Friday, February 28, 2014

The Real Home

Abdullah Al Salem
Draft 2
The Real Home
“Home isn't a place; it’s a feeling” Many people think that home is just a place to sleep and eat, but it’s not only this. Home is the place that you belong to, where all the good times happen. Because my family likes to travel a lot, I have spent the best days of my life not only at home but also in many different places, where my family gathered together.Therefore, when my father asked me if I wanted to study in the United States, I think I made the right decision. I chose to leave my home, Saudi Arabia, because I have always wanted to study in a school that could help my future. When people leave home, he or she will not settle down in any place that is similar. I have experienced the same feeling about leaving home to study abroad. Now that I have been in Chicago for studying, family, food, and friends are the things that I have missed the most.

Leaving home to study abroad makes me miss my family more and more. Family is the most important thing that I have lost, and I’m always looking forward to see them. Everyone should know that after leaving their family to go to another place for a long time that they will have to be responsible for everything because no one of their family will be around. I have felt the same way about my family after leaving for the U.S, but I realized that I had to be responsible from the moment I left home. Having my family is something that I have to be proud of because they always support me in almost everything, and they believe that I could be someone in the future. Now, I think I became responsible for almost everything, but still there are many things that I can’t do by my own without discussing with them.

Saudi Arabia is a place that has different cultures, but the food is common across the country. I didn’t think about the food that much before leaving home because I thought I could find all what I need in the supermarkets. In the first weeks, it wasn’t a problem for me because I used to eat fast food all the time and I was happy with it. As the time progressed, I really couldn’t stand eating fast food anymore because I realized it wasn’t healthy. Even though I eat my sister’s food every time I go to Indiana, I only see her once in two weeks. Not living in a place with my ethnic food, has make me want to learn how to cook. In spite of the fact that I’m satisfied with making my own food, I still miss my mother’s cooking.

In fact, I won’t find the happiness of my life without someone who stand beside me. Friends are those people who will be with you whenever you need them. Although I have a lot of friends in Saudi Arabia, there are a few close friends that I really miss. They were not only friends to me, but brothers. The first months I spent in the United States without real friends were tough times. At that time, I hated myself for not studying with my friends who had decided to study together in San Diego, California, because I thought it was tough for me studying with no one I know. As time progressed, I have made international friends from all over the world, and they have became my best friends. After several months with all the good moments I have spent with them, they left Chicago to continue their educational study. That is why it’s difficult to make a friend that stays with you forever.

Everyone who leaves his or her home will miss something whether it’s about their hometown or people. Leaving Saudi Arabia was a tough decision, especially because I have missed my family, food, and friends. I have learned from this experience that i have to be patient because I might find what I have lost much better someday in the future.    
I suggest to everyone who leaves home to study abroad, don’t worry about the things that you have missed about home because by the time you will understand that home doesn’t have to be a place but it’s the people that you love.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Creating a Fashion by Aybolek Akyyeva

Western culture is known for modernization, so it is rare to see handmade clothes in the US. America has forgotten the values of handmade traditional clothing because of the rapid growth of the textile industry. I came from Turkmenistan, Central Asia, where it is common for women to design their own dresses in any way they would like. Thus, the services of custom tailors are popular. I have grown up in a culture that values its traditions; hence, I miss handmade outfits, and such inventories are considered antique and expensive in the US. 

The first things that I miss are the fabric stores. When I came to Chicago, I noticed that there were not many fabric stores to choose from. I was trying to find a fabric store where I could buy similar fabric that I got back come, but I was disappointed every time I tried. Spending a lot of time and my energy, I scanned several malls but there was no result. All the fabric that I saw did not impress me. The expensive prices and similar styles surprised me because I expected to find fabric in a big and developed country. If I hadn’t come to the US, I would never have known that Turkmenistan, even being a small country, has a rich fabric option, which is readily available in stores and buyers can be satisfied with their purchases with affordable prices. 

