Identity

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family. (650 words)


I asked my friend Ruixi to translate a question from English to Chinese for me. “Excuse me, how old is this tree?”

We were wandering around the village of Yunnan, China when we came across an old lady resting at the trunk of a giant, towering tree. The corners of her mouth lifted into a soft smile as she looked up at us. She started to answer in Chinese, a language I do not know. Ruixi responded by introducing us. She gestured to me as she explained that we were American students traveling overseas to work on a service project that provides children in low-income villages a well-rounded education.

When Ruixi breathed the word “America”, the lady’s eyes glistened. She began to talk about her experience providing temporary housing for American soldiers during the Sino-Japanese war.

I listened intently, hoping to hear something I could understand, but unfortunately, I could not pick up a single word. Although Ruixi and the lady went deeper into their conversation, the lady seemed to pause to motion for Ruixi to translate for me, but Ruixi was too caught up in the story and paid no attention to me. Her eyes were widened with terror, and I waited patiently.

At the end of the story, tears were streaming down Ruixi’s cheeks. The lady...

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