Inbound Student Journals 2017

  • A Guest Journal: The Most Beautiful Memory of My Life

    Posted by Teacher Wang Zhenyue (Ms. Grace Wang) on 2/22/2018

    The picture of arriving at the Boston Airport is still very clear in my head. When we got out of the customs, we were immediately surrounded by gifts, flowers and applauses. At that moment, our worrying hearts which were hanging in the half way of our chest settled down.  Then we opened the curtain of our 4 months’ experience here.

    I stepped into the life of a very simple, kind and knowledgeable couples’ life. I used to live a very lazy life which I’m used to but not so proud of. Here, I see a very different life style. Both my host mum and dad work very hard although they are already in their sixties, who are almost the same age of my parents. In China, at such ages, people have always retired and lead a life style of old people, such as taking care of the grandchildren, playing Ma Jiang which is a kind of gambling game, doing square dancing, etc. When I was working at my own school, I felt so tired and I had to find something to entertain myself, or I will feel life boring and tiring. But my host mum and dad work a long time every day and never complain. Every Monday my host mum comes back very late from the night work in the library. When I say you must be tired and you should have a good rest, she always feels unhappy because of being treated as old people. I really don’t mean that because somehow, I even think they are younger than me! They think more quickly, read more books, work harder and entertain less than me. Sometimes I think that in this family, I am the old people!

    Talking about the hard working doesn’t mean that they don’t know how to entertain themselves. I always say that My host dad is a person who seems shy outside but romantic inside. He always plays some jazz music while driving, cooking and working. Once in the Thanksgiving party he even joined the dancing with the kids. His not elegant dance made me feel so moved! And when I said I may go to Karaoke with the other teacher Carrie, he said he could go and cheer for us. My host mum also plays the violin in the orchestra. She goes to a lot of rehearsals and concerts even when she is busy working. I notice that many people here have their hobbies and enjoy themselves.

    They also have a lot of social activities. In the first two months of my stay here, they take part in many election activities. They care a lot about who will be in charge of the city and what they can do for people here. In China, seldom do we care about politics. It seems very far from our life. We don’t care too much about who our president, our mayor, or our city councilor is. We just live our own life. So when people ask me what I think of Trump, it isn’t that I don’t want to answer this question, it’s really because I have no idea. I have lived in the small circle of my own life and seldom care about outside. And also when I asked my host family why they hosted so many teachers and students, they said they wanted to show them a different world and they wanted to show that there is someone who wants to help and make the world better. It is like what is said in a song that if every one gives out a little love and care, we will make a better world. I think I should care more.

    My host family also leads a very healthy life. They don’t care too much about the material things. They don’t pursuit fancy clothes or cars. I notice that my host dad’s collar of shirt has even worn out. And one of their cars are second hand. But they bought a lot of books. There are books everywhere, even in bathrooms and kitchen cupboards. They also eat organic food and even a piece of ginger is organic. They pay more attention and spend more money on the right things. When I was asked about my car brand, I even felt ashamed of the brand that I used to be proud of.

    Why I pay so much attention to the life style of my host family is not because I want to peep into their life, it is because I really admire their life style. Looking back upon my own lazy life, I feel ashamed. It reminds me a famous saying by a Chinese writer. It is said that it’s pretty easy to find a beautiful appearance, but it’s very hard to find an interesting soul . Here I have seen the interesting soul and want to be one.

    Another aspect that I want to talk about is the education here. One thing that impressed me a lot is the sources that the teachers can use here. Another is the conception of teaching and learning.

    When I first arrived here, I wanted to observe many teachers’ classes, so I sent a lot of emails although I don’t know exactly who is who. One day I happened to get to know the department head of the vocational education, Ms. Carolyn, She took me to all the shops of the vocational education and introduced the projects. That day I felt I won a big lottery because I got the chance to know how the vocational education works and what is the purpose of it. In China, we also have some kind of vocational study, but I think not everything is real and somehow like a model. But here, everything is real. In culinary, the students work in the real kitchen and serve the really customers, in carpentry, they make real furniture not just models, in automobile they fix the real cars, in day care, they take care of real kids! Also in fine and performance arts, they have the really theater, chorus and band. When I went to a Broadway show, the Cats, I was so impressed by their wonderful performance. And after I watched a musical show in the Newton North High School, I began to understand why they could perform such fantastic performance. Even in high school, they already can give such a wonderful performance, no wonder how excellent they can do it later. Also in ceramics class, I have seen so many creative works by the students. Even for a small ugly piece of work, the teacher will put it into the oven. And in design class, they even have several 3-D printers. I am really impressed by the sources the school have. I feel like I am a Grandma Liu who goes into a fancy palace, which is a famous Chinese saying, describes a person who comes from a village goes to a fancy palace and curious about many interesting things. In China, not many schools can afford this.

