Walking in Shelbyville
I have never been abroad, so my first impression of America is: far away in distance and close in heart. It is far away because it took me about 15 hours to arrive here by plane; it is close because when I stepped on the land of America which is a new place to me, I was deeply touched by the familiar feeling of “home”.
After the strict examination and tense training of Hanban, I became a Chinese teacher of Confucius Institute (CI) and was assigned to the CI in Middle Tennessee State University to teach Chinese language. When I arrived here, my tiredness and drowsiness was driven away by the hospitality of Cheryl Harris, Cynthia Jones, Mindi Dewitt, Mrs Davis who met me in the airport. Stepping out of the airport, I saw them waving to me in the distance, holding a yellow banner with red words “welcome Wang Dongmei to Thomas Magnet School”. I walked towards them eagerly and took the beautiful flowers they passed to me. One thing I need to remind is that they had been waiting for me for more than 3 hours since my plane was delayed. I felt so warm and moved at that moment. Later I went to my host family—Ms. Mindi’s house with her.
I am prepared for the new environment in America and have realized some possible difficulties which I will have to face here, such as different time zones, food, homesickness, cultural shocks and of course English language. To be honest, I am ready and quite excited for my new job: introducing Chinese language and culture to those who love them. The second day I arrived in Shelbyville, I felt so refreshed and got up very early. One of my colleagues Kathy brought me to lunch. On the way, I was so joyful enjoying the beautiful sceneries of Tennessee which was totally different from Hangzhou where I came from. It is so peaceful and quiet here: vast grassland with white fences and exquisite houses, which is typical of American rural scenery. Shelbyville, a quiet town, looks like a painting of the Nature. To my surprise, I like food here too, such as salad and Potato skin in Legend’s. I am so pleased that I have 3 years to enjoy all kinds of local food.
I will be a Chinese teacher in Thomas Magnet School which is an excellent primary school here. The principal showed me around on the first day of my work and I was profoundly impressed by the different styles of decorations of each classroom, vivid and lively teaching way of teachers, and lovely and active pupils here. Knowing that I would be their Chinese teacher, the students all greeted me in Chinese “Nihao” which made me so familiar and moved. When they told me that they learned “Nihao” from TV, I can feel their curiosity and interest on China and Chinese culture and I am determined to offer them more chances to know my homeland—China.
I’ve been here for only 3 weeks, and my new friends helped and supported me a lot. They become my new family and I want to thank them again: they are Cindy, Cheryl, Mindi, Ms. Davis, Janice, Missy, Janet and her family and Leandra and her family.
A new day will begin and embracing the brilliant sunshine we will move forward together……
Confucius Institute of Middle Tennessee State University: Wang Dongmei
Translate by Zhang Yu