Where My World Began
On the bone-chilling night of November 21st, 2001, I left a small town in south-eastern China to pursue a new life in Canada. Although I was deeply fascinated by the bustling sceneries of downtown Toronto, my mind has never ceased to reminisce the place of my origin, the place that inevitably shaped my personality. The memories of that distant town have been carefully secreted in a dark corner of my heart ever since I left it. Infrequently, pieces of these memories will roughly scatter throughout my mind as if it is impossible to fit the small fragments into a complete puzzle of my hometown.
My dreams began along the shores of Lake Taihu where spruce trees lazily dotted the streets. The fallen leaves quietly lay on the silent sidewalks as the gentle autumn breeze walked by and slowly picked them up. Some leaves remained attached to the trees as they danced and twirled like playful, carefree children. Along the trees flowed deep blue creeks where small fishes lurked sneakily beneath the luminous surface, to avoid getting caught. Ancient apartment buildings stood still along those streams of water, unyielding to the harsh wind that they faced everyday.
Not far from the dilapidated buildings stood the grand, majestic elementary school compressed with impatiently waiting parents as the rusty gates closed at the command of the school bells. Parents of all grades would crowd in front of the school until the footsteps of their children have drifted away in silence. In an oversized classroom, the nervous atmosphere collided with the presence of the frightening teacher standing on the raised platform. Every day, the students repeated the same excessive schedule, followed by an endless pile of homework and tests. Our minds were profoundly contaminated by the pressure of good grades, and all the joy of childhood disappeared with the awakening slap of the teacher’s meter stick. The memories of summer gradually faded away as we unmistakably dug...