Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

November 4, 2006 3:46 PM

Places of Origin: It's Complicated

A quick look at the geographic locations in my 20 years of life:
I spent my 6 years of elementary school in 3 different areas. I was born and raised in a village in the rural northern part of Taiwan: Ling-co. I had a gang of buddies. They were all guys and I was the only girl. We played together everyday after school. We formed a little bike team. We played basketball, dodge ball, soccer, tennis. We caught grasshoppers together, went on adventures trips to the nearby forests, and play pranks on other kids. The village was big, the grass was so green, the trees were big, the people were nice, and the air was fresh. I fell in love with the beauty of nature. When I was in 5th grade, my parents took me with them to Montreal, Canada, for a year of research. I learned to speak French and learned to speak English. My brother and I were the only Taiwanese in our elementary school. The year for me was a great introduction to westerners and life in the other part of the world. I saw snow for the first time!! I still remember the first time I built my own snowman and gave it a name and watched it die when everything melted~~ good times! I also celebrated my first Thanksgiving, Halloween, Canada day, and St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe it was because of the amount of cheese, pizzas, bagels, muffins, chocolates, sandwiches and good western/Canadian food that I had that year, I grew more than 4 inches that year. After one year, I flew back to Taiwan in my 6th grade and moved to Taipei, where I experienced living as a city kid. I learned to walk really fast, talk really fast, eat really fast, shop a lot, and be really busy or at least act like I was really busy with school work and activities. I practiced a lot of looking many times at the cars around before crossing the streets even when the pedestrian light shows WALK. Never trust strangers and never trust traffic lights because people usually see them just as references. I became used to taking taxi and taking metro to places instead of riding my old bike. I also adjusted my exercising area to the swimming pools, stair masters, fitness centers instead of the big green grass field in front of my house in the village I grew up in. Training to become a real Taipei-er took me about 4 years. After 10th grade, my family immigrated to the United States! We settled in Irvine, Ca, and I finished my high school there. I adapted to Irvine better than I did in Montreal, probably because there are more Asians and Asian foods. Irvine is rated as America’s #7 safest city. It’s really peaceful and quiet. Not much night life goes on in Irvine. One thing I found interesting about Irvine is that not many people walk on the streets. Although the sidewalks are huge, I seldom see pedestrians walking around. Also, I don’t see buses coming often. Typical southern California weather. Not much rain not much wind. Beaches are just 10 minutes away: Newport, Laguna, Corona Del Mar, Huntington, Long Beach, etc. Biggest shopping mall South Coast Plaza is just 15 minutes away too. People always look like they’re ready for beach. I love Irvine!

I’m at my 5th location of my life: Berkeley. Year #3 in progress.

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