The Thousand Mile Journey


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The Heart Hears Clearly

Nothing Can Keep Us Down!

Culture and Pride

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  Written by Teri Bell of AIAA on 30 Nov 2007

Middle school is a hard world.

I sent you off filled with excitement and apprehensions about lockers, combinations, teachers, lunch times and homework.

But not the bus. You could hardly wait to ride the bus and taste that freedom that ended with my seeing good-bye and hello from inside the car that dropped you at your bus-stop.

How difficult it was today when you tasted the betrayal of that freedom. And how much my heart broke when you marched to the car and promptly burst into tears. I had to get you inside fast because that big, yellow bus came barreling down that skinny side street right at us. I was brusque and you were crying. My heart was breaking.

'Chinese eyes', you said. Two boys. Teasing. Trying to make you mad.

Well, it worked. You were mad....and then your feelings were hurt.

Born in Russia, adopted to the USA, and so proud of your heritage. Perhaps the balance hasn't changed too much...your skin like silk and eyes like almonds in Russia still stand out here in your new home like they did in your first home. You were one of maybe three Asian children in the orphange, in a population that was 700 strong of primarily Caucasian children. It's not so different here.

You are very proud of your heritage as a mixed up as it is. Russian but Asian. And this is the very first time you have ever had to deal with the 'Chinese eyes' issue. No doubt your middle school will have the same sort of reaction to bullying, intolerance and acceptance. Give them a chance.

But what about those 'Chinese eyes' of yours?
Those eyes have seen the landscapes of a very beautiful Tuva , Russia from hugely tall windows of an orphanage.

They have seen the bustling city of Moscow from a taxi cab and an airplane. They have surveyed the sidewalks and wonders from Walt Disney World, Florida to Chicago, Illinois . They have camped and tramped through Kentucky, Tennessee and northern Michigan .

Those beautiful 'Chinese Eyes' have squeezed shut in salty ocean water and opened to bleary focus in chlorine pools. They have blinked away dust in a horse stable and stung with the sweat of soccer practice. They have struggled to make sense of letters and words and numbers and angles. They have danced with the excitement of performing in a school play. They have widened with the thrill of being with your cousins and your aunts and your uncles and Grandparents....that huge family circle that you call your own.

They have captured, held and melted my heart.

They have seen 'Hannah Montana' way too many times in one sitting. They have rolled in embarassment when your Mom insists on a kiss or a hug in your estimation of a 'public place'. W

And do you know what I like best about those 'Chinese eyes' of yours? Those eyes never ever fail to see anything but the best in other people.

They never fail to see a challenge and to set sights on achieving it. They never fail to soften when you encounter a puppy, or a horse, a turtle in the road, or a person in need of comfort or help. They never fail to sparkle with life and light when something funny crosses your path. They never, ever, fail to thrill me when I look into your beautiful face and realize that you belong to me, and I to you.

'Chinese eyes' are my very favorites...and don't you ever forget that.
I love you, kiddo...and don't you ever forget that either. --Mom




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