The Immigrant Experience: Charlie

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Living in the United States: Then and Now

Charlie, Class 4.5

I’ll never forget the first day that I came to New York. I came to this city on October 6, 2008. It was a lovely fall day. The sun was shining, the weather was warm. My friends drove me here from Boston.

I looked out the window of the car on the way. Almost all the leaves on the trees had changed color. They were red, green, yellow, purple, and so on. It seemed a variety of colors was painted across the land. Everywhere looked like a huge beautiful picture. I loved this environment, I loved this landscape, and I loved this country.

When I arrived in New York, the first stop was in Flushing, Queens. Because the Chinese who came from North China like to live in Flushing, my friend sent me there.

When I got to the Main Street of Flushing, I was shocked by the condition. Is this New York? Is this America? No, I thought. It seemed like I had gone back to China. I thought I had gone back to Taidong, a famous business place in my hometown. I saw almost everyone had an Asian face, I heard nearly everybody speaking Chinese, and there were a lot of stores, restaurants, banks, and supermarkets with Chinese names. Only one thing was different from China: that was everyone was using American dollars instead of Chinese yuan. Only that let me know that I was in America rather than China.

There was too much noise, too much dirt, and too many crowds all over the city. I thought maybe this was New York. So in fact I didn’t like it here the first day.

Now, I have been living in New York for more than 5 years. I have moved many times, and I have visited many different places. I have already changed my idea about New York. I more and more love this city because I find that living here is much more convenient than other places in America.

Here I can get any food that I like. Here I can do everything without English. Here I can get a perfect education so I can improve my life, and there are many opportunities to find a job here.

So I have decided to live here until I retire.

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