I am leaving Pueblo this month, the month of June. When some of you read this, I will probably be already gone. I’m moving to New York City to begin a giant new life. It all seems like a dream-come-true.
I came by plane on August 16, 2008 when I was 18. The city I came from lies on the east coast of China with a population of 8 million. It’s humid, busy and booming. It’s among the TOP 10 most energetic cities in China, and I took great pride in it.
I took my first glance of Colorado when I was above the outskirts of Colorado Springs on a plane preparing to land. I almost burst into tears as I saw the brown, bare land with no green space, no skyscrapers, and no trace of human activities. It is not the America I imagined, and I had never stepped outside China before then. I was confused, and frankly, very terrified as I had no clue what I was coming into.
When things finally started to settle down after two weeks of novelty, I often wandered to the parking lot west of campus where I could overlook Pueblo with the Rockies in the background. I sat there for hours at dawn and thought for hours. I still couldn’t grasp the idea that a capsule had transferred me from one point on the earth to another, where I barely spoke the language and knew nothing about the culture. The concepts I established growing up in China were not helping out, sometimes even working against my situations. There was only one Chinese student at the university and no authentic Chinese food in town. Because of the dry weather, I got fish skin and my nose was always stuffed with dry blood. Nothing is accessible by walking, and way far from what I came to America to achieve in life. Honestly, Pueblo sucked in everyway for me.
Every summer I was gone within one week after school finished. I literally fled as fast as I could from Pueblo, craving home food, going on world trips, longing for something amazing out there to happen that’s no way happening in Pueblo. I couldn’t believe how much I was missing out on in life.
Then one day in the summer I got into ferocious argument with my parents at home in China; I screamed that I wanted to go home. To Pueblo.
Yes, I call it home now, and I just feel as peaceful in Pueblo as at home. It has definitely grown on me over the past five years I have lived here. I no longer complain about the poor Chinese food in town because I fell in love with burritos, guacamole and deep-fried jalapenos; I no longer miss the intimacy with skyscrapers because nothing can beat a blue wide-open sky. I learned to drive here, and it allowed me to reach nature more easily and grow my love more insanely for every piece of Colorado.
I am no longer that girl who wandered alone in the parking lot because I have met people from all over the world and with whom I became friends-for-a-lifetime. It is Pueblo that holds us tight together because of the unique experience we shared, the secret codes we used such as AndyMacs, that differentiates us from students who flooded to San Francisco, New York, Dallas, or Chicago. Indeed, Pueblo has made us exceptional.
It opened up my world and prepared me for the greater good. I wouldn’t even have dreamed of becoming the editor of the school’s paper as a non-English speaker, wouldn’t have thought I could be the only one who is capable of translating between Chinese and English whenever we have visitors. People are interested in my stories and opportunities are fed to me. As I always believed in the equal play of hard working and luck in individual success, Pueblo has definitely made it happen for me.
Now, I am ready to leave you behind, Pueblo. I am sure there will be tons of people out east asking me where I came from. I’d say Pueblo, and I know they’d have no clue what the hell I was talking about. But I take great pride in you.
Editor’s Note: Ye Ming was Editor for CSU-Today and a contributor to the PULP. She is leaving to attend Columbia Journalism School in New York City this fall.