Despite currently living in Needham, I have lived in three different countries, and within US, I have been living in different places. I was born in Vancouver, Washington,, right across the Columbia river from Portland, Oregon, where my parents were studying and working at the time. Soon after, however, I moved to Florida as a result of my dad’s work. I spent 2 years there before moving to China to live with my grandparents for 2 years. This was a very a important time for me as an impressionable 4 year old, and it was because of this that I initially picked up Mandarin as my first language. After that, I moved to Canada to live with my parents again, going through elementary school, before finally moving to Needham in the summer of 2014 due to my parent’s work, just in time for 6th grade to start.
Some of my earliest memories are of living in Florida, and although I was young, some of the things I experienced there would influence me into becoming the person I am now. As many people may already know, the swamps and ponds of Florida are infested with Alligators, and from a young age, I was fascinated by them. I can vividly remember spending hours looking at the countless turtles and alligators that swam in the pond nearby, as well as chasing the many small anole lizards that could be found in the neighborhood. This, combined with easy access to sea, helped inspire some of my passion for nature and the outdoors.
I am a Chinese-American. I take pride in my culture and heritage. At home, I eat chinese food, speak the chinese language, and my childhood years spent in China really cemented my own identity as a Chinese. In China, I spent my time split between my grandparent’s house in Jinan, and my Aunt’s place in the seaside town of Yantai. I would often go visit the rocky coasts of Yantai, spending my time catching crabs and snails among the rocky outcrops. My years living in China have had an undeniable influence on me and my goals.
In winter of 2008, I moved to Canada. I stayed in Toronto for 6 years, through the entirety of my elementary school days. Toronto is well known as a multicultural metropolitan, with over 50% of the population being part of a minority group, and I felt that I fit right in moving from China. After a short sting as part of the ESL (english as a second language) program of my school, I soon began making friends. Some of my closest friends that I still talk to even today were from my elementary school days. I was known among my friends as the “science” kid, and in 5th grade graduated elementary school.
I moved to Needham the summer before 6th grade. Moving from Toronto to Needham was a major shock, as I had spent over half my life in Toronto and the thought of losing everything I held familiar scared me. However, although I had my fair share of troubles, Needham has grown on me. The suburban lifestyle is much different from what I was used to.