NAAAP Boston News
AAPI Heritage Month - Freda Li's Story on how to be Happy and move forward at difficult times!
Hello everyone, I’m Freda, a 15-year-old highschooler. Today I’m here to share some small pieces of my life with you, it’s a short story compare to you guys’, but I guess it’s still fairly interesting.
In 2002, on a beautiful day, a pretty, lovely, and smart angel was born in Chicago. And… Yup you’re right, that was me. Two months later, my parents, who were studying in Chicago, brought me and my brother to China. And I went to preschool and elementary school and lived there for more than ten years. In those ten years, I didn’t have to worry about school work or friendships or anything, really. I was one of the number 1 students, I was popular, I had many many friends, and teachers liked me, too. I couldn’t have had a better and happier life.
Then in 2014, after I graduated from my elementary school, I came here, America, and went to a middle school in Brookline. And suddenly many things changed, in fact, everything changed. I wasn’t the number 1 student anymore, well in math I still was, but other classes, not really, I wasn’t, obviously, popular, though it wasn’t what I cared either. What really bothered me was that I didn’t even have many friends. I was quiet, I was kind of nervous all the time, I never raised my hand in any class, and I just did not want to communicate with anyone. And it was all because of my bad English, my poor vocabulary. I couldn’t understand some of the things other people said, and even if I did, I wouldn’t have known how to reply because I didn’t know the words in English. Therefore there were many many, countless awkward and embarrassing moments. They were inevitable, they could have happened at any point, but I never, got used to them. In other words, I felt equally or even more embarrassed every time it happened. So yeah it was a horrible experience. But, it was also precious. I learned from it, I grew after the experience. During the hardest times, I thought of going back to China, but I knew that I couldn’t, because if I went back, I would have probably been the worst student in the whole school. For this reason, I ended up having no other choices besides facing and overcoming the difficulties. And so I stayed.
Fortunately, my life did not disappoint me and had proven that my choice was not bad. In the second year, things indeed got better, so much better. Everybody, including myself, could see it. I had more friends, I talked more, I was even talkative sometimes, I raised my hand in class, and I just changed. I was not the quiet Asian girl that people never knew that had existed anymore, I was Freda, I was, one of the students in that school, I was a part of that community.
Besides the new things happening at school, I also gave myself a challenge - I had a dream. I wanted to be a writer. So I started writing online. In the first few months, I just wrote and updated whenever I wanted, and it was very slow. Until one day, when I saw the first comment in the comment section under my book, I was really really surprised. I couldn’t believe it. At that time, one comment made me so happy like I had earned the whole world. Since then I started updating every day. Writing turned from a hobby to a responsibility. And now I’ve been doing this for three years. Maybe many of you would think that I would have a lot of fans by now, but actually, no. I thought three years was so long and have complained about how I’ve gained nothing from these years, but just recently, I realized that for a dream to come true, it might take my entire life. And it’s still worth it. Because no matter what, I am growing and improving. And if one day, my dream does come true, I will be really really proud of myself. Because I know what I have gone through and what I have done for this dream and this day to come.
Okay you know what? We should talk about something happier. If you were to ask me, “What makes you happy?” I would first say, my dream coming true, then, traveling, and, helping people. In my opinion, helping people, is the easiest, but also the hardest among these three. Why is it easy? Not everybody asks a house or a billion dollars from you! Most of the times, they just need you to smile at them, say “hi” to them, tell them a joke, pick up a pencil they drop for them, remind them of something they leave behind, or just being there. People need less than what we think they do, in other words, we can do more than we think we can. I’m sure that many of you have helped somebody or been helped by somebody in your life, I would assume that that action did not make you sacrifice too much, and I bet that was a pretty nice experience that you still remember.
I’m a very lucky person, it’s not only because of how much I have been helped by other people, but also how big of an opportunity I have to help people in numerous different ways.
After I came to America, a professional pianist sent her children to our house, soon, they the brother and sister became my brother and I’s first students. Since then we had “officially” started our education career. We use our rigorous attitude and interesting style fixed parents’ confusion and the kids’ problem of not wanting to learn. As a piano teacher, I try my best to teach my students everything that I learned from the age of 4 and make them the best pianists they can be while believing that all of them could make the most out of themselves. As an English teacher, I try to be as original and unique as possible so that my students can not only learn the letters and words, but also the culture behind the language. Because language is for communication and interaction, not quizes and tests at school.
Knowledge and skills are priceless, but they give a person more value. And teaching is the best way of learning, practicing as well.
Some people always say “Be patient, time will do the work”. Yes, time does do the work, but this only happens when it’s accompanied by your hard work. There’s teamwork. One shouldn’t do everything while the other doesn’t do anything.
I’m not accomplished, to be honest, I haven’t accomplished anything, really. But today I’m here because I’ve grown and improved. And I believe that I will always get closer and closer to my dream, until the day it comes true.
So be happy for yourself, and move forward. There’s no ending, but you will always be closer and closer to your dream.
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