    Another thing that makes me think a lot is the conception of education. First, the placement of courses provide more opportunities to different type of students, which give them the chance to do what they like to do at a young age and may lead to their later carrier. And it’s also like what the vocational department head told me. The school give both the top and the poor students a way out. For those students who are not good at math or science, they may be interested in carpentry or culinary, in this way they will not be dropped out. If they don’t want to go to college, they can get a job that they are interested in after high school and for which they have got some trainings at school. For those top students, they can do a further research when they are in college. In China some kids who are not so good or have some problems are really dropped out and lead a way to criminal or can’t live on their own. They didn’t get the opportunity to do something they really like. Another conception that the American education may be different from China is that in China we teach a lot, but here the students think a lot. I have noticed that here the teachers don’t teach a lot in a class, but always get the students think a lot and express their ideas a lot. In a Chinese class, the teachers have to teach a lot of things because we have a very strict requirements of the process of teaching and learning. It’ hard to say which is good or which is bad, but after I saw the creative works in the ceramics class, I suddenly came up with an idea that a good teacher is not the person who teach you how much, but the person who can create a good atmosphere in which you want to learn.

    Four months have passed in a glance! I have a lot of things that I have wished to do, but I couldn’t finish. Especially I want to apologize to the teachers whose classes I ask to observe but I didn’t make it.   As what I talked in last night’s farewell party, being chosen to be the exchange teacher here is like a reward. When people in China get the reward, they always say thank CCTV, …TV. Here I want to say thank the Exchange Program TV, the Host Family TV, the School TV, the Teachers TV, the Students TV, the Working Staff TV, etc. I really enjoy every minute I spent with you and appreciate every favor you did for me. This is the most beautiful memory in my life. At the farewell party, I didn’t make an appointment with my tears, but it all came out at the time of saying goodbye! Some students ask me if I will come back next year. I wished but I know I couldn’t. But I really hope I can come back for a visit one day!

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  • My Christmas Experience

    Posted by Liu Zhengzuo (Barry) on 2/22/2018

       Christmas break started, like Thanksgiving, with no school assignments.

       On the first Saturday of the break, I went to my host grandparents’ house with my host family. After one and a half hours drive, we arrived at Papa’s house. Things haven’ t change a lot since the last time I came here, except the weather had become chillier, and the roads had frozen.

       We entered from the garage and met Dalian and Julian there. Papa made me a huge sandwich for breakfast and lunch, and I took a snap after this. As soon as I woke up, I heard Dalian and Julian asking their parents for going outside, once they’ve got their permission, they invited me to go sliding in the back yard, and Sofia and Alex also came.

       There is a large slope covered with grass behind the house. It boasts a width allowing 20 people standing in line, and length two times its width, and each singe piece of grass is covered with cylindrical ice, making the slope perfect for sledding.

       This is my first time sledding. Before I took my first shot, Dalian sat on his rectangular plastic sled, following by a push by Alex, sled down the hill. About 15 seconds later, he rolled out of his sled into the grass. There is a frozen lake after the end of the sledding journey, separated by some stone fence from the hill. Before I could figure out how to stop my sled from hitting the fence, I got on my sled and launched my first trip down the hill. I was accelerating really fast, and as long as I covered two thirds the distance, I found that I could not stop the sled using any of my body parts. I rolled out of the sled, and found my self facing the ice. After this first try, it took me no time to become a sledding veteran, and I spent hours having fun with different kind of sleds.I was about retiring my sweater, but by considering that it’s my only one, I hang it up and let it dry. For the rest of the day, I had a wonderful dinner with my host family, and showed Dalian and Julian some magic tricks.

