Learning a language takes time !

It’s again the start of a new school year. This is my 4th year as an international high school student, and I am a SENIOR!! New faces are walking and passing the street at CPW. Although I have missed the 1st week of school, I can still feel the blended excitement and nervousness when I step through the heavy brass door. I have worries too because– duh I am a senior– ACT, college apps, and not to mention socialization…  

Even studying in the US for so many years, I can still remember the embarrassing moments when learning English. Today, I am going to share some faux pas when I first began 8th grade in Philadelphia — I cried every morning as I stepped into school area for an ENTIRE week.  


  1. What are n.  Adj.  and  v. ?

Vocabulary quizzes should be one of the easiest because it’s based on pure memorization; and since I am a CHINESE, who started to memorize whole passages since elementary school, this should be simple as 1+1=2. The solid hour I spent on these 25 words further promoted my confidence for my first vocab quiz in Ms.D’s class.

At first, everything was on track – all questions I had expected occurred on the paper. I assumed that I would finish rapidly and perfectly. However, I saw something unfamiliar on the last page: parts of speech. Where is the speech? Which parts of the speech? I searched frantically throughout my paper, but I couldn’t find any speech. I felt a spark in my body, and it started to blaze. I felt disappointed in myself for not studying parts of speech before the quiz. Simultaneously, I was slightly angry at the teacher because she didn’t tell us about the speech. “This question is impossible to answer,” I mumbled in Chinese.

Looking around, I hoped to find a classmate who had the same confusion as I had. However, everyone was calm and concentrated. A few minutes later, when I was still confronting parts of speech, my classmates started to walk delightfully toward the teacher one after another.

I, who should be the first, became the last one. The spark I felt turned into a volcano that was going to erupt, I walked toward the teacher. BAM! I slammed the paper on her table, I did not mean to be rude but I couldn’t control my emotion anymore. “What is parts of speech?” I was too emotional and too desperate to know the answer that I forgot her name.

Tip #1:  Never try to find a speech on ur vocab quiz!!!

  1. Do U text or Google?

Although I was fine verbally communicating with my friends, everything became harder when it came to texting. They like to use abbreviations, which, for me, was like an alien language; and the most frustrating part was that I knew these letters. I started memorizing the English alphabet since FIVE, but they seemed to be so distant when some of them were missing. Every text was like a mental exercise that I needed to guess possible word combinations for the abbreviation. Most of the time, I would end up googling the meaning.

There was one time when my friend and I were texting about the homework during dinner time. “Can u bring me that plz?”  Maybe because my growling stomach affected my understanding, or I couldn’t bother googling the word, I started to browse “The Best Pizza in Philadelphia.” “Aren’t we supposed to talk about homework? Anyways, she might be hungry too. What kind of pizza does she want though?” Umm… stopped for 30 seconds, I started to search “the most popular flavor of pizza in the US.” “BUT, how can I bring it to school… Do they offer deliver early in the morning? Maybe I should ask her tomorrow, and order it at school.”

I couldn’t fall asleep that night as I imagined the smile on her face was covered by clouds when seeing my empty hands. “Aww, that’s too sad! How could I do that?” Deciding to apologize to her tomorrow morning, I fell asleep while preparing my words. Next morning, before she opened her mouth, I explained my concerns when ordering the pizza using all the words I could think of in my head, which were mainly composed of ah… um… eh… One of her eyebrows raised, after a while, she laughed.

Tip #2: Let Google help u battling with abbr. (Never search for pizza though)!!


3.  What’s ur next period?

Because English was my second language, I had a study period when others were taking language classes. In my impression, the period to do homework is called “study hall”. At least my last school used this name, and I remembered it appeared on my schedule at the start of the year. So when my friends asked me what I have next, I would answer: “study hall.”

They understood me when I said “study hall”, and I felt nothing wrong with the word. Until one day, my classmate asked me: “Do you have ‘stay hall’ next?” I became confused. Pretending to be calm and natural, I nodded my head and said nothing. Meanwhile, my brain started her battle: “‘Stay hall’? Did I say something wrong for the whole time? What is study hall then?”

