Life After Loss – Ten Years in America
April 19th – it is just a normal day for most of you, but for me, it is a life changing date that I probably will remember forever. Ten years ago, on that day, I came to America and started my new life in Michigan. When I stepped out of the airport, I was shocked. I couldn’t read any signs on the road and I couldn’t understand anything others were saying. I was totally lost. But I knew I had my man and he would be my bridge to this whole new world. As long as I had him, I was not afraid.
My man and I met in Shanghai. I knew no English and he only could say “hi,” “goodbye,” “thank you,” and “beer” in Chinese (this may or may not be an improvement over my stepdaughter who to this day knows “melon”, “watermelon,” “cantaloupe,” and “hi”). Through body language and a handy dictionary, we felt we had known each other for our whole lives. We knew what each other was thinking and we were always so happy to be together. So 10 years ago, I gave up my family, my career, my friends, and my life in Shanghai and came here to marry my man. But now he was gone. As you can imagine, I was quite blue a few days prior April 19th this year. I was not sure what I wanted to do on that day. I wanted to be happy and celebrate this special day, but I really wanted to do it with him, just like the past 9 years.
Traditionally, my husband and I always go to a Mexican restaurant to celebrate. You may ask why a Mexican restaurant? Why not a Chinese or American restaurant? It has to go back 10 years ago on 4/19. After 30+ hours of flights from China, I was super tired, and maybe a little grumpy too.;) My man knew I would not like the American Chinese food and I was not a fan of any western food at that time either. He really wanted to find something that I could enjoy, so he came up with a great idea. He thought since Chinese and Mexicans both like rice, I must like Mexican food. 😉 By the way, in China, Mexican food is very rare and I only had Taco Bell before in Shanghai. I can honestly tell you, the dinner my first day was a disaster. It was so bad, in fact, I was worried that I may starve to death in this country. Anyway, we often laughed at that day and every year we eat Mexican food to celebrate my first day in America.
This year the evening before 4/19, I was quite sad, but I didn’t want to cry because I was going to see Stacy London the next day. I really didn’t want big, puffy eyes for that important day. When I was working on my computer, suddenly my calendar popped up and said “Tomorrow Grace came to America for 10 years”. It was the reminder my man set on his phone and we shared our calendar. This finally triggered my tears. I cried for about an hour. I was so angry at whoever is responsible for taking my man away from me. Why me? Why him? Why us? I was also very sad because he would be so proud of me of for getting the chance to meet with Stacy London.
I posted my 10 years anniversary on my social media early that morning on April 19th. I was surprised to see there were a lot of people telling me congrats. I was like, “what can I be congratulated about?” It was a very sad day for me because of my husband ‘s departure. Later that day, I finally realized, yes, it is a day that I need to celebrate, even without him. For an individual human being, I did achieve a lot in the last decade. I found my true love and got married, had my first house, learned English, learned how to drive, learned American culture, got my own family, got my teaching certificate, got a full time teaching job, became a blogger and a TV co-host… and although now my man passed away, I am still holding my head up high and chasing my fashion dream.
My 10th anniversary of moving to America turned out to be one of the greatest days of my life. I hung out with Stacy London for the whole afternoon. You can read all the details here. I also met a new friend, Inez, who is a fellow blogger in Michigan and later we went to my favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner. We were talking about our lives and sipping margaritas. Life is still great!
10 years down, more great years to come!
Photo credits: Ashley Buck.
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