       On Saturday morning, I went to a Ukraine church with my host family, and set out for Jerry’s family party in the afternoon. All Jerry’s relatives seemed to attend that party. There were grandmothers and grandfathers, mothers and fathers, and sons and daughters, and I play with the kids. In the evening, Jennifer drove us to her mother’s house, and we planned to stay there until Monday afternoon.

       I took a walk on the next morning and watched Ash v.s. Evil Dead before lunch, and at about 3 pm, I turned on the TV again to watch hottest NBA game of all regular season—the Christmas contest between Cavaliers and Warriors.

       That’s all about my spending time with my host family. For the rest of Christmas, I studied for TOEFL test, played video games, visited the student Christian who I hosted last year, and spent a freezing afternoon shopping in Boston for my friends in China.

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  • Last Journal

    Posted by Lin Ruohan (Jessica) on 2/22/2018

       This is going to be the last time I speak to you. Will you miss me? (I never want to make things cheesy, so let’s skip this)

       Let’s have a conversation about weather.

       Last month I had a chance to experience how do snow days look like in Newton. Nevertheless, it didn’t snow much, well, not for my host family. But that was deep enough to burry my feet. I mean, if we ever get this much snow in where I live, I would go mad for it-as I’ve never seen ice crystals drop from the clouds. Which I did. But not as mad as tonight. I’m really glad to review how it feels to be shock by one natural phenomena.

       This time, IT WAS MASSIVE. But actually, comparing to two and a half meters of snow above the ground- approximately the amount they got two years ago here-this is still nothing. We got lucky to have one day off from school, they call it a “snow day”. I was expecting the snow to be quite heavy all day, but it weakened after four pm. Judging by the light amount it was snowing, we decided this would be the perfect time to do some winter work.

    “It’s my first time shoveling.” I spoke to Maija. Then I told her how thin the layer of snow we usually get, and how much happiness that can bring me.

    “You like snow?”

    “Very much.”

    “Then you must be very glad now.”

       I wanted to reply but my tongue stuck. It was a strange feeling at the moment, that I can’t describe. I looked outside of the door, wide white curtain covers everything as far as my eyes can reach, and were shimmering under the garage light. It looked so flawless, the snow. Thick, fuzzy, like a giant carpet made out of fur of polar bears.

    “You can go out first if you wish,” said Milja, “we’ll be after you.”

       My feelings. I think it was some place between excitement and panic. Why would I be panic?

       I don’t want to act rude, so I pushed the door and stepped on the snow. Now I am truly acting rude. Not to any human, but to snow.

       Cause looking down to the two pits I just made, this new outfit of the ground wasn’t flawless anymore. I understood my earlier mood now, because I was really panic, after doing this, to a perfectly normal natural phenomenon. This is not a confession of mine to be an OCD, (which I am, but that’s not important in this case) I just sank into a thought. This doesn’t usually happen to me, frankly, never happened to me before this moment. My tongue wasn’t the only part of me that can’t move now, my feet joined.

       But then the rest of us went outside, I’ve got to move. We made more pits, all over the front yard. It’s not guilty, I don’t feel guilty, nature didn’t convict me for stepping on him either. But there’s something, breathtaking, made me so weak, so small in front of him.

    Thanks to all the clouds that gathered, the temperature stopped slipping any deeper below minus three (centigrade), and my face didn’t get stings from the air. We began our work.

    It wasn’t as easy as it seems am I right, my waist started to feel funny soon after half an hour. We’ve cleaned a path for the drive way and the walk way. Repetitive movement soured my muscles, so I lay down on a pile of snow.

    Lights were blurry for a second, snow landed directly on my face, into my eyes. But I didn’t even move a bit, I didn’t want to. It feels softer than cotton, warmer than bed (not true, it’s still cold if you taste it.) Hold on, did I mention tasting it? Though my mother wouldn’t appreciate that, I still took a piece and bit (to be honest, not quite. I sent my tongue towards the ground directly, like a cat licking milk. I’m narrating it this way only to add more literally beauty) into it as it was a tart. Didn’t taste like a tart at all, only cold water melting from ice that made my throat frozen.

    Milja got the good news of another day off tomorrow. I’m feeling back to life again, sort of. What am I talking about? Nature don’t convict any of us for anything we did to him. The only thing we keep receiving is unconditional love.

    Over fifteen year, I’m feeling so naïve and immature standing under the falling snow for the first time. Like an unenlightened kid.