Believing my classmate would never be wrong because she is a native speaker, I started to convince myself to accept the word — “stay hall”, it did make a lot of sense because I stay in a room to do my homework. Maybe it was just one of those words in American culture I didn’t know. Since then, I corrected myself by using “stay hall”, and I felt really lucky that no one found out I was wrong before.

It wasn’t until the end of the year that I realized the study period was called “STUDY hall”. It was the same in America!

Tip #3: be CONFIDENT about ur English !!!

Here are some of my fun stories that I experienced as an international student in the U.S for the 1st year. Hope you’ll like them. Also, feel free to share ur stories in the comment!

Happy NEW school year !!!



“8 Parts of Speech Posters.” SLP Insights, slpinsights.com/products/8-parts-of-speech-posters-for-speech-therapy-and-english-language-learners.

“Acronyms,Abbreviations,Initialisms.” Pinterest, www.pinterest.com/helenrichards94/acronymsabbreviationsinitialisms/.

“Bay City High School.” Donna Stillions / New School Year Memes, www.bcblackcats.net/Page/1111.


“The Very Best Pizza Memes and Funny Photos.” CraveOnline, 11 Aug. 2016, www.craveonline.com/mandatory/1055976-the-very-best-pizza-memes-and-funny-photos.

Spring Break

After another 3 months study, I had a two weeks break. Since it was kind of long and I really missed home, I decided to go back to Shanghai. It was really exciting for me to see my family again and after a 15 hours flight, I  finally arrived in Shanghai. For the first few days, I chose to stay at home because of the jet lag and the fact that I wanted to spend my time with my family. My dogs were really happy to see me and so was I. I felt really sorry that I did not have a lot of chances to stay with them and was really glad that they still remembered me. After the first few days of staying at home, I spent some days with my friends. We went to watch movies and ate a lot of food.

There were two exciting things that I did during the break. The first thing was that I celebrated my mother’s birthday with her. It was a valuable opportunity for me to do that after I went abroad. I hoped that she could be happy and worry less about me, and I really thank her for the things that she did for me these years. Another thing I did was that I went to Hangzhou, a city near Shanghai. I liked to drink the tea in Hangzhou and during the break I had the chance to did that. I went to my favorite teahouse and spent an afternoon there. It was such a relax and I enjoyed it a lot.

I think spring break was a good chance for me to take a rest from school work and help me to release my pressure that I had from school. I hope that I can achieve an academical success after the break and I set two goals for the trimester. The first one is that I hope I could have grades above 90 for all the subjects. In addition, the personal goal I had was that I hope I could do more exercises and eat healthier.


