, always make me think I have crashed in to a fairyland.

I know that I felt and still feel the love when I was singing the national anthem of my country, China. And America is where I live and study now. It is my second home. I am getting the excellent education here, I have met lovely and patriotic people here, and I have seen the charming scene here. I am experiencing a totally different lifestyle here.

Close my eyes, I still can see the tears on my grandparents' face in the airport; I can still smell the thick Natee on every street of San Francisco; I can still remember once there was a girl who was too nervous to decide whether to wear a pink or white T-shirt on the first day of school. After a year and a half living in America, I'm still that happy little girl, except when I think about America, it is not more far away across the Pacific Ocean, it is where my new life is, it is my home. And another thing is that I can be the person to show others the direction to the classroom now.

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