I have been living in the United States for almost two years as a new immigrant. I have been to a few cities before, and the first stop was Los Angeles, and then went to a small town in extreme northwest Florida which is called Pensacola; one and a half month later, I flew to San Francisco; a few days later, I came back to Los Angeles. It’s a place fulfilled with my memories. I began my journey here, and I believe it will be here to end of my journey in the future.
Monterey Park, which is called “Little Taipei”, is a place where I live, I work, and I study. It’s the first place I came in the United States with mixed feelings and mixed love.
I hate it. It’s my first impression of Monterey Park. The first night here, I lived in a residential home with 25 dollars a night in a smelly room. It was dark and cold, and the moonlight streaming in through the window was only fun I had that night. I found a very mixed group of individuals, some of whom I could relate to and others with whom I had very little in common. And most of them are over forty years old, coming from mainland China, without legal status. But I could tell they are those people who fight for the future for their families in China, even though they are suffering now. And some people seemed to be nice and dropped me to a phone store to buy a phone and choose my phone number, which cost me almost two hundred dollars and I found it only taking fifty dollars or less later. After almost running out of my money, that’s why I went to Pensacola later. I only spent fifteen days in Monterey Park and left with disappointment and sadness. And with my doubt also, does the United States really look like this, crowed street full of Chinese and tricks?
I love it. I came back to Monterey Park after two months. I found out I started to like this small city with lots of people when I got used to living here, working here and studying here. I have a great landlord who treats me as his granddaughter; I have a good job working as a travel consultant; I got my green card here and got a chance to restart my education in East Los Angeles College; I can find the food, language and people of my country here; I meet an awesome boyfriend here; I love its warm weather, blue sky, fresh air and beautiful flowers; I love its park where I can relax myself after a whole week of study and work. I love here and I glad to stay here.
Monterey Park is the place where I start my journey in my life, the beginning of the United States and foundation of my future success.
I have been here for more than one year. I felt so perplexed when I just came here because of the culture shock. Now I feel more comfortable here, and I begin to love it.
When I arrived here, all things were so different from what I expected before. There was just some magnificent buildings. The city was so quiet. I thought it will be very noisy, because there were so many cars. When I was worried about my English and if I was suitable for the diet, to my surprise, there were so many Chinese super markets and Chinese restaurants here. I can buy the Chinese food conveniently. Not only the Chinese products, but also the environment here is very different form what I expected before. There are so many trees around us, especially in some living area. The trees in both side of the street can cover the street. Even thought we are walking on the street at noon, we won’t feel very hot. This kind of convenience and the good environment make me more like it here.
Not only the environment, but also the people are so nice here. Once, I took a bus to Pasadena with my friend. We both not knew the road well at that time. We went there follow the Google map’s direction. But we took off the bus at the wrong stop. We didn’t know what to do, finally, we asked the other people for help. A car stop beside us, and there was an old lady inside. We went in and asked her. She told us, there was still a long way there, but she can give us a ride there. When we heard that, we feel so surprise and thankful. The lady was so nice that I still remember her now.
The longer I live here, the more I like this city, I like all the things here.
I was born in a small village which was poor and sparsely populated, therefore, I only had a few playmates. My parents worked far away from home. I was so lonely. Things got to changed after I moved into a new neighborhood, a center of our small town. I found my playmates, connection, and joy. Now I would like to shared with you my pleasurable neighborhood.
I lived in a main trading center, to be specific, it was a trading street. Business hours were only in the morning time. When the sun had risen, merchants opened their shops and started doing business. The street would became a living market.
After the student came home from school, it was a totally different scene. The street became a “Carnival”. There was a big banyan in the middle of the street. The tree was so high with huge trunks and biggest leaves. It was our happy spot. Adults would bring the tables under the tree and started to play pokers and Chinese chess. All the kids were gather together play games, such as hide and seek, skipping grope etc. An old lady would always turn on the radio. The radio was humming and the leaves of the banyan tree in the massive yard swayed in the sun. I spent most of my time in this special spot. I remembered I always brought snacks to share with my playmates. We played game and chatted. It was so much fun.
When the sun goes down, parents would called us home to have dinner together. The street would suddenly slowed down a little bit. You could hear birds tweedled and flew past the roofs. I remembered we always brought our dinner outside and ate with friends in the summer time. The moon lights were softly shining on our face. The stars were smiling at us.
I lived in this special street for most seven years. It was the most happy time during my whole life. I still remember the tree, the shops, and my neighbors. I think I would never forget.
Imagine waking up to a very bright flash of sunlight coming through your window, your neighbors playing loud music by eight in the morning and your mom is rushing because she is late for work. Those are the kind of mornings I have, not just in the weekends but almost every day. It’s a nice small neighborhood on the border line of Boyle Heights and East L.A.
Walking down my stairs and through my neighborhood you will see nice trimmed trees, pretty flowers, and little kids playing outside. There can be some days when it is very peaceful and my neighbors are outside saying good morning when you pass by but then there is other days when my neighborhood is very bad and there is writing on the wall, kids with big black sweaters and baggy pants walking around causing trouble, and it is just bad.
People outside their homes in their front yard, the kids outside playing, the smell of BBQ from your neighbor’s yard, the old people drinking, and singing to Spanish music, that is my neighborhood. That is the place I have known my whole life. Everyone around my neighborhood is very close to each other, whether it is the little kids or the adults. Mostly everyone around belongs to one my aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, and we all grew up there in that neighborhood. For people who live there I’m sure they feel safe three because everyone there is family and we all look out for each other. It is a very happy place to live for me.
This place “My Neighborhood” in my eyes it is the best place to be. Houses around there are mostly property of passed family members that have been passed on to their children or other family members. I feel safe it is my home.
Back in high school I made a lot of good friends some that I don’t talk about anymore, others just lost contact, and some that I still talk to till this day. During freshman year of high school one of my friends introduced me to Andres. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “Hey! Nice to meet you!” sounding so energetic. He has the goofiest smile that can brighten one of your coldest days. Andres always wore a Dodgers cap over his long wavy hair with a marine co. key chain always hanging out of his left pocket.
All of my friends and I would always be together in the same spot every day for lunch. Andres would always be the one messing around making everyone laugh. He was always just a joy to be around. With time he became my best friend. We always hang out together and talk about the most random things ever. When I am having a bad day I can always count on him to turn it around. He is just a genuinely nice person.
Everyone has things to take care of whether it be for school or for work. Most people thing Andres doesn’t do good in school or slacks off at work because of the way he presents himself, but he always gets his stuff done. He procrastinates a little bit but he always says, “You got to do what you have to do… So just do it.” He is a very smart guy with a big future in front of him. He never gives up on anything he sticks to it. Andres helps me out a lot in my life, motivating me to do good in school, talking to me, and I’m always there for him too.
Although Andres is a happy guy everyone has those days when things go wrong or bad things happen. I hate seeing Andres sad. It makes me sad but I always do my best to try to make him feel better like what he does to me. He also can sometimes have a short temper when he is having a bad day. Andres and I have not really gotten into any big fights, just little disagreements.
I couldn’t ask for anyone else to take the place of my best friend Andres. We have a great time when we are together and we help each other to do better. Even though he can be a pain sometimes I still love him. He is like a big brother.