The Week

  1. I fully agree with the quote that learning is not only about test and test grade should not be a major factor to measure a student’s ability. Almost every student feels nervous about tests and sometimes their actual ability will be affected by their nervous. However, this does not mean they do not familiar with the materials and they do not pay effort. Moreover,  tests are only a small part of learning. The process of gaining knowledge, developing new skills and understanding their abilities ( strengths and weakness) are much more important than the test itself. One’s life does not depend on their test grade in school and they are not going to filling in the right bubble when they start working.
  2.  Kataguiri found the Free Brazil Movement, a libertarian group that espouses free-market values and helped to organize many protests in Brazil, while Shiraishi is the youngest person, wholcompleted the most difficult rock-climbing challenges. Mohamed started a debate over anti-Muslim bias, Ledecky holds three swimming world records, Smith, the son of Will smith makes waves in music and Zendaya, a Disney star became an advocate for natural beauty. Additionally, Silento’s video, “Watch Me” logged more than 300 million views, Hallisey investigated new methods for Ebola crisis, and Jenner was the most watched teenager in the world. Mcgarry opens his own restaurant in NYC, Obama is now a full- fledged icon, Turton, a writer for tech site The Daily Dot, nabbed scoops about Uber firings and Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, launched a campaign for the global education. I think Kataguiri is the most influential teen out of all of them because he did something for his country. The movement that he found and the protests he organized helped the situation in Brazil. Also, he even quit school for that, which make me think that he is the most influential teen.
  3.  If I could create a movement in order to become an influential teen, I would found a movement for children in undeveloped places to receive an education. I think it is meaningful because I think this movement can help those children. Also, the reason that I hope them can receive an education is that I think knowledge can change one’s life. Having an education will not only be beneficial for them to get a better job in the future, but also useful in life that knowledge will educate them the way to protect themselves. Therefore, if I had an opportunity, I would do so for the sake of becoming an influential teen.
  4. a) The Super Bowl:  the annual championship game of the National Football League and the highest level of professional American football in the world                                                                                                         b) Talladega Superspeedway: formerly known as Alabama International Motor Speedway, is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama                                                                                              c)  Rodeo: a competitive sport that arose out of the working practices of cattle herding
  5. Hamburger and hot dog are two foods are national symbols according to the article
  6.  This means the quality of the evidence firmly links it to cancer.
  7. Red meat is meat that is red when raw, such as beef or lamb.
  8. I do not eat a lot in a day. For weekdays, since I  get up late in the morning and do not have a lot of time to eat breakfast, I usually eat bread or cereal and fruit. For lunch, because I do not have a lunch period, I usually eat an apple and for dinner, I usually eat vegetables to make sure that I have enough vitamins. During weekends, I will get up late in the morning and I just eat one or two meals. I do not like to eat meat and I eat a lot of seafood instead of meat. I think it will be hard for me to become a vegetarian or vegan because I cannot live without seafood!
  9.  I lived in a place, where war continuously happened. It used to a  wealthy and peaceful place. However, everything changed after the war. I lost my father and brothers because  our country needed soldiers. I lived with my mother. However, since she had some mental problems after the death of my family member, I became the one to work. I hope everything would become better in the future that I could receive an education and become a doctor.
  10.  Zootopia is a story about an animal world. The city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live. Judy Hopps, the first rabbit to join the police force, quickly learns the toughness to enforce the law. In order to prove herself, Judy jumps at the opportunity to solve a mysterious case. She works with Nick Wilde, a wily fox, and under their effort, the case has been solved. Zootopia is an interesting movie, with dramatic plots. It is a movie that suit both children and adults to watch. The positive message that the movie conveys makes the audiences feel hope for their future.
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impromptu writing 3.1

In the picture, there is a girl sitting on a  bench next to the fireplace. She wears a long-sleeve dress and cups her chin in the palm of her hands. The girl looks at the floor and concentrates on thinking about something. Around her, there is a bed next to the and a bench and there is a  window above the bed. Everything in his house looks old and she seems lost and lonely.

It was my birthday. I changed into my birthday dress that my mother bought me five years ago on the market. Even though it was not new, I really liked it and wore it every birthday. However, I was not happy because I was the only one left in the house. After the death of my father, mother needed to do all the work in order to prevent us from being hungered. I thought  she would have been here for me today


In the picture, there is a girl sitting on a  bench next to the fireplace. She wears a long-sleeve dress and cups her chin in the palm of her hands. The girl looks at the floor and concentrates on something. Around her, there is a bed next to the bench and there is a  window above the bed. Everything in her house looks old and she seems lost and lonely.

It was my birthday. I changed into my birthday dress that my mother bought me five years ago on the market. Even though it was not new, I really liked it and wore it every birthday. However, I was not happy because I was the only one left in the house. After the death of my father, mother needed to do all the work in order to prevent us from being hungry. I thought  she would have been here for me today.


Trimester 2 Reflection

How did you do? What were your strengths and weaknesses? What improved? What do you want to improve for next trimester

For trimester 2, I think I did not do a really good job academically that my grades dropped a lot. I think there were several factors that caused that result. First, for English, it was because the three major speaking grades, which included Shakespeare Monologue and two Socratic seminars. This indicated that I needed to put more effort in my speaking. Moreover, I also have some difficulties in chemistry and history, that for chemistry I spent most of my time talking with others instead of listened to the teacher; and for history, I really could not understand the materials and I still needed to find a way to solve it. And for the other classes, I did a good job, except for the class participation.