In the US, I miss going to a tailor to get my dress made because unfortunately, it is not common here. In Turkmenistan, I used to go to tailor right after I purchased the fabric that I want. Tailors for women are affordable and easy to find. It’s traditional in Turkmenistan for women to design their own dress in any way they would like. Women make dresses for many different celebrations, even for daily wear. One more thing that surprised me was that handmade dresses are not common in America. There are many tailor shops but they mostly just fix clothing but making handmade dress in America is expensive. Many American women prefer to buy their dresses.

Moreover, finding the similar style dress as Turkmen dress did not go well. After trying many times to find my cultural handmade dress, I decided to buy premade dress in the stores. The U.S. surprised me with many store options. The variety stores and affordable prices make people dizzy. However, here in the US I can’t find Turkmen style dress. The dresses worn by my Turkmen women are long with embroidered patterns on them. The benefit of handmade dress is that if you can’t find premade dress in store, women can design it according to their wishes. Women in Turkmenistan not only make their dress, but they create the fashion. 

I wish that someone would open a store with similar Turkmen style dresses. I wish I could find fabric stores, and custom tailors to make my own handmade dresses. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make my own handmade dress because I haven’t found shops for tailor and fabric even premade dresses I like. That’s why I have been trying many different dress stores to find similar styles. Maybe one day, I will be able to make my own handmade dress, but I don’t think it will happen any time soon.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Nayab Bolbolan
ESL 100
February, 11 2014

Cool Memories 
            The United States is one of the most diverse countries in the world. Each state and city has diverse community, race and people from different beliefs.  I came to United States when I was eighteen years old with my two sisters and parents from Pakistan.  It feels great to be an American but I think the struggle here is more than other countries. America is known all around the world for its education. Men and women have equal rights and freedom generally for everything. In the beginning my experience in the United States was not good or relaxing. I was not accustomed to the tradition, relationship with friends and closeness with my neighbors and I will try to have these parts of my life in this new country.
My parents always preferred that cultures and traditions should be followed. People with different beliefs and traditions live in Pakistan. When we came to America life changed a lot, because everyone in the family has to work to live a better life. My tradition did not change in America because it’s only few months I am here. Tradition festival ways which we had in Pakistan and America are almost the same.   The difference here I enjoy and mingle with few people, there I use to spend my time and felt easy communicating with them. The best thing about America is whatever you want in your life you can have.
            Even coming to the U.S., which is 7671 miles away from Pakistan, I have been able to maintain my friendships. I always used to share secrets, talk freely, have fun and spend time with my friends. My most important memorable moment of my life is spending time with my friends in school and celebrating birthday parties. We were part of a family. We shared thoughts, secrets, and ideas. Most of the time we used to enjoy water fighting and playing badminton in school.  We knew each other’s likes and dislikes. We could not go for shopping or have dinner at hotels without parents, because Pakistani culture does not allow girls to go out, so we usually spent time at home cooking, eating and spending time together. We had kept turns to go to each other’s home. My two best friends are my childhood friends. We had very close family terms. My parents also have good relation with their parents. Coming to United States, however, did not change our friendship. We still have regular contact with each other. I tell them everything about life here and they give me back home news. In these situations, technology is a blessing because we talk on Skype and other social websites when we see each other and feel close to one another. I miss them a lot because still in U.S. I don’t have so close friend to whom I could share my feelings.

 In Pakistan my family had friendly, helpful and lovable neighbors. My younger sister was always at their home playing and eating it was like her second home. Twice a week, I also used to go to their home, helping them cook and talking with them. Sometimes we also used to go out together. They were Muslim and we were Baha’i, but our background never brought any misunderstanding or issues into friendship. In holy days we used to go at their home to spend the day with them. What I really lost coming to America are really those neighbors and my relationship with them. In America, life is so busy that new immigrants don’t have time for their family members. Trust, sharing and believing in one another feels limited her because they don’t have the time to spend more, to know and understand each other.