    Certainly, I will miss a lot of the unique experience snow offered.

    But Newton snow isn’t the only one I’m parting from. I’m talking about you my journal as an exchange-experience-diary. Will you miss me?

    Cause I’m pretty sure I will.

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  • White Christmas

    Posted by Ding Zhaotian (Tom) on 2/22/2018

    It is snowing outside, and heavy snow covers everything. I am sitting here, in front of the table, thinking about the time when it snows last time. It was the Christmas day. Time passes along and some details get fade away, but something, I think, should be remembered, and there are things about Christmas.

    I was lying on my bed and carrying the dream from the Christmas Eve.

    Woke up, opened the curtain, and I found out surprisingly that it was snowing outside. The snowflakes were filling all over the space, and were wandering frantically with each other, it was like a stream with swirls.

    I walked downstairs, and Christmas socks were hanged on the handrail, under the morning sunlight, filled with gifts. Table was set for a Christmas breakfast.

    I went outside with my host siblings, after a Christmas breakfast together, and we were going to make a snowman. I lied down to make a snow angel, and was suddenly touched by the unexpected view of the sky from the position I was on. The sky seemed broader when lying down than when looking above the head, and while thin clouds moved slowly passing the sky, time is even seemed to be slower.

    We tried to make snowballs. Host parents were cleaning up the sidewalks. We rolled the snowballs around to make it bigger and bigger.

    I tried the snow, with maple syrup. Maple syrup was mixed in the snow, like little pieces of gold mixed in soil. Some areas of intact snow were also there, so I used maple syrup as color, to write a peace on there, like on a tablet.

    I remember, we finished the snowman, with three different size of snowball put together, and used fake black stone and fake carrot as eyes, nose, and mouth. I took out my Batman custom and put on the snowman. He fit in the custom very well, his eyes were right in the holes of the mask, and his carrot-nose appeared under the bat-nose. So he stood there, becoming a new landmark of our house, and was on duty day and night. His cape blows back and forth with the wind.

    Now I look out of the window, and could still see him standing there, after the snowstorm, with heavy snow around him.

    I remember when we sat together near the Christmas tree, taking gifts from there, and were unwrapping them, expecting what to get this year. It had been many years without a snowing Christmas, I was told. The snow outside and the decorations of Christmas made up what a white Christmas would look like.

    I remember, we were inside and played with a puzzle. It was a big puzzle, and we worked together to find useful information. We put pieces and pieces together, the sunlight shoot in just from the right angle.

    I went to see my Wechat. Friends had sent me happy Christmas’s, and some were saying, “expecting you to come back sooner”, “we are planning a big party for the return of you guys, what is the date you are coming back, again?”

    God knows how I want to stay but I have to go.

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  • Winter Break

    Posted by Li Tianyi (Teresa) on 2/22/2018

      We just came back from a long break - the winter break without homework! I'm going to talk about it in this journal.

      For my break, I didn't do any travel with host family because my host sibling had driving listens, but I really had a great time here. 

       In the middle of the break,Tom and Barry came to my house and we made a big chinese meal together.The hardest part is getting materials instead of cooking. It requires many chinese foods and seasonings, so the day before we cook, my host mother drove me to a market called Russo's. It's a very pretty one.Unfortunately, they don't have all of the stuffs we needed.I can't find a sauce that made from China and I don't know the accurate transition of the name of the sauce.Then my host mother asked the people who work there, and to my surprise ,they found a chinese for me. She told me the sauce I was looking for is a kind of soybean sauce, but the bad news was they were out of it. I suddenly felt so upset; hen she continued "I think there is a market not really far from here named Super 88, they probably have it." I thanked her and had a short talk with her. Her daughter was born in America, also a exchange student in the same program as me five years ago! I felt the greatness of this program all at once, it has set up links in two completely unfamiliar places to blend the two different cultures.Pretty amazing. I'm being so lucky in this exchange program.

      The most exciting day is undisputed the last day of 2017, New Year.

      On that day, my host family and I went to a friend's house, when we arrived there at 8:00 .They've got a mass of people already .Everyone looked happy.The house became very busy. All the kids went upstairs playing, we played a card game called Press which is very interesting. The others, some were chatting and some were helping with the dinner.