Through the second trimester, I learned my strengths and weaknesses and understood them clearer. I think my strengths was that I could understand the materials pretty fast. Therefore, my writing is one the strongest among other aspects. However, I had a lot more weaknesses and the most major one was speaking, and this has been shown by my class participation grades, presentation grades, Socratic seminar and monologue grade. However, there was another thing that I was not very good at, which was the English in-class essay.  Since the time was limited, I always could not finish it on time, which affected my grade negatively. It also made me worried that I could not finish the essays in the final. Additionally, I think chemistry and history were my weakest subjects and I needed to find a way to improve my grades in these two classes.

Even though my grades dropped in trimester 2. there were some improvements.  The first improvement was that I felt much more comfortable in the class that I was much familiar with my classmates after two trimesters and was now comfortable to talk with them. Furthermore, another improvement was that I improved my self-management skill that for the first trimester I always did the work right before its deadline, which caused me felt sleepy every day during classes. Therefore, for this trimester, I started to do my homework earlier, so I did not to stayed up late.

There were a number of things that I wanted to improve for next trimester. The first thing was that I needed to improve my grades, especially my chemistry and history grades. In addition, I need to improve my speaking, which included presentation and class participation. I need to feel much more comfortable to speak and need to practice more. I also need to improve my speed for writing that I need to maintain the quality of the essay, while finished it on time. I think these improvements that I wanted to make was pretty challenging and I needed to pay a great effort in order to achieve them.

The Week

  1. During the 1930s, New york was under the Greet Depression and I lived in Manhattan during that time period. Unlike the life now, there were some financial issues with my family during that time, that there was no enough money to afford me to go to school. Every morning, I went to central park and spent the whole morning there watching people exercising and relaxing. After that, I would go home and have lunch, which normally would be bread and a cup of water. I usually spent my afternoon playing with dogs on the street and I would go to the school in the neighbourhood at 3 to wait those kids coming back from the school.  During the night, I would stay home or go to my friend’s house to play with them.
  2.  I think football should not be banned in America because it represents the spirit of this country and it is a very popular sport in the country. However, since football is a dangerous sport that people will easily get hurt during the game, there should be some  strict rules and age restriction to make sure that people would be safe by playing this sport. For example, people, who below 16 years old shall not participate in this sport because they are still too young that they may easily get hurt and they do not have the ability to be responsible for their actions. Also,  people, who are above 35 shall also not be in the game of football. Since they are getting older, it will be bad for them to get hurt. The reason that football is not popular in my home country is that football is too dangerous for people in China to paly.
  3. I spent most of my day sitting on the chair because during the day I am having classes in school, which I need to sit from 8 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. After I go home, I have dinner and do my homework, which also require me to sitting on a chair. The changes that I can  make that I am noting sitting so much is that I can stand to do my homework and do more exercise when I am free. When I lived in China, I sit less because I have much more time there. I usually walk for an hour after I have dinner and half  an hour after lunch because there is a much longer lunch period in the school. Also, during the weekend, I will spend most of my time with my friends outside, so I will less time to sit.
  4. I don’t think that Trump should be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize because he used a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, ISIS, nuclear Iran and Communist China. The fact that he used a violent way to fight against other countries is not a peaceful action. Therefore, he is not worth to nominate the Prize. I think people, who should be nominated the Nobel Peace Prize are those, who used a peaceful way to solve a worldwide issue about peace.
  5. If I were given one extra hour today, I would go to watch a movie. Since I have a lot of work this trimester, I did not go to watch a movie for a long time. Also, there are some Chinses movies that I really want to watch recently. Moreover, watch a movie can help me to be relaxed and to have a rest from the work. Therefore, I will choose to watch a movie for that hour.
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January 22 Impromptu Writing

On the stage, there is a black woman, who is wearing a colorful sleeveless t-shirt and a blue and pink scarf on the head. She is facing the audience and having a speech. Her arms are opening and her hands are doing some gestures. The audiences under the stage are looking at her. However, since they are not the focus of the photo, their faces and expressions are not shown.

It is a special day in my life.  A college invited me to have a speech for them to telling their students about my story. It was my first time to stand in front of a huge amount of people. I was very nervous, but I was more excited. I picked my favorite clothes and scarf, they give me courage and make me feel confident. I never thought that I would tell others about my story one day, but when I stood on the stage I felt being supported. My arms have been burned during the war. However, I was proud of it because it was the proof of my experience.

