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"YingHua in Beijing" Honors Program Journal

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by Bonnie on 2003-01-20

Dear Laila,
Crying is really OK. Feeling homesick is perfectly normal. Would you believe two of the three 8th graders cried through the first month last fall at Limai? I also know another boy, who was 11 when he went to China for his first boarding school experience in Shanghai (another city in China), who cried through the first month as well. They all made incredible progress after that. One of them became No. 1 in math contest and is planning to go back to Beijing for a full-year of study in high school. The boy who went to Shanghai for five months actually returned to that school the next year to study the 7th grade for a full year.
Remember the story I told you about that 3rd or 4th grade Korean girl who couldn¡¯t speak a word of Chinese OR English when she went to Limai? She studied at Limai for 5 months and became quite fluent in Chinese. Her story has made her very special at Limai. She must be very proud of herself. Now whenever she runs into any challenges in life, she¡¯ll be able to say, ¡°I¡¯ve conquered all those challenges at Limai. Nothing, I mean NOTHING can scare me any more.¡± Now that¡¯d be what I call the true self-confidence because it is based on her inner strengths and experience; self-confidence is no longer a word to talk about any more.
I REALLY like the way you ask me questions ¨C you do not hold any thoughts back and you are very direct. Yes, NOW is a good time to ask MANY questions ¨C the questions you¡¯d never got to ask or even thought about! It is by searching the answers to these questions with an OPEN-mind that you lay the foundation for a happier life at Limai as well as in the future. No one says that the process is effortless.
Imagine you are in an adventure to pass through the ¡°Limai Tunnel.¡±
Here you are in a dark tunnel with no sense of direction feeling lack of purpose and doubtful whether you even want to continue. Do you know why? That¡¯s because when you first enter a tunnel, your eyes are blinded by the glory sunshine outside so it¡¯s very hard for you to see anything inside, except for the darkness and feeling the rocks under your feet that keep tripping you.
However, after a while, your eyes will get used to the new environment and you¡¯ll be able to see a little better and you may remember to take out something from your backpack to light up a tiny lamp or something. Anyway, even though it¡¯s not as bright as the outside, it becomes less scary and more and more encouraging.
The initial thought of going home was NOT because you could not survive without your mom and your friends; it was all because that you were not confident enough to trust your own abilities to adapt and to fight to the end.
Yes, you do need to find your purpose in the tunnel. You may follow the advice we have given you before you entered the tunnel. Or you may find new purposes independently by making your own judgment based on your own findings and the unforeseen challenges inside the tunnel. You need to get used to the food, the smell, and the sleeping condition in the tunnel. You need to solve a LOT more problems on your own.
In darkness, you¡¯ll learn to search for light, search for little joy that you normally would ignore. You will learn that the true happiness is when YOU find it with great effort. It¡¯ll be a much deeper kind of happy feeling that no words can easily express and it will last a lifetime.
If you could not imagine what possibly the reward would be at the end of the tunnel, it would make it an even more exciting and surprising adventure!
Now, Laila, use your imagination, find your purpose, and you will find your inner strengths to triumph in the face of all evils!!!!! You are in control.
Our thoughts are always with you. You are a strong-minded girl. Now go apply that mind on specific issues! Good luck!
Best wishes,

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