I studied commercial design at an art school after finishing high school in my hometown, Hong Kong. My career has been as a graphic designer. I joined classes at the Library to improve my English writing, reading and conversation skills. More recently, I studied to prepare for the citizenship test. I’m enrolled in the Advanced Reading and Writing class and was in an online citizenship class.
The teachers and students have good interactions. Everyone respects each other and there is a happy and nice classroom atmosphere! My English has improved!
I have had two happy and unforgettable experiences. One was when I joined a writing contest and published an essay in The Change Agent. The other was to submit an essay and broadcast it on public radio for Mosaic. Throughout the process, writing first, then communicating with other people. Those were fun and valuable experiences. I also passed my citizenship test!
I would like to say thanks to PPL and RIFLI. I was studying in East Providence first. The study programs are free and of good quality. I am lucky to have good teachers and volunteers. I also met a lot of people through these programs.
Editor’s Note: We are pleased to be able to include here Ann’s Mosaic essay about her experience of making the decision to move to the U.S. with her husband:
Mosaic is The Public’s Radio’s podcast on immigration, which has a community essay series.
My husband and I made a big decision, which was to migrate to America! One evening in March 2015, we finished dinner and had a conscientious talk at our cozy home. He worked in a US company in Hong Kong for over ten years. His boss invited him to relocate to the United States head office. He was lucky to have this chance. The moment I heard this breaking news, I was shocked and my body was a bit shaken. Then, I asked him, “How about me?” He replied, “Of course, you would go there with me!”
I did a serious analysis of the positives and negatives of this move. Can I communicate well? Do I need to work in the US? Can I find a job with my bad English? Who can help us in emergencies? We have to rebuild a new life from ZERO. This would be a huge challenge. I even had some hesitation. My husband and I both discussed and solved those questions one by one. All those concerns didn’t seem to be that big in the end. My husband encouraged me to think differently in our new life, don’t just copy the things in my hometown. It sounded interesting to me.
We are both independent and enjoy exploring new things. My father passed away years ago. My mother has been living with my younger brother. I believe my siblings will take care of her very well. The main point was we don’t have kids.
Ultimately, the decision was not difficult to make. I responded to him, “Okay, we will try it!” We told family members and friends. They were happy for us, but all said that they will miss us very much. Of course, we would miss them too. Luckily, nowadays we can see each other on the phone very conveniently
My husband’s company applied for a work visa for us and helped us move. I quit my job. Eventually, one night, in early January 2016, we landed in the U.S.
It snowed overnight, and our first morning was sunny but a little cold. We excitedly put on winter hats, gloves and thick coats to take a walk outside. The weather didn’t feel cold as we expected. The lovely sunlight shone on our faces, we were warm enough and comfortable. We were grateful that we had a beautiful start. We had many firsts together.
Here, we have a very different life than the one we had in our home town. In Hong Kong, everyone walks very fast, works very hard, and talks very quickly. During our first couple of years living in the US, we learned how important work-life balance is. It makes us happier and enjoy life. My husband continues to work hard. He also keeps developing his different interests after work. I have been studying in different programs and found volunteer work to contribute to the community.
This June, we decided to apply for citizenship. We worked hard to prepare for the citizenship interview. Luckily, we both passed the test and did the oath ceremony in November 2022. We are so grateful!