My Holiday Break

It was almost the Chrismas time. After studied for four months, I had my first holiday break in this school year. It was a great chance for me to take a break from my heavy school work and to relax by doing some fun things. Since the break was two weeks long, I chose to go back to China and spent some time with my family and friends. I have planned a list of things that I was going to do during the break and was really excited about the trip to China, which I waited for so long.

I left the United States in December. 18th. After the 15 hours flight, I finally arrived in Shanghai. The first thing I did after I went back to home was to see my dogs. I missed them so much and could not wait to see them anymore. Before I arrived, I have imagined several reactions that they would have after they saw me. However, the reality was harsh. They played with each other happily and ignored my existence.

The thing that I liked most during the break was to meet my friends. On the first day of 2016, we went to “Happy Valley”, an amusement park in Shanghai. It was actually my first time been there because it was really far from the place I lived and there were always a lot of people in the “Happy Valley”. After my friends and I arrived in the “Happy Valley”, we went on the roller coaster directly. It was my favorite amusement ride, and I really enjoyed to ride on it. We spent the entire day in the “Happy Valley” and the only thing we did was riding on different roller coasters in the amusement park. It was really fun and I really wanted to go back again.

There were many things I did during the break and I have met a lot of people during this time. For me, two weeks were too short and there were still a lot of things that I did not have time to complete. I was really glad that I could spend this time with my family and friends that I have not seen so a long time. It was a really great holiday break. I hope that I could go back soon and spend more time with them.

December 11th impromptu writing

It is a black and white photo. In the center of the photo is the two “protagonists”of this picture. The setting is a busy street with several stores and there are many people passing from the couple. The man, who is wearing a navy uniform is kissing with a woman in a white dress. He seize the woman around her waist and the woman is bend backward a little bit.

It was the beginning of autumn, and the weather started to turning colder. People started to wearing long-sleeves shirts and it is the time when the navy came back. I have been waiting this moment for a long period of time, and I was soo excited to see him again. I dressed nicely in a white dress; it was the one he bought for me when he left. He said he liked me in white! After I arrived the street that we met for the last time before he left, I saw him and he was waiting for me. He was still in his navy uniform, and it looked so nice on him. When we walked closer and closer toward each other, he seized around my waist and kissed me.

Trimester 1 Reflection

1. Did you achieve them? Why or why not? What could you have done differently? How did you improve during trimester 1?

At the beginning of trimester 1, I have listed three goals that I was planned to achieve during the trimester. The three goals that I made was get into Dean’s List, complete community service hours and define to accurate theme of the books that I read during English class. The reason that I chose to set getting into Dean’s List was one of my goals was that it would to prove that I paid effort and did a good job during the trimester. For completing community service, I chose it because last year I struggled with it for a long time and I wanted it to finish earlier this time. So that I could have more time to spend on homework and personal project. Defining accurate themes was the English goal I set for myself, it would show my understanding of the book and help me to get a better focus on the essays.

By the end of the trimester, I have achieved most of them. Even though I did not know if I got into Dean’s List or not for this trimester, I paid effort on the classwork and completed the homework on time in a good quality. Moreover, I have complete all my community services, which was a really good news for me. So that, I did not need to worry about it for the rest of my school year. For defining themes for book in the English class, I thought I did a good job on it. I could define the theme of the book accurately and it have been proved by the grade of my essay.

There are many things that I could have done differently during the trimester. Even though I paid effort on the classes, I did not really participate in it. Usually I just sit there and listening to other’s thoughts , and never share my own. This is a major thing that I need to improve during the classes. In addition, I found that grammar was a huge problem that I had in the English Essays. Sometimes, I could not use the correct tenses in the essay and it was hard for me to find the word that I want to use, which is another thing I need to improve on.

The thing I have improved during trimester 1 was that I felt a little easier to communicate with my classmates. However, it was still a challenge for me to communicate with teachers sometimes. I also improved my attitude toward failure. Before, I afraid to fail and to have a bad grade on test and work. However, after several failures in the first trimester I learned that failure was not a bod thing and I should not be afraid of it.  Therefore, for during trimester 1 I accepted myself to make mistakes and I felt less pressure on the work.