First Honor Essayist Laura Liu's Welcome
Four years ago, when I first came to Maine, I was amazed by the beautiful summer here. It was just like the photos shown on the school website! Sitting on a porch with the sea breeze bringing coolness from the ocean, offsetting the heat from the sun, I felt a moment of serenity that I had never felt before in Shanghai, China, the city where I had been living for 14 years.
But after two months of nice weather, it didn't seem enjoyable anymore in Maine. I was shocked by the fact that there could be a six-inch accumulation of snow in one night, and that there were these things called "snow days." Yes, it was exciting for this Chinese southerner to witness the ground and rooftops covered with entire whiteness. However, it was not fun to endure an almost six-month-long winter. When I thought winter was over and sensed the arrival of spring, it was winter again the next day.
But the people here were not like the weather at all. They were the warmets and most caring people I've ever met. They welcomed us with all their kindness and they encouraged us to take every opportunity offered to use and to embrace uncertainties. Whether I was the first or last one to finish a race, they were always there cheering me on. For the first time in my life, I finished a 5K race. For the first time in my life, I dove into water instead of starting from the edge of the pool. It would never have been possible without my team's encouragement. Another first was gliding on the surface of the ocean in a sail boat and riding through the waves. The feeling of being able to steer a small boat in the middle of a vast sea is unforgettable. Honestly, that was the coolest experience I've ever had.
The amount of support coming from the students, teachers, and the community is tremendous and something I have never experienced before. Back in China, where one teacher was responsible for more than 40 kids in a class, there was little attention I got from the teacher. While at GSA, it's easy to build close relationships with teachers and even be friends with them. They'll always do their best to help me.
Spending four years at GSA and in Blue Hill has made me believe that even a little support can help you accomplish a big dream. I also learned to not be so quick to judge a place for its cold weather, as you never know how much warmth is really there. Thank you all for making this place so warm to me!