    At 9:00, dinner was ready. Adults were sitting in the living room with a cheerful chatting, while, we kids sitting on the rectangular table next to them. We talked about the funny things, laughing among us rises and falls. After that, we had various flavor of ice-creams as dessert, it was the best  one I've ever had,I bet. Time close to 12:00, all people came to the living room , sit around the open TV. The bells of the new year were getting closer and closer.Countdown stared on the TV. I couldn't breathe. Happy New Year! With the fireworks on TV, people clapping and greeting to each other. Warmth throughout my whole body even if I was staying around people who the first time I met and speaking different languages . "It is a new beginning!" I said to myself. Hi, 2018.

      This is the last week that we are in Newton. I can't believe our journey is nearly to the end.Wishing time could stop here. I have fell in love with Newton and hard to say good bye.

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  • The Christmas Films

    Posted by He Tianxin (Frank) on 2/22/2018

      We don’t have Christmas in China. And this Christmas is the best Christmas I have.

      Firstly, Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. The nativity plays a major role in the Christian liturgical year. This Christmas, I went to Wisconsin with my host family and all of us lived in grandma’s house together.

      Because there are a lot of people would live in our house, there is also a interesting thing is there was six people live in one room. “How did six people live in one room?” I can’t believe that before I went to grandma’s house. Actually, that is a big room and we have Inflatable beds. After sleep for one night, Christmas Eve was coming. At night, almost forty people came to our house. That is definitely a big party. We saw two classic Christmas movies——The Polar Express and Home Alone. Both of them are really good movies.

      The Polar Express is about one Christmas Eve many years ago, a boy lies in bed. Suddenly, he hears a voice. He is astounded to see a steam engine parked in front of his house. This train is called the Polar Express and just filled with children. They are on their way to the North Pole. They finally arrive the magical city at the North Pole. Santa and the elves have gathered for the giving of the first gift of Christmas. This boy is chosen to receive this first gift. The delighted boy slips it into his bathrobe pocket as the clock strikes midnight and the reindeer pull the sleigh into the sky. I saw this movie with some very young children. All of them like this animation.

      “Frank, you should see this move.” Someone said. When I looked at the screen, it was Home Alone! I heard this move a lot of times but never see it. I was very happy I can see it there. Home alone is kind of old movie and it's about a young child uses his intelligence to fight with two stupid thieves. This film touched me. It was the boy makes his mother angry and his mother leaves with other people. After his mother finds she leaves his son in home alone, she is really worries about it. She tries to find the fastest way to home. At the same time, the boy is really  miss his mother after he realizes how family important to him. The boy finds there is two thieves want rob their house, so he tries to protect their house and fights with them. Finally, his mother goes back to the house and gives him a hug. And their other friends are back too! The end was really touched me. It shows affection and warmth are very important to people. Although our parents are mad with us sometimes, they still love us. So we need to trust our parents and be nice to them.

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  • An Exploration

    Posted by Li Tianyi (Teresa) on 12/21/2017

    American likes to talk about politics.This is my second discovery in Newton which is very different from my country.If you have come to China before, you must find that Chinese seldom talks politics .The social system is one of the major reason and traditional culture also as a factor. When I came to Newton,I amazed at people talk about politics a lot.

    For instance, my host family always talks politics on the dinner table, all the family members are willing to join and share their ideas and opinions to the case. It could be a recent news, a policy or it could be an action that government take.Just few days ago, it was the vote of Alabama, my host family showed their great concern on it.I could really remember that night, they were too nervous about the consequence to focus on dinner. It caused me felt nervous as well. At 8:00 pm, they turned on the TV on time to watch the live broadcast of vote.They discussed the report on TV from time to time. I asked many questions about it and they always answer me patiently .I could say this is an experience I¡¯ve never had before.

    There¡¯s another example.These days, we are busy in doing presentation at different school.Once, on a fifth graders¡¯ class, a boy asked me: ¡°what do you think of our president now?¡± I was shocked. A ten years old kids ask me a question about the president, that¡¯s incredible.When I at the age of ten, I was playing with my toys and watching cartoons on the television. However, a ten year-old boy in Newton is starting concern about others¡¯ view with the president. 

    So, a big question mark comes to my head.Why majority American people like talk ing politics? I got some responses from my friends in America.I neaten them up and add into my understanding, shown below.

