Personal Narrative: My Transition From Chinese To American Culture

649 Words3 Pages
Reaching over the counter, I managed to grasp the $10 bill hanging from the customer’s hand. I heard the cashier call out another order in a language that might as well have been Klingon. Even though I lived in China until age four, I couldn’t comprehend any words shouted between the chef and cashier at my parents’ Chinese restaurant. I grew up sitting behind the cash register, oblivious to everything said around me, solving quadratic equations in one hand and packaging sesame chicken with the other.
Born in the U.S., I was raised in China by my grandma from two months old until age four, when I moved to America to be reunited with my parents. Transitioning from Chinese to American culture was troublesome, especially when communicating. On the first day of school, I walked into the classroom with my pigtails and my Doraemon shoes, feeling like an alien entering an extraterrestrial planet. As a child never exposed to the English language, something as simple as asking to use the restroom felt impossible. Everything spoken was incoherent.
Through grades K-8, I was one of the few Asian students in the class at my small Catholic school in the Bronx. Not wanting to stand out, I traded my Chinese Qipao (a traditional dress) for a Forever 21 sweatshirt and American Eagle jeans. At dinner, I
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On the first day, I struck up a conversation with a Chinese girl in my global history class who was born in America, spoke fluent Mandarin, and had vast knowledge of her culture. She talked about her admiration for K-pop and favorite Asian foods, which I had never heard of until that day. I was filled with awe and shock, faced with my meager knowledge of my own culture. I was so deeply integrated in American culture that I had lost touch with my roots. However, the last four years at Flushing High School have allowed me to learn more about where I came from, and have formed who I am as a
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