Meet Zhang

Describe an event that exemplifies your life.

This year, my family had a surprising new addition: an eleven year-old Chinese boy.

No, he isn’t a product of an affair one of my parents had at the Number One China Buffet years back, as joked by various friends. After coming to the U.S. in August, Zhang Shouda (or “Orange Soda”, as kids jokingly call him at school), grew close to my mom through her job as a teacher‘s assistant at Ocean Air Elementary School. Though he only spoke broken English and she even less Chinese, they quickly realized that kindness, hugs, and laughter are easily translatable.

After six months of transition - making friends, picking up essentials of English, growing inseparable from my mother - Zhang was to be moved, at the behest of his father, to a farm in New York. There Zhang would stay with a distant friend while his father drove trucks for a year. My mother, persuasive and sentimental, knew she couldn’t let this happen.

After convincing my dad, which took some time, she invited Zhang’s father over to persuade him to let Zhang stay with us for the year he’d be gone. My siblings and I were hesitant about the whole thing. We were already sharing rooms, and wouldn’t a seventh family member just create more chaos? But then again, who were we, with so...

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