    America is a country of democracy and liberty, everyone can involve in the voting, talks politics and switches their personal ideas.These are the typical features of democracy. ¡° Free to talk¡± is a necessary condition at first.Because of this genre of  social institution , everyone has a strong sense of belonging and engagement, based on it, politics becomes relevant to people, the trend of government becomes more important to people, because it probably make an effect on their living life.  In other words , It¡¯s more like a huge family, everyone is a member of it, people will give their suggestions for the things they don¡¯t feel good and take attention on any small or big changes in family, because it seems to be their private things.

      In addition, I think talking politics depends on logic and multifaceted aspects. It is a nice way to speak out ideas, also practicing and keeping a active thinking.

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  • The Love

    Posted by Liu Zhengzuo (Barry) on 12/21/2017

       One of the important things I’ve become aware of during my stay here is how my parents have been loving me and taking great care of me. Now my attitude towards them is much better, and I want to use this journal to encourage American student to respect and care for their parents.

       There exists only one thing, in this modern world, that does not cost money. There exists only one love, among humans, that does not fade away with time. It is the love that our parents give us. We have known these since kindergarten, but as we grow up into adolescence, this love is sometimes misunderstood. When we look back and reflect on ourselves, we’ll find that parents are the most ones who deserve our care and respect.

       Do we remember? Parents are the first words we learn, even before we can pronounce; parents are the ones who taught us to walk, and every time we fall, they’ll encourage us, and tell us “get up, my child!”; parents are the ones who let us know right and wrong, how to be a good person, and what is justice; parents are the ones who constantly have the backs of us, and tell us to fear nothing, as they are always there to protect us. There was quite a long time, parents are our joy, and our world.

       But there comes a day when we grew up. There is one day, when we do not agree with them about something; there is one day, when we begin to have our little secrets, and for the first time we cannot tell them the truth; there is also one day, when we start to think that friends are the ones whom we have most fun spending time with; there is also one day, when we realize that they’ve turn old. But their love have been constant. When they can no longer kiss all over our faces, they’ll still wish us good days and good nights; when they can no longer help with our subjects, they’ll still remind us to finish our homework first to play without worries; when they can no longer watch us all the time, they are still the ones who will call us as many times until we pick up their phones. They’ll no longer express their love as often, but they’re always the ones who suffer our pain, enjoy our joy, and protect us with their lives.

       But for all of us who have been in adolescence, there appears to be misunderstandings, distance, and walls, between us and our parents. And so, let’s break these walls. Let’s try to be patient for them. Let’s stay humble, listen to them, and modify our behaviors if they’re right. Let’s spend quality time with them even if we’re busy, and we’ll find that we’re still having so much fun with them. And when the day comes when they inevitably get old, we will not regret too much, and we will have been ready to care for them, as they always did.

       There exists only one thing, in this modern world, that shall not cost money. There exists only one love, among all humans, that shall not fade away with time. It is the love that our parents give us, and the same love that we will be giving back.

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  • Presentations

    Posted by Lin Ruohan (Jessica) on 12/21/2017

    Dear Journal,


    It’s December already. Counting down to return date, there’s less than 50 days. Looking back when I first stepped on this fascinating, prosperous land, everything is brand new and filled with hope, and now, I’m sitting in a room which doesn’t belong to me but truly makes me feels like home. I don’t want to make my journal sad and sissy, so today let’s put down something positive.


    Talking in front of people is never a forte of mine. And giving out speeches without being nervous seem like a mission impossible. Even when the crowd is less than 5 people, even if they are all families or close friends. Therefore, as soon as I’ve been told that a number of presentations are required when we’re in the States, every time someone mentions it, the air turns super tense for me, as if I’m giving a speech in the next second.

    My father did some very helpful tutorial work for me before my departure. One method he taught to avoid intension is to imagine all the audience are cabbages. And besides cabbage, deep breathes also help.

    Once the topics are confirmed, I worked hard on the presentations. I believed practice makes perfect, if I remember every single word on the content I wrote, even I get nervous afterward, simply reciting can save the day.

    But unfortunately, I was completely wrong.

