By Haojie Shi
I was very excited to receive the invitation from Post Falls High School in the United States. But there is also a hint of being upset. What would this small town in the northwestern United States look like? Google Maps shows a large piece of buildings. At the same time there are large forests around it. My feeling for this town is both new and strange. This is the residence and working place for me for the next two years when I teach Chinese here, Post Falls.
Arriving at the school, both the headmaster and every colleague showed great enthusiasm for me. When the principal put the school key in my hand, I felt being accepted and recognized. Every day at work, my colleagues’ warm greetings and smiles quickly made me feel that this is not a strange city but my far-away home across the ocean.
My friendship with this city stems from the teacher in the same office with me. Her name is Sam. Since we each only teach 3 classes, we share the same classroom, which doubles as our office. When I first arrived, I was confused about many things. Sam showed great patience with me. She took me on all occasions, big or small, and explained to me everything carefully. In fact, Sam is also newly coming to Idaho from Washington State this year. She is not very clear about many things herself. However, she still helps me as much as possible. With her help, coupled with a dedicated teacher, Ryan, who the school assigned to help me solve all kinds of difficulties in my life, my work and life in the new school will be much smoother.
In addition to helping me at work, Sam also brought me to her family to visit her grandparents. Her family is very friendly to me. I made dumplings for everyone and they prepared a variety of Asian foods. A party where everyone was happy. What she did gave me a lot of comfort in my heart when I was so away from my loved ones. Sam’s relatives and friends include Russians, Italians, Yemeni, and Mexicans. Together with the Americans and I, a Chinese, we all joke that it is a United Nations. With staying longer in the United States, I feel that this situation is quite common. Before I came here, people told me that the United States is “a melting pot”, and I did not understand it well. When I saw my students include people coming from all over the world, black people, Asians, Europeans, etc., I gradually understood the meaning of “melting pot”. All of them think that they are Americans and they are all getting well with each other.
Thanks to Sam being my friend and family, I have a lot of convenience in my life in Post Falls. If I need a lift, Sam will drive me to the station. Once she and her husband drove to Spokane Airport to pick me up.I was very touched and deeply felt the warmth of being cared and helped in a foreign country.All her family ,like her, treat me as a member of their family. A few days ago, Sam had her 27-year-old birthday party and I celebrated her birthday with her family. On weekends we will meet for outings, walks, shopping and tasting fine food. No matter how far away from home, where there are friends is hometown.
Because after all, thousands of miles away from home, I have few friends and relatives. Thus students are my friends and loved ones who I see and greet every day. The Meiyun family has just arrived in Idaho from California for a year. On Thanksgiving Day, they invited me to visit their home. I brought them Chinese cuisine, dumplings that I was very good at. The whole family loved it very much. They are very hospitable. Meiyun told me that because she wanted to invite guests to the house, she and her mother cleaned up for several days. The turkey that his father made is very delicious, which is full of juice and delicious. Her father told me, to make a good turkey, one need to add water to it repeatedly. It takes an estimated one day to do a good job. This is my first Thanksgiving Day in the United States, which taught me the true meaning of Thanksgiving: to help people who need help; to express thanks to those who give you care.
Dalong’s grandmother had been to Shanghai, China in the early years and it was possible that this was one of the reasons why Dalong chose the Chinese language course. He is a very clever and studious child, who likes reading texts and writing Chinese characters. His learning is very proactive. At the same time, he is a golf enthusiast. In this year’s game, he won third place.
Because he was in the ninth grade and his competitors were all older than him, so he still has great potential. His good friend Keaton also loves learning Chinese. And his performance has become more and more proactive. Keaton had his fifteenth birthday the other day and his family invited me to attend his birthday party. We did bowling with his family and his best friends. Everyone was very happy! Keaton’s father is a very polite and caring person. Keaton’s mother is a very diligent person who takes care of her family. There is also a girl named Shu Fang in my class, who is full of love and yearning for the culture of China and South Korea. She has learned a lot of Chinese songs. She and her good friends will chat with me every day after class, and they are concerned about my life. She would tell me her newly favorite Chinese and Korean singers and songs. When you are with the kids, you will always feel their innocence. They love you and Chinese from the bottom of their hearts.
It is with the friendship and love of colleagues, friends, and students that every day in Post Falls of mine is full of sunshine. A year has passed since I first came to Post Falls. Feeling how time flies, while I also feel that my friendship with this town has taken root.
I just installed a network at home, and the master who installed the network told me that he was the parent of one of my students. So we chatted happily.
Spring has come and summer is coming. The most beautiful season in Post Falls has arrived. Welcome friends from afar to have a chance to visit my American home.