THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS

How This Place Affected Me

by Hui Yi Lian

Before I came here, I was very lazy, irresponsible, and a big fat liar. When I was on the computer, I would seem like I was doing my homework, but when my parents were not there to watch me, I would go online and play, or watch movies. When I get caught, I would deny playing the computer. That would drive my mom crazy. She knows that I lie to her all the time, but I guess that she got tired of trying to change me so she gave up. On top of that, we would always fight about everything. Literally everything. I used to be very stubborn. I would always go against everything she wants from me and she would never say yes to anything until she is tired of the fighting. When she heard of this place, she sent my sister and me to the summer camp. During that time, I went to Evening Ceremony, woke up at 6:00 in the morning almost every day, I was restricted from internet and TV, so I changed a lot when I went back home.

I guess at that time, my mom was thinking of sending me here for school. It was originally my backup. My parents were at first trying to transfer me to another school near home, but they didn’t accept me, since it was not the same city I live in. The public school transfers recommend that the students live in the city; if they don’t, the office doesn’t usually accept their transfer. We went with the backup to send me here. At first I resisted, but as time passed, I decided that going here would be good for me. So here I am, saying goodbye to my friends back at home and packing to come to CTTB, not knowing what I need or what I don’t need, what I will or will not face once I come, and mostly, what I will become once I graduate from DVGS.

I came to this place feeling scared, happy, and nervous all at the same time. I was scared because I would be on my own and by myself for most of the year. I was happy because I would be out of my parent’s “eyes” and can “do whatever I want.” I was nervous because I would have to meet a whole new group of new people who come from EVERWHERE. I came to realize that it was very different from summer camp. Being a student at this school, we are the “hosts” of CTTB. We have to help clean up after big events while all the visitors all get to leave. That includes washing a whole BIG pile of dishes, mopping or sweeping the floor, and worst of all, recycling. We change jobs every month. As lucky as I can be, I had to do recycling during the time when there were the most visitors. It was my first time going to the recycling center without a road to walk into because of the big pile of garbage.

Despite the things I regret about coming here, I have to admit that I did become a better person. As the months passed, my personalities began to change for the better in ways I never would think possible. Whenever I went home for breaks, my family could see that I was changing for the better. I would greet my grandma whenever I leave or come home. My sister and I don’t fight anymore. That’s the best thing for my family. There’s a lot less racket in the house because the arguments have gotten less. My grandma is very grateful for having more peace in the house. I’m sure that my sister is happy too, because she shows it every morning. If she gets up before me, she would come down from the top bunk and lie on top of me. Usually she would warn me so I have time to position myself for her to lie on. We would both lie on our tummies. Sometimes, we would lose track of time and my mom would get mad at us for wasting our time. Guiltily, we would get out of bed, laughing. My mom doesn’t show it, but I’m sure that she is very happy that we sisters can get along now. If it was before I came here for school, my sister wouldn’t even be on top of me. She would just leave me sleeping, usually making me late for whatever. I think it’s the personal space we get in the 9 out of the 12 months that I’m away for school.

Since I came here, I figured out how to take care of myself without my mom all over me. The experience was not as I expected but I lived. I thought it would be more relaxing than it turned out to be. There would have been no way to learn everything that I did without fighting with my mom. Before I came here, I didn’t know how to do my own laundry, didn’t know how to make food for myself, and I didn’t know how to manage my time. Slowly, I learned how to make food like noodles for myself and for others as well. The feeling of watching someone eat your food and praise that it’s not bad is very nice. I’m still in the process of learning how to cook rice and other things. Doing my laundry is very easy here. It’s just a few clicks and it is going. At home, there are a whole ton of buttons and turns. I’m still trying to figure that laundry machine out on my own. As for time management, I’m still working on trying to focus on one thing without day-dreaming. It will take me a while but I think that I will get what I want, which is to be able to do everything at the quality and the quantity without feeling stressed. I want teachers to look at me and say, “Good job, Anne. I’m impressed.” If I leave this place gaining what I want, I will be proud to say, “Hi, I’m Anne Lien and I graduated from DVGS.”

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