About me

To start this blog, I would like to start with introducing myself.

People here call me "Fiona", which is the name my English teacher gave me when I was first year in college. My real name is "Feiyan", means "flying swallow". My dad said he knew one day I would fly away, but I guess he never knew that I was going to fly this far away.

I was born in a family that had nothing but poverty.  I have two brothers and one sister, and unfortunately, I'm the oldest child, so I had to work since I was 5 years old. Before I turned 13 leaving home, I had done everything that today's kids couldn't even imagine in their wildest dreams.  I had to babysit the little ones; carrying water home on my shoulder from a well; washing whole families' clothes by hands in the cold water, even in winter; cooking; cleaning; going to the mountain to gather pine cones and needles home for cooking, because we didn't have any gas; going to sea to dig clams for food; planting and harvesting potatoes and peanuts; feeding chickens and ducks; helping my mom knitting sweaters for commercial purpose; working in my grandparents' vineyard... At the mean time, I had to guarantee I kept my first place in the school.  In my very early age, I have learned what is called responsibility.

I went to school at age 6.  I got straight A every year, so after Grade 3, the school didn't want me to go through Grade 4, and sent me directly to Grade 5.  After successfully passed 3 competitive exams, I was accepted by the best middle school in the area. (There were competitions in every stage. No push through or whatsoever.)  Before I graduated from Middle School, the school told me to go home one month earlier than others because my three years' average grades in all courses were among the top, and the school didn't want me to get accepted by other school if I took the state-wide exam, so by providing me full scholarship for 3 years and waive the exam, I agreed to stay in that high school.  It was one of the best anyway.  My father didn't want me to continue the school because I'm just a girl.  He didn't believe high education for girls; besides he didn't have money to support me.  However, I believed that the education was the only way to help me avoid all the other poor girls' miserable fate.  With the scholarship, I was able to continue drawing my dream.

Life didn't change much for me afterwards as far as the family's finance went, but I was happy, even with only 10 RMB (less than 1.5 USD back then) a week living in school's dorm by myself.  I had to survive by commuting between school and home (3 RMB one way), a whole week's food, and any additional cost such as if I ran out of notebook, laundry detergent, etc,. If nothing special happened, I would end up with ¥5 left in the end of the week, and I normally would buy some snacks to take home for my little brothers and sister by walking hours going home instead of paying for a ride.  Thinking about their happy faces, the journey never seemed to be too long and tired.  Other than the love I was able to give and receive, I've learned how to manage money in the very early age too. 

Then I went to college. My health started to collapse due to all the years of lack of balance food.  But I still graduated with honor, passing the highest level of English test in China, however, I could no longer continue my Master degree because my little brothers and sister were no longer little.  They were in college and high school then, so I had to start to make money to support them to go to school.

Two years later, I came to the US. I had no place to stay but a God-forsaken broken shelter in the wood.  I started my first career here as a carpenter - building my own house.  2 months later, I broke my hip.  No insurance, so I didn't want to stay in the hospital; came home sleeping on the floor for a couple weeks, taking 2 pain pills total.  (I know it's dumb to think this way, but somehow I think pain pill would make me dumb. )  When I was able to move around with the walker, I continued sharpening my carpentry skills until the house was done.  I believe a strong will can overcome pain.

After the house was done, I started lobster business.  It went well, and I paid off all my dad's debt, and my sister and brother both graduated from college.  It was time for me to go back to school to continue my dream.  Even though I had to put it off for a few years, but it was so well worth it.

When I consider the name for this blog, I really thought it over.  The value lies in every aspect of life, and you got to be able to sense it, and how you response to the value shapes who you are.  Sometimes sacrifice a little, one can gain a lot more.  I remember my first job working in a foam factory when I graduated from Middle school due to the early graduation. (I will never forget how terrible the 3rd shift from 12pm to 8am was.)  I made ¥900 for 3 months' work.  I gave all the money to my mom except asking her for ¥50, because I wanted to give that ¥50 to my grandpa.  It was not much, but the value in that little money was more than anything I can ever make in my life time, because I never got another chance to honor him with the money I make again. 

I don't really have any word to describe myself accurately, but through these little stories, I think they present me well.  :)