BY WANFEI WU
This is probably my last column for The Daily Mississippian. I can’t believe how quickly time flies. I remember how I started my journey from China two years ago, the first day I got to Oxford and the first time I went to my journalism school, my Farley Hall. I remember how excited I was when I saw the dean, the assistant dean, the professors and the classmates. At that time, I was the only Chinese student — for that matter, the only Asian student in the journalism school.
I am grateful that I had the opportunity to study here. I learned about the United States from a Southern perspective. I learned about American music by listening to the blues in Clarksdale. I learned about Elvis Presley by going to Graceland. I learned about King Cotton by visiting the Delta. I learned that there is a different definition of poor in the United States than in China. I learned about Martin Luther King Jr. from the Civil War Museum. I learned about football by being an Ole Miss Rebel.
My classmates took me to the civil war museum to learn about Southern history. They took me to the Cozy Corner to taste barbecue, banana pudding and sweet tea. They took me to the Memphis Zoo to see the panda and China section to make me less homesick. Due to the one-child policy in China, I am the only child in my family. I grew up very lonely. I prayed that I could have big brothers or big sisters every day. My prayers have been answered. My classmates have become my siblings.
We are a family. They helped and protected me. All my professors paid attention to me. I never got that much encouragement in China.
These have been the happiest two years in my entire school life.
I learned from things that weren’t professors or classmates, as well. I had to move several times because I couldn’t find a place to live the first week. I had to hitchhike to look for an apartment because I didn’t have a car. After visiting almost every leasing office, I finally found a place. However, I had to use my imperfect English to argue with the leasing office manager about the dirtiness and roaches. I failed and had to clean the carpet and kill the roaches myself.
The first paper of my first semester was 100 pages, single-spaced. I blacked out, and almost passed out. Fortunately, all the students negotiated with the professor a week after, to make it a 20 pages, single-spaced paper, but it was still a huge ordeal for me. At that time, I didn’t even know how to write an English paper. I had to go to the writing center to ask for help. I was lucky. The student who helped me in the writing center was a Chinese Flagship program student. He had visited China twice. This made the learning process much easier when I couldn’t understand his English. He could speak Chinese to me.
I still remember my very first article, “We Are The Same,” in The DM last semester. The person I wrote about and I both got a lot of comments when the article was published. It has become my habit to write a column every week. I enjoyed sharing my opinions. Every time people told me they read my articles, I was so, so happy. Thank you for reading my words.
I want to say thank you to all the people here. There is not a single reason for me not to love you and this little town.
Say goodbye, not because we will leave but because we are moving on.
Wanfei Wu is a second-year graduate integrated marketing communications student from Yunnan Province, China. Follow her on Twitter @WanfeiWu.