Home » Stories » A year passed by and a story of my close friend’s relatives

Portfolio 3

My first week passed by, and it was time to start the first semester. I met a Chinese girl, Lily (pseudonym) who lived at the same dormitory and studied the same program as me. She was also new to New Zealand. How come I didn’t notice her until the semester started even though we had meals at the same dining hall frequently. Finally, we became close friends…we went to class together…walked back to the dormitory together. I didn’t feel lonely anymore…I made a good friend! Lily has relatives here. Her aunt’s family and grandparents live in Auckland; therefore, every weekend Lily would go to their house to eat Chinese food and chat with the family. Lily told me that her grandparents lived in a Chinese community. “People in that area are all Chinese. My grandparents never go out of Auckland. They never go somewhere outside their community. They don’t watch English TV channels. They can’t even speak English,” Lily told me. I just wondered they had lived here for many years, but still couldn’t speak English. They just lived in their small world where everything seemed fine with Chinese language. Lily’s cousins were born in Auckland, and they are more fluent in English than Chinese. I am not sure what language they speak at home with the parents, but Lily said her cousins went to school to learn Chinese. Well, this is Lily’s story that brings a lot of thoughts into my mind. I am thinking of her grandparents in particular because they have lived here for more than ten years, but they don’t speak English. It was hard for me to learn English when I first came to New Zealand. I remember last year when I first came, after a 2-hour lecture each day, I felt really tired. This reminded me of what my native-English speaking friend in Thailand said, “After my Thai lessons, I was very tired. You don’t have to do anything much in class…only to listen to Thai for three hours makes me tired.” These were not the exact words he said, but I just remember what he meant. And ‘yes’ I felt the same when I first came to Auckland. But to stay here for more than ten years like Lily’s grandparents, they should want to learn/find opportunities to learn English, or else it is like a waste of the opportunity to learn English as they actually are in the land where English is the dominant language. The grandparents could even go outside their Chinese-speaking community and enjoyed life out there with English. English could help them to be open to new things, and that should be helpful for them.