10 year Anniversary in England


I always get this question. "Do you prefer to live in Macau or England?" I always have to pause and think how I should respond to this question.

It's been 10 years. On the 31st August 2007, it was a very difficult day for me, it was a day that was going to change my life. How? In honesty it's been so long that I don't really remember all the details of that day, all I know was that there was a lot of crying involved. I was just a 12 year old Macanese boy about to leave the life I've known behind. My parents loaded my suitcase in the taxi, and I remember watching my carer who've taken care of me since I was a baby sobbing outside as I sat in the cab. The taxi drove us to the port to take us to the Hong Kong International Airport, and I was about to take a long journey to start a new chapter of my life. My dad and my brother gave up their life in Macau and moved to England a year ago, now it was my turn. The worst part was my mum wasn't coming, she has to stay in Macau to work and it was really hard not having a full family beside you. Last year it was without my dad and my brother, this year it was me without my mum in a different country. Is this what children with divorced parents have to go through? I was 12 then so I probably cried a lot to my mum and she probably did too. I remember waving goodbye to her before entering passport control and that began my journey in England.

Did I want to leave? No... I was happy and had lots of friends that I connect to in Macau, and staying in touch with each other on social media wasn't as advance as today. I wished I had a choice to stay behind at that time.

Why did we have to leave you may ask. My brother's grade back in Macau wasn't great so it was my parents' last shot to lead him to a successful life. They really sacrificed everything, money, time and my dad's career. Eventually their sacrificed paid off as my brother managed to do really well and he went to a great university and currently has a successful career.

That day I don't even remember which airline company we took. Was it Qatar, Air France or Lufthansa? Honestly, I don't really care. My dad, my brother and I lived in a small house in the suburb outside Leeds, England. Shortly landing in the UK and getting into Leeds, I had a look at the neighbour area that I was going to be living in, it was different from living in the city with all the bright light, skyscraper and busy streets. It was just trees, small houses and empty street, it will be hard to adapt to this lifestyle, but I was so tired from flying I didn't really care much. First thing we did was to meet the headmaster of my new school, he greeted us warmly and explain the school system to me and my family. Maybe I was just too tired from a long haul flight but I had a stone cold look throughout the day. The rest of the day pretty much end up as us going to the local supermarket to get some groceries and come home unpacked, have dinner and maybe watched a movie. That was Day 1 of life in England and it was cold in September, what?

I started my first day in school and my brother walked with me towards the way to school and I remember meeting some of his friends and my brother seems to be doing well after 1 year in England. In my new school, everyone was really curious about me; I was this creature that no one knew about, but it wasn't the positive kind of response. I was from another planet. I was relatively short, a foreigner, and a little bit chubby so it was an easy target to pick on me. It was difficult for me, everything was new to me, sometime I miss home, the home that was thousands of miles away. A lot of the times when I was alone at school I sometimes wonder how my family and friends back home are doing and what would have had happened if I never left in the first place. I had to be tough but I didn't know how to, my dad taught me how to fight but that wasn't particularly helpful. As time pass by I gradually believe that maybe I don't mean anything to anyone. I don't really believe in myself anymore and the path to the future was very difficult to determined. The friends that I made back home, they've moved on. The got closer with other friends and the relationship between us was pulling further and further apart and it's like I don't know them anymore. I was alone sometimes, I just wanted someone to understand me from my perspective and someone similar to my age group who would kind of care about me.
6 years of high school in Leeds was okay. I gradually settled in the life in UK. My mum eventually came to join us in UK after 2 years and it was amazing because they are the ones who actually cares about me. I had a complete family again yeah and we would go explore different parts of the UK and I was a happier person. I spent some great times with friends and some moments were quite dark that I just wanted to pack my bags and leave. My best moments was probably being in "Grease", going outdoors to wild natures with my friends, and having great conversations with my friends during after school computer classes and further maths classes. Going to Germany and France for school trips was something really memorable to me. So not everything was bad. I had some good friends, made some bad friends (the ones who treated me as clowns). I still think culturally different it was hard to get to know them really well and I didn't fit in quite as well as I hope to and I didn't someone that I can relate my feelings to.
I was 18 and the next chapter of my life was going to be the most exciting and a very nerve-wracking experience. My parents was so happy when they knew I was going to University of Nottingham to study Nutrition. They just wouldn't stop smiling because they were scared that I wasn't able to get the grades and I was quite indecisive about my career path before not knowing what I wanted to do in life. We went out to celebrate that morning to a nice restaurant in a nearby town but it was a weird feeling as I didn't know what to expect for this new chapter and whether I was able to cope or not.

Nervous was an understatement when I went to university with my luggage and my parents just left me there alone, but I was excited to start this freedom. Academic initially was a bit hard for me as I had to cover a variety of topics that was not really specifically related to Nutrition and I struggled to understand a lot but I managed to do enough to progress. However, I was determined to enjoy this amazing experience and go out there and hopefully meet people that can understands me better and form a long lasting friendship. The first few years I hang around with people that lived with me; it was still quite fun but I still felt there was a barrier between me and them. I eventually met a group of students from around the world and for the first time in a long time I actually felt comfortable there. We would do group projects together, play badminton and go out to parties. They are actually interested where I am from and my background without making fun of me at all. They manage to taught me how to stand up for myself, believe in the things that I believed in, and learnt how to say no from time to time. With this ray of positive light I manage to gain a lot of confidence back that I've lost from years ago and this was going to be the new me.

For my 2nd year of university, I decide to live on university campus again and this time I lived with a different bunch of people. They were different to the 1st bunch. Although they were new to the university but they were elder and wiser and they taught me that I should treat myself like a prince and actually believe that I'm actually as unique and special as anyone else.

During my last year of university, I managed to study hard with some late night sessions with a couple of friends; the topics was much more interesting as it is relating to my degree subject. From time to time, I would hang out with friends who actually cares abut me to form some memorable moments whilst we are all still together in university. From the time we bake cookies at midnight, to go to an Indian festival or hosting parties, I have cherished that in my heart. This University experience has had some tough moments but it has been a magical journey.

10 years have gone! :O Nowadays, I look back to the day I left Macau and sometimes I still wonder what might have happened. What would the other me be doing right now but that doesn't matter to me anymore. I've been through bright times and dark times but every time I managed to get over it. There are things that can never change but I am proud of where I am right now. I've managed to get a degree in Nutrition from the University of Nottingham and manage to realize that there are people not just my family that cares about me and I'm optimistic in-terms of my career path and goals.

The last couple of years I've learnt a lot about myself. I am not that shy boy that was once been easily knock down when I first came to this country. Although I still have some confidence issue but now I am now a man who has plenty of nutrition knowledge and wants to help people around the world who are suffering. For any friends whom are in-need, I am always a good companion to talk to and I would try my best to help. My goal in life is to spread joy and happiness wherever I can. :P

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