An Inconvenient Christmas

Sebastian Beyer
ESL 100
February 26th, 2014
3rd Draft
An Inconvenient Christmas

The United States of America. This is the land with unlimited possibilities where you can do everything whatever you want! Everybody's dream is it to visit the U.S.A. and I made it. Now, for almost a half a year, I have been separated from my family and friends in Germany. I never left Europe before I got to the U.S. not to mention stay away from my family longer than three weeks. Despite it was the first time I didn't celebrate Christmas with my family and I was sure that would affect me a lot.

I love all the traditions my family and I have for Christmas, New Years Eve and all the other holidays. However I didn't realized the real meaning for me of the celebration, until Christmas was almost knocking on the front door. While living in the U.S, I noticed the change of culture and different holiday traditions and it made me feel homesick for the first time since my arrival.

I didn't realized that Christmas and New Years Eve were already right around the corner because I was so busy with my Au Pair job. I enjoy my American lifestyle here and all it’s benefits including shopping on sundays, the awesome skyline, different people and places and the climate. Therefore it was not bad at all that I moved away from Germany to Chicago. For Christmas, my host family and I went to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. For a week we stayed at a hotel together with the parents of my host mum, who are living in Florida. It was fantastic because we had awesome weather and the park was not too crowded. But for me it was very untraditional to go on December 24th to Disney World, with the knowledge that my family in Germany is celebrating Christmas Eve the way Im used to.

Moreover, I missed my typical Christmas elements and the feeling I used to have in Germany. Back in Germany we saw the Christmas movies on TV, heard the special Christmas music my mom always plays. She also lights up one of the four advent candles every sunday before Christmas Eve. My first Christmas in the U.S was quite different than they were in Germany. Of course I didn't have my real family around me. It was the little things I like for instance decorate the house with my brothers, have my special dessert made by my mother, were in my familiar environment and long breakfast/tee-time with cake and cookies and dinner talks with the whole family. Last but not least having fondue as dinner for Christmas Eve and celebrating the special day on December 24th and not on December  25th. All those points caused that I wasn't able to have the right Christmas feeling.

Finally, I believe that my host mum only sees me as a “worker”. In detail I recognize a clear difference of treatment between my host dad and my host mum. She is not that openminded like him and it is also hard for me to have a conversation with her when it’s not related to my host kids. That gives me more the feeling to be not that included to the family, over Christmas, which is one of the most important things! My host dad is the totally opposite of that. He is always relaxed and very kind to me. He is always asking how am I doing, what is very mindful.
Hence, there are so many differences between Christmas in the United States and the Christmas in Germany I grew up with. Although I had to become accustomed to the many possibilities available here in the United States. For instance a spontaneous Christmas vacation to Disney World but I still miss my native Christmas traditions. At the end I realized that it is not the same feeling at all to have just my host family around me.  People may ask which culture I like best. The answer is that I will always choose the German traditions and culture because for a great Christmas, I need my real family and friends around me to be able to enjoy and celebrate my perfect Christmas.

My new life.

  Mengting Liang                                                                          
                                                                          My new life.
People can travel to many places during their life to find a place which can make their dreams come true. Different places can bring those different feelings and fate. Because of those differences, people might change their minds about some things when you arrive at a new place.  People need to face the new environment and new culture. What’s more, they need to adjust themselves for the new environment which they are not used to living in. I spent my first nineteen years in China, the country I know a lot and get used to live in. However, people gain something new when they lose something. America is the place which changes my personality so much.

Losing my parents’ care has been the most unacceptable thing for me. In the past nineteen years, I stayed under my parents’ protection as a princess, but this kind of life ended thoroughly after I came to America. Since I have been living in America with my younger brother, I did  not only lost my parents’ care but also now I have to  look after my brother. In a totally new environment, I needed to use a language, which I was not use to speaking, to understand a lot of things and then dealing with it. I felt embarrassed when I tried to explain to someone that I wanted to apply for an ID card, but the person who worked there didn't understand me at all. I wanted to give up and to asked my parents for help like what I did before. However, they were millions miles away from me. Therefore, I have to be independent and patient in my new country so that I can learn as many things as possible. It is a pity that I can’t enjoy parents’ protection, but it is great to become independent.

