This is the story of my first day.*
"I am a cute Chinese girl with a man’s heart. I like adventures and freedom."

Beijing, China

Boston, Massachusetts


I am a cute Chinese girl with a man’s heart. I like adventures and freedom. Therefore, in summer in 2016, I went to the United States for the first time with ambition. I was eager to grow more independent and brave when exploring my new life.

A week later, my first chance to go on an adventure came. My university organized a trip for international students to go to Boston. In the beginning, we all took the bus together to go to the Boston Common. Then in the park, students could choose whether to travel by themselves or to follow the teachers. Because the number of Chinese students was large, they divided themselves into several groups to travel apart. Students from other countries all chose to follow the teacher. But I was the only one who chose to travel by myself. I wanted to achieve my ambition. I wanted to be more independent and brave.

When my Japanese friend learned that I was going to explore Boston alone, she was a little worried for me. But I comforted her by saying that it was actually a good chance for me to enjoy such a good time and that I would be ok. I knew clearly that my English was poor and needed improvement. I didn’t want to stay with a lot of Chinese people and speak only Chinese with them. Besides, I wanted to follow my own agenda. Without other people talking and putting forth their opinions, I was better able to not only see with my eyes but also experience the scenery with my ears, body and mind. Following the crowd was not my style. I desired more adventures. I traveled to many places such as Chinatown, Newbury ST, the public library, and even the famous Berklee College of Music. In addition, I also went shopping and bought a cute denim jacket. I practiced my English by asking someone to help take photos for me so I could record these great moments. All these adventures, which helped me find my way to be more independent and brave, made my heart fill with fresh joy.

However, when traveling alone, I did get into trouble because of my poor English, limited vocabulary, nonstandard pronunciation and lack of understanding of others’ words. At that time, I wanted to get a Charlie Card to go back to my university, but I found that the staff was not on duty. Luckily, a warm-hearted young American lady gave me her extra card that I could add money on. But when looking at different denominations of American coins, I got confused. I didn’t know which coins to use. I asked for help from a man beside me. He explained the coins to me and even gave me the right coins that I needed. I was so grateful. The first line I took was the Green Line which seemed to be the most complex one in Boston because it had many branches and different operating routes. So again, I sought for help. This time a Chinese man helped me. It was a lot easier to communicate, but I still couldn’t figure out the operating routines of the Green Line even when he repeated it to me in my own language. It was my bravery and independence that let me do this. It was really confusing, but I did it.

As soon as I came back to my dormitory, two German friends expressed their concerns for my safety. Senior students also admired my guts and courage because I am one of the youngest Chinese students in my university, and they wouldn’t dare to travel alone after coming to the United States for a few days. They couldn’t believe a little Chinese girl like me loved adventures as much as a warrior.

In my opinion, challenges and trying new things make my life more colorful and exciting. Although it may be dangerous to do adventures, it is also a great way to make me stronger emotionally. I like adventures. They make me grow up more quickly. Facing unexpected things and unknown people makes me more independent and brave. I achieved my ambition.

* The contributor of this story has asked that their name be withheld.