My name is Xifeng Jin, and I do not like China. First of all, I am not even Chinese. My grandparents are Chinese. My Mom and Dad are Chinese. But I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. That is, until three months ago, when my parents dragged me off to live in China, in Ye Ye and Nai Nai’s big, creepy house.
Imagine! One minute, your life is all about watching cartoons, and playing with your friends, and Round Table pepperoni pizza. Then the next minute, you’re living in this strange place where no one speaks English, and there isn’t any such thing as Round Table Pizza. Or any kind of pizza. And forget about cartoons – Ye Ye and Nai Nai don’t even own a television. Blah!
The worst part about living in China is the D word. Discipline. Everybody keeps saying that word all the time (mostly in Chinese).
“Young lady, you need to be more disciplined,” everybody keeps saying. But I am not good at it. So every day, Mom and Dad and Ye Ye and Nai Nai and even my teacher keep yelling at me. “Xifeng! Do your homework! Xifeng! Study more! Xifeng! Xifeng! Xifeng!”
I am starting to hate my name almost as much as I hate living here. I wish my name were Mia, or Caitlin, or Sarah. With an H.
There were two good things about moving here, though. The first is the costume trunk that Mom and Dad surprised me with. I play dress-up all the time. My favorite thing is to pretend to be an astronaut, because one day, I’m going to be a real one. I’m going to blast off into space and explore far away planets.
“You will never be an astronaut if you don’t get better grades in school,” said Nai Nai.
Whatever. I’m going to be whatever I want to be. And for now, I at least get to practice being an astronaut in the cool spaceship treehouse Dad and Ye Ye built for me in the backyard. That is the second good thing about China, in case you didn’t guess. My spaceship, where there is no such thing as homework, or discipline, or angry grownups yelling Xifeng Xifeng! In my spaceship, there is just me, and a whole wide galaxy to explore.