What’s Left for Me?

As the last class of the semester finished last Thursday, my Master’s study in America was technically completed. Two years ago, I was curious and nervous to walk into the classroom, waiting for my first teacher in America. There she came! A curly short brown-haired woman entered the classroom in a breezy way. She’s Dr. McNaugher, the cool and fun professor as I heard about from my neighboring undergrads. Although I didn’t completely understand her sense of humor, I knew she’s creating the friendly atmosphere for our first encounter. Since that day, I realize American classroom is less of formality, more of casualness and pragmatism.

I wrote a piece about American classroom for my Chinese young readers. I’m not going to repeat my thinking on that track. What I want to say is I deeply appreciate the past two-year’s student life in a country that I’ve dreamed of visiting since my girlhood. My last class ended with my mentor, Marc Nieson, who has taught me writing crafts from the beginning. Frankly, Marc’s classes bookended my study in creative writing. Of course, my learning is not finished yet, it never will. I am still curious every single day. I am eager to learn. Perhaps that’s how learning fulfils my life, making it meaningful.

These days while sorting out my papers and packing, I found my acceptance letter from Chatham University. It’s a conditional offer. In the letter, it says, I must get a B grade or higher for my first semester, otherwise, I’ll be dismissed from the program. I remember how concerned I was when I first read that condition. Was I too confident about myself that I could fit into graduate study immediately or was the person who accepted me too worried that my academic performance might shame the MFA program? All I need is an opportunity. I’ve never considered myself a lucky person. Among those who apply for scholarship and teaching assistantship, I’m always the disappointed one. Among those who do good work to impress their supervisors and professors, I’m always the least-noticeable one. Even in my journey of applying for grad-school, among four universities, only Chatham accepted me but with one unfavorable condition. I took it. I also tried hard to trump the prejudice in the past two years.

I haven’t really written like this for a while. Hopefully, I’ll have more time to do so after graduation. For a change, in this blog, at least I don’t need to worry about if my writing is publishable, if it attracts readers, if the grammar is correct, if the contents make sense, if and if. 

All I want is to write from my heart.

Writing is like composing a piece of music. It may sound harsh, lacking melody and rhythm to some people. It may sound soothing and memorable to the others. But most importantly, the tune must carry the composer’s emotions. How she feels about that piece is how it will be interpreted through her understanding. 

Occasionally, my mother’s appearance still emerges from my subconscious mind, mostly in my slumber. I woke to her teary face last night, mistaking the trickling water in the bathroom sink for her sob. I wish I had stronger words to describe how authentic a dream can be. Chinese people say, it takes five hundred years of waiting for our acquaintances in this life. Thus, it’s fate that I finally meet the people I’ve met in America. Some of them are more than brushing-shoulder kind of acquaintances. We get to know one another like lifelong friends. Then, to make that relation between a mother and a daughter happen in this life, hadn’t my mother and I waited more than a thousand year in our previous lives?

I get to believe in fate as stronger as I’m aging. It’s fate that I came to America but not Canada for education. It’s fate that only Chatham accepted me. It’s fate that I bonded with Pittsburgh. It’s fate that the thread of the U.S. government shutdown happens before my official interview for permanent residency. Should the government really shuts down, my interview would have been postponed indefinitely. My uncertainty of returning to America would have been more obscure. I will have to leave.

But I want to be a wayfarer a bit longer. Where can I be? The world is my home.  If only I were a dust in the air.

What’s left for me for now and for the future? I ponder. . .


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