BY TING TING LI
It may seem regular to you, for it is the language that you hear and use everyday in your life. However, for me, it was a new mountain that I had to get over on my journey in life—a mountain that appeared in my life suddenly. Arriving at this new place was already hard for me to settle into, but needing to learn everything in a foreign country, the alien language was making it even harder. The words were everywhere, formed through 26 different things, known as letters. I won’t say I have never heard of this language because I have. I was taught it when I was in China, but being surrounded by people who spoke it fluently and used it much more often than I will ever just erased my memory of ever learning this language.
I would walk down streets and be greeted with unfamiliar smiles and hello, how is your day? and I would never know what to reply. I would only hide behind my mom and dad, questioning my intellectual abilities. All three of us would just smile, nod our heads, and then continue to walk past the strangers. It got to the point where I had become an alien in this new world. Even my mom and dad learned to adapt and answer the simple greetings, but all I would do is act all shy and hide.
In kindergarten, I struggled to keep up with the other kids who spoke the fascinating language as their native tongue. I needed a lot more help than I thought I would. I still remember my first presentation in kindergarten when I introduced myself. The teacher and my friends, Katie and Carson, continuously corrected me throughout the presentation and I felt even more lost in this new world. I felt like I was falling deeper into the hole of the language that had been dug, nowhere near climbing out. With every word that came out of their mouth was another increased confused line appearing on my face. I felt ashamed that I couldn’t recognize my own words that I had written. I felt embarrassed that I had to wrestle through my presentation, making me feel even more out of place, even more like an alien. Even though it was known to be a harder language, I would have much rather finished the rest of my presentation in Chinese. Still, I knew I needed to learn this Alienish if I wanted to fully adapt to this new country I was living in. Therefore from that day forward, I focused and worked hard and could finally call Alienish as my second language that I can proudly speak, listen to, and write in.
Even after being in school for ten years, I still have a lot to learn. These nine years were all taught in Alienish, but it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t be learning something new about it everyday. English is full of tricks and obstacles, but I know if I put my mind into fully learning it, I will no longer be the odd one out, the alien. I also know that if anyone refers to themselves as an alien when learning a new language, all they have to do is put a little time and effort into learning about it, and they will no longer be one—but it also doesn’t mean their native tongue will be replaced, as that will always be a part of their identity.