“I know what is going on, and you will be fine.”

It was the first year I came to America. I arrived at Newark airport in New Jersey, and the little 15-year-old Chinese girl started her journey in a foreign country. I remember it was a late summer night, and the heat added more anxiety to my arrival. My host family had been chosen a few months ago by the agency, and the only thing I knew about them was how they looked. With excitement and fear, I stepped into my new life that I chose for myself.

The first few weeks passed quickly with my funny stories. Remember when my religion teacher greeted me, “what’s up?” And I looked up to the ceiling and answered, “nothing was up there.” This exact conversation continued for a while until I realized what it actually meant. At first, my host family took me to a variety of different places to get the real taste of America. Life seemed to be going pretty well beside my silly mistakes due to the language barrier. However, everything started to go into an opposite direction because the Wi-Fi broke down in the house. I went down to the basement with the repairman out of curiosity. It was the first time that I found out that we had a basement, and no one had mentioned it to me before. It looks like a totally different world downstairs, and it is well furnished. Aside from my amazement, a question rose up to my mind, “who is living here?” I later found out that my host family rented their basement out and they were trying to cover it up because it was illegal to have an exchange student and a tenant at the same time. Things started to make sense from my memory. The weird rock music under my room and the so-called “gardener” in the backyard become clear. Well, I was mainly alone in the house with a stranger that walked in my backyard. I talked with the agency and they said they will find another house as soon as possible. However, they took no action for the next two months.

Things started to change after I find out the truth. These experiences had changed my personality forever. Because there is no one to back me up in this foreign country,

I am careful of my actions and try to stay out of trouble. I noticed that people viewed my personality as one to take advantage of. Once I noticed this, I used it to my advantage and decided to have my voice heard. Once, I got yelled at for not facing the showerhead forward; however, I didn’t even touch it when I shower. Sometimes, I also got into trouble with things like eating two eggs a day. To be polite, I always apologized. However, it didn’t stop the criticizing. During this depressing time, I was thinking about giving up on my journey in America. Then, a miracle happened. My guru texted me through a Chinese app. I still remember today word by word of that text.

“I know what is going on, and you will be fine.”

All of a sudden, tears fell from my face that no words could explain the feeling I had. It was like a long-lost kid finally found her home. It is the feeling that you finally have someone that could totally understand you. It is an encouragement that I never felt before. When people asked me how to have faith in a person that appears no different than the others. It is hard to answer. My guru had known about all the difficulties without me even telling him. He had encouraged me when I felt lost and he guided me like a loving father through the midst of dangers. However, it is nothing like an emotional relationship that connects us together. We are more like a teacher and a student. Just like a famous verse in Buddhism: “guru is the finger that points you towards the moon”. He kept on reminding me that I am the only one that can fulfill my life. Relying on any form of either another person or objects could not lead us to the moon. Guru allows you to become who you are with the selfless compassion. He directs you through your life journey and never gives up on you. Thinking about that fills my eyes with tears again.


One Comment

  1. hup43

    First and foremost, I wanted to say how amazing I find this blog and your posts. You had so much courage to move alone to a different country where you didn’t know anyone else and you had so many different moments where you could have easily packed your bags and left, but you endured. As a kid, I always read stories about kids who would venture into foreign countries and worlds and while that fascinated me, I never had the bravery to do the same. It’s mind-blowing to find someone who has the experiences I wished to have for so many years, so this blog is very inspiring for someone like me. Guru seems like a very wise and selfless person and I hope to find someone like that in my own life eventually. This post made me curious about the rest of your blog and you tell the stories of the places you travel, the people you meet, and your questions and observations in such a way that makes me introspect my own life. Honestly, you should write a book about all of your experiences because it would be so interesting (especially finding out about that mysterious “gardener” and the feeling of setting foot into a foreign nation alone)!

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