I left China, which means that I have run far away from my friends. It also means that I don't have many chances to spend weekends or vacations with them, too. Friends are easy to find but relationships are hard to keep. Luckily, I have two close friends who grew up with me and knew me so much in China. They gave me a lot of care and love. One winter night, I broke my leg, and it was hard for me to go to school by myself. I was worried and upset. I sent them messages to talk about this. The next day, someone knocked on my door in the early morning. To my surprise, my two friends were standing in front of door and told me they came to pick me up and take me to school until I was recovery. I feel warm whenever I mention this thing. Now that I am thousands of miles away, we can’t go out together during weekends, but we can only chat online. I get very upset whenever they tell me that they need help and encouragement. What I can do is tell them that I will support them forever. Although our relationships are good as before, it’s sad that I lost a lot of chances to spend time with them.

Leaving an environment that I used to live in is one of the saddest things for me. It was end of October when I arriving America. Standing on such a large land, everything looked strange.  When I first arrived, I stayed at home because of the low temperature, which I had never experienced in China. In southern China, the weather is warm and humid so that people feel comfortable. People don't need to wear a lot in winter.  I didn’t know how cold it was in Chicago until I got off the plane. Unluckily, I am a person who is easily to get sick. I had a fever in the first week I arrived here. I have never seen the trains which are used for short distance transport. For me, trains are one of the vehicles for long distance transport in China. I used to taking subway to go out for short distance. It is unconvince for people who has no car in America. People here seem like don't want to go out at night because most of shops close early. Thus, I have no choice but to stay at home when I feel bored. This makes me miss my home very much.
In a new country, I seem like a newborn baby. Everything is new for me. There are still many things I don't know at all. I push myself to grow up faster than before because I want to prove to myself that I am fine without parents’ protection or friends’ ccompany. I am trying to know as many things as possible so that I can handle my daily life, and become more mature. Even though I have lost some important things and fell down many times, there is no doubt for me to go on with my life since I decided to come to America. Coming to a new country is a challenge, but it is a chance for me to improve myself.

The Meaning of Friendship

The Meaning of Friendship
I used to have good relationships with my friends who were in China, but the United States is different. I seem to have a generic relationship with my American friends. The longer I live here, I try to get more interactions with my friends, and I believe these interactions will change my life for the better. No one wants to survive on one’s own because human interactions can transform your feeling and open your eyes. Unfortunately, adapting to U.S culture has been had, and I have begun to lose my communication, sharing and culture in this country.

My ability to communicate is gone. I have been in the United States for one year, but I still did not know what the word friend really means in America. When I was in China, I thought it meant hanging out together, sharing secrets, and believing in each other, but I had no idea about the United States. However, when I spend time with friends in Chicago, it feels strange and is different. Even when we talk together, we cannot understand what we really mean. For example, after math class, I asked my teacher for help with my homework. When I was explaining a question, it seemed like she did not know that what I was talking about. I felt sad and all I wanted was to have a good communication, but I could not. In addition, when I have conversations with my classmate, I asked him some questions, but he guessed another meaning and gave me the wrong answer. It was so such a bad experience. The different language and culture are obstacles. If people do not understand what you say, they just make a smiley face back at you. For this reason I think the word friend in America is more social than deep.