    Our first presentation was given in Brown Middle School, which is a few steps away from Newton South High School I study in. Several minutes before bell rang, while we started to set up facilities, bad things happened just as I expected. My heart was beating furiously near my throat like a winded clock, I pressed it hard and tried to swallow it back in. But that was pointless, I could feel my blood in veins turning ice cold, my fingertips started to shake with my trembling teeth. My imagination ran out of my control like a wild horse with loose leash, I tried to picture kids sitting below are cabbages but then they all started to grow out eyes, and giggling like they do in my nightmares!! Take a deep breath. I said to myself. Inhale as hard as you can. You can’t be that bad. I moved my eyes away from those cute smiling cabbages.

    Bell rang telling me it’s battle time. I tried to stay calm and hoped for the best. With the help of hours of previous preparation, I felt better actually after talking. At first, my lips are still a little tangled and I avoid most eye contacts with our audience. But my partner Frank acted a lot calmer than I was, even though he wasn’t as fluent as me, but none of the words came out of his mouth is nervous. As we went through interactions that haven’t been practiced before, I realized that none of the kids really care about our rawness, we’ve got the topic interesting enough to catch their attention. I took a peek at my audience, they’re all looking at us, with great interests showing on their faces. Cabbages were replaced by lovely children who are willing to learn some Chinese traditions. I’ve being ridiculous to be frightened by talking to them.

    It’s funny somehow things just work out right. No weird questions, no abuses, no naughty kids suddenly jump up and point out our shortages. Turns out, it was just me, overreacting. Carrie, my teacher who was there that day gave me some instructions and pointed out I have nothing to worry about as long as my speed doesn’t grow crazy fast, and make more interactions with the kids.

    Long story short, I threw myself in my character completely, and stop thinking of neither cabbage nor how bad things can act. During the next few presentations, I tried to picture myself as one of the kids watching below, and found out that they’re not here to make me tense or embarrassed, they are just normal kids as same as me!

    I was worried that my audience will get bored, but after a dozen of practice and performances, I got highly familiar with the contents and our patterns and in the last, I am the one get bored! (In a good way, I mean.)

    Though these presentations are supposed to be giving “classes”, but I feel I’m the most profited one. This experience makes me think of an ancient Chinese proverb: “teaching benefits teachers as well as students.”

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  • Snowman

    Posted by He Tianxin (Frank) on 12/21/2017

     On December 9, I saw the snow that I haven't seen last a few years.

     It was a Saturday morning, I woke up as usual and saw the trees outside the window. What? It was like rainy outside and I just didn’t care about it. After I had breakfast, I prepared to do my homework. I got a hot tea from the kitchen, that was around 11 am. Everything seems like very normal as usual. But, all a sudden, I felt there was very light outside. And I got close to the door. The things outside surprised me——It is snow! A heavy snow! I'm so excited because to make a snowman is a “dream” for me these years.

     When I was in Beijing, it is very hard to see the snow as heavy as this. So I can’t make a snowman because the snow wasn’t enough. Therefore, I can’t wait to go outside to play. Afternoon, they are two kids came to our house and we planned to go outside to play the snow. We lay in the snow and felt the snow on our face. The snow was very soft and made us really comfortable. A few moment later, we started to make a snowman! First, we got the snow from the ground and made it more like a ball. Then put more snow on it to make it bigger and also made two balls like this. Finally, we were done with the snowball and two kids and I connected them. “Look! The snowman is as tall as me!” One kid said. “Yes, it is.” This was the biggest snowman I have never made before. After we finished the snowman, I remembered a story that my mother told me when I was very young. That story is about snowman and stove.

     That happened in winter. At dawn there is a young couple enter the garden and crosses the snowman. When they leave, the dog tells the snowman they are a couple. An the Snowman is very looking forward to it. Then the snowman can see the stove through a window in the house and believes it is female. He falls in love. The snowman wants to be in the room with the stove, but the dog tells him he would melt. At night, when the door of the room is opened, the flames leap out of the stove and glow upon the snowman's face. He is very happy. In the morning, the window is covered with frost and the snowman can’t see the stove. He is stove-sick and can’t enjoy the frosty weather. The dog warns the snowman of an imminent change in the weather. One morning, the snowman falls down. The dog finds a stove poker used to build the snowman within his remains, and then understands why the snowman longed for the stove, "That's what moved inside him...Now he is over that, too!” Then the snowman is forgotten by the people.

     I took off my gloves and felt the snow, trying to understand the reason why the snowman fall in love with stove. I walked along the street along and the snow is still falling…

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