My biggest dream when I was young
Dream, what a beautiful word. It gives me hope, purpose, and pushes me into actions.
Dream is changing over time, as I enter into the different stages of my life. Today, I’d like to share my dreams when I was young.
My first dream – Going to college:
When I was in the middle school and high school, my dream was crystal clear: going to college.
Why college? That was the only way to leave this poor and backward village permanently, and get a decent and government-guaranteed job in a city at that time.
Talking about this village, I really can’t find out any positive things about it even today. I must be biased. Though it’s my hometown, and I lived here for almost 16 years when I was young, this place is simply not my type.
Having lived here for over 6 weeks now, and still 7+ weeks to go, I just feel living here is a struggle every day.
Was it a struggle 40 years ago? Yes, but not to this extent. At that young age, I didn’t want to stay in this village, and farm the land. There is nothing wrong about doing farming. I just didn’t like it. I dreamed about a better place, where I wouldn’t have to work under the sun and with the dust. What kind of place would be better than this village? I didn’t know then.
I did what I could in the school, with the help of a lot of great teachers. I can never thank enough for my teachers and their hard work. Thank you all, you changed my life forever, and helped my dream to come true.
Unfortunately many of my childhood friends didn’t make it to college. Some even didn’t go to the high school. I met some of them during the last couple of weeks. We marveled and sighed at how life rolled out differently for each of us, with a lot of laughter, and sadness …
In 1981, luckily I was admitted to a college in Beijing, one of the best cities in China. Going to Beijing laid down the foundation for my next dream.
My 2nd and biggest dream – Going to America:
Beijing is such a vibrant city, a place full of imagination.
Going to Beijing was a big blessing to me. Suddenly I realized the world was huge, and there were tons of possibilities ahead of me. Beijing was nice, but there was much nicer places out there.
In our dorm building, there also lived a group of folks who were in their late 20s or early 30s. Coming from different companies or government agencies, they were attending an English training class, to prepare for the coming training in western countries.
Wow, going overseas sounded very intriguing to me.
Day in and day out, I saw them practicing the rusty English with each other, and giggling about it. I was telling myself: I wanted to go to US or Canada to see the world, too.
One college classmate’s family immigrated to US, and she joined her family in US right after college. I wished I had that opportunity.
In the graduate school in Beijing, I had two roommates. One went to University of Manitoba in Canada during our 2nd year in the school. The other went to Queen’s University in Canada right after graduation. They sent me some pictures, and I knew I wanted to leave China, too.
The brutal reality was that, I didn’t have the money for the TOEFL and GRE tests, and of course no money for the international flight, and the living/tuition expenses overseas.
No money? Don’t worry, as long as the dream is still on. On January 1, 1996, I set up my New Year resolution: going to America. After working for 7+ years, I saved enough money, and my dream was re-ignited.
In the fall of 1996, I was admitted as an MBA student by the Ashland University. I flew with the Northwest Airline, and got so excited. At the end, I touched down on the soil of Ohio.
Yes, finally my dream came true. My ride from the Cleveland airport to Ashland, Ohio was breathtaking. Watching the endless trees and green fields passing by, I realized going to America was absolutely the right call. This would be my home.
Since then, I have been embracing the fresh air, greenness, personal freedom / independence / identity in America, and never looked back.
Any regrets? Yes. I wish I didn’t wait for that long. Getting some working experience in China was nice, but 7+ years seemed too long. But, I’m glad I still made it, at the age of 30, by myself.
My point is that, it’s never too late to pursue your dream. Start today, and take the actions.
Thinking back, if I didn’t go to Beijing for college, let’s say if I went to the capital city Tai Yuan of my province Shan Xi, most probably I wouldn’t dream about going to America. The surroundings matter a lot. In that sense, thank you, Beijing, you inspired me for sure.
What’s my dream right now? The short-term dream for the next 2 months is:
- I hope my mom gets adjusted to the new life smoothly;
- The next 7+ weeks in this village are wrapped up quickly with less pain; (If you know any way to fast forward the time clock, please do let me know)
- Have fun with my college buddies in Beijing in late Jan; and
- Go back to my sweet home in central Ohio, to enjoy my life there.
That’s my dream. A long one, isn’t it?
Dear readers, what’s your biggest dream when you were young? Did it come true? How did you make it? Any regrets?