In addition, my ability to share secrets with my friends has also disappeared. Two years after I came to Chicago, it was the hardest time for me. I felt sad because I still did not have a friend to share anything with me. I started to miss my friends who lived in China so much. I could not forget our happy past and unforgettable memories when I was a teenager in high school. I remembered how they helped me. Before I met my friends in China, I was a computer guy. I preferred hanging out with my computers than hanging out with friends, but they did not care. They were so amicable and always tried to interact with me. When I had trouble, I wanted to share my problems with them and they helped me quickly. I remember one time that I was unhappy because I failed my test. When my friends found out, they tried to comfort me. I shared lots of secrets with them and they did too. This was first time that I realized friends are dependable. They were such trusty friends. After I met them, I became a cheerful and lively man.

Furthermore, I felt I have lost the special Chinese culture and friendship when I meet new friends in the U.S. My American friends are different. Even though we speak the same language, the feeling is different because we all have different culture. When I tried to fit in with my foreign friends, I felt I began to lose most of my Chinese culture because I was trying to learn theirs. For example, I have tried to eat food they recommend. I tried to change my Chinese style to American and cut my hair look like an American. However, I stopped it because I knew I am a traditional Chinese person. I cannot change, and I did not want to lose my Chinese culture.

            In America, the word of friend means conversation, but in China it is relationship. Meeting and spending time with my friends in China was so exciting. They have changed me for the better and gave me a new view of life. In addition, I really want to meet some new people, and I hope I can keep my ability to converse and my Chinese culture when I meet lots of new friends in Chicago. Changing is a good thing. It is going to make me know some new things that I never realized before and become a new person because interaction is one of the best ways to meet new people.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Studying in America

Qilian Liu
ESL 100
February 18, 2014
Studying in America
       In China, it is very proud and enviable if a student can study aboard. No one knows how many students don’t enough ability to go to school in China, and they even didn't thought about what it was like studying abroad. Fortunately, I had chance to come to the U.S study abroad and experience the different between china and America’s education. I can’t remember why I chose to come to America, and a person will changed a lot here and you can feel how difference between China and America, at last, you can learn lots of things. Behind this, although I lots of something from America, I also lost something. Therefore, studying in America has made me change a lot.
       First of all, leave my parents made ​​me feel very uncomfortable. Before studying life, I began to study and never left my parents, and also never imagine that I will leave my parents. Everything I have done has been with the help of my parents. One day, I felt my life shouldn’t be like this way, I feel I have to deal with my own life, and then I decided to go abroad. I am very lucky that my parents did not object to my plans to go abroad, and they are very encouraged me and supported me. It makes me very confident, and I believe I can face all the problems by myself. After that, when I came to America, I found living without my parents and family is hard to accept. Anyway, after two years, I have become accustomed to living alone, and also to be brave, be strong. Hopefully, the United States will allow me to become mature.
       In addition to leaving my parents, I have also left behind Chinese’s delicious food. I do not know how people think; I think Chinese food is the best food in the world, and the most delicious food. In China, I really like to eat Dim Sum. Eat street food should be the world's most cost-effective spending. I arrived in the United States, I have a week's time do not want to eat, I think it tastes too single American, no Chinese so many choices, so many skills do not have Chinese food. Fortunately, I was frankly accepted the U.S. food. Now discovered, the United States also has its own unique food. What’s more, I was extremely miss Chinese food.
       Finally, living without friends is very boring. It means that I don’t have any friends in America when I just arrived here and I felt very bored and sad. As what we know, humans should have friends. Specifically everyone should have a good friend. When I just arrived in the U.S, I even don’t know anyone, and I felt hopeless at that time. Living without any friends is sadness. I just really missed my friends in China.  I can go to the movies and good friends, to travel in China. We need to endure, to get used to living without friends. Moreover, I began to make some friends in the U.S, and I also began to feel a little bit better. Therefore, Living without friends is hard to accept.
       In collusion, at the begging of living in the U.S is sad and hopeless, and I don’t have anything and feeling dazed. We need to leave their parents to leave their favorite things to eat, but also to leave a good friend. That's all we need to learn to tolerate and experience. As long as I lived in the U.S, I felt totally different; I can have my new and own life here, just like the flower opening in the summer. I believe that studying abroad can make my life more successful