Zhen Tao, from China, shares five things she learned while volunteering in Portsmouth, New Hampshire this winter. Zhen participated in CHI’s Short Term Enrichment Program.
The weather here is totally different from where I live in China, I live in southern part of China, so it’s much warmer than Portsmouth. What’s more, we don’t have too much snow in my hometown in winter. But in Portsmouth, I saw plenty of snow. It’s really magnificent to see ice glowing on the branches of trees in the sunshine, which I will never forget throughout my whole life. The weather here is also strange, which changes a lot during the day like a bad-tempered person. For example, it snowed at first yesterday, then it sleeted. At last. It rained. which made the road slippery, and difficult to walk on. In a word, the bad weather makes Portsmouth even a more beautiful city in winter.
Two: Host Family
My host mom is a nice and friendly person, As soon as I arrived at her home, she showed me her lovely Christmas tree even though Christmas had already passed. I can feel her friendliness. She said she hoped I could see her Christmas tree and felt the warmth from it against coldness and darkness outside, which was the reason that she didn’t take apart the Christmas tree until I arrived. Last week it snowed heavily. My host mom suggested that we could go to the ocean despite the bad weather. Then she drove me to the ocean, where I saw the most beautiful scene I have ever seen in my life. With the heavy cloud in the sky, I couldn’t see very far. So it’s a different scene from what I have imagined in my mind, still beautiful though. On our way home, everything was covered with snow, just like in fairy tales. I was so glad to be exposed to nature which relaxed my heart and body. My host mum also invited me to her daughter’s house where we had a happy gathering and I felt warm welcome from her family. They have a lovely dog and lovely cat. The cat is really clingy and showed unwillingness when I said goodbye to her. My host mum Nancy treated me with nice food and warm bed. I want to say thank you to her with my sincere heart. Her chicken soup is my favorite.
Three: Cultural Differences
There are many interesting differences between Chinese and Americans. For example, they like to take showers in the morning while Chinese people like to take showers at night. What’s more, while Chinese people like to dump their food after eating, American people like to save it for next meal. And now I am getting used to it because thrift is a good thing to do. And I will do thrift when I go back to China. Not only because it can help protect the environment, but also it can remind me of the happy experience in Portsmouth.
I have to say Portsmouth is a nice city, America is also nice country. Different from China, buildings are all of different shapes and colors. There’s also a big Christmas tree standing in downtown area, which glows at night. It can light up the way in darkness and looks beautiful . People here are also nice and friendly. Everyone I met here seems to enjoy their lives.
Five: Volunteering in New Hampshire
During my volunteer work here, I was able to talk to different people, old people here like entertainments. Most people who came to the music hall are old people. Most of the volunteers are also old people. They are really nice people. They showed me the work I have to do whenever I have something unclear. They all showed great welcome to me and wondered whether I have got used to the cold weather here, what’s more. they also showed great curiosity to China, which has a long history, wondering what the country is like. They are also looking forward to traveling to China someday. What’s more, I also found that people here all had passion for their work, whatever it is. Even nobody has ever taken notice of the job, they still enjoy doing it, which inspires me to keep looking for things that I truly love.
I enjoy volunteering at the music hall, because volunteers are able to watch different shows for free. What’s more, live music and shows are fantastic. It’s a great comfort to sing and dance here, which drives away your stress after a long day’s work.
I am really grateful that CHI gave me the chance to see a beautiful Portsmouth and nice people here. I hope someday I can came here to enjoy the beauty of Portsmouth again. This unforgetting experience will gave me hope and make me feel warm in the future. I will think of nice people and beautiful scenery here whenever I come across a problem and lose heart which will keep me courageous and continue to challenge myself again and again.