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Lilibet Lifestyle

Lilibet's adventure in the US

How to cut hair for yourself and significant others at home?



Several weeks ago, I happened to watch several Youtube videos: how people cut hair for themselves at home. That is a pretty cool idea. I had never thought about this when I was in China. The labor is usually cheap in my country, and stylists can always cut lovely and most trendy hairs. However, after I came to the US, whatever related to labor, the price is insane. Last time, when I was in FedEx trying to ship out some products, I asked the staff to help me do the packaging. They charged me 35 bucks simply for the labor, let alone $200 shipping fee. I was upset about it for days. Thirty-five dollars just for bubbles, papers, and simple wrapping?  The lesson I have learned is for everything related to labor in this country I should do it myself, including the haircut.

My first guinea pig, to my surprise, is my beloved husband. Several weeks ago, I tried to help him pull out some gray hair, and during the process, we built up mutual trust. He granted me the right to do his whole haircut in the future. I was very excited. I immediately purchased some professional tools on Amazon:

  • A hair Gape ($14)
  • A water spray ($1)
  • A pair of professional hair thinning scissors ($1)
  • A Wahl Color Pro Hair Clipper Kit ($17)

All the things add up to total just 24 dollars. Think about it, each time we drive 20 minutes and spend $15 on a haircut each month. In 5 years, we could save $2500 on a haircut. One thing I don’t like for the low-budget barber shop is that everything is highly standardized. For men haircut, they just use the clippers, trim each hair in 5 minutes then it’s done. They do it without feelings. I was surprised by their speed and disappointed by the result. For the high-end salon, the price is too high. We don’t feel it worths the money.Why not do it myself? If we cut carefully, even for the first time, it would never be a disastrous hairstyle. I couldn’t wait to start it.

First Step: Clean up Michael’s neckline

Michael has a long neck, and I first helped him clean up the edges, get rid of neck hair and bring up the neckline higher.  I use Wahl hair blade to shave the neck hair. The final look in the back will be a square and cleaned edge hair line.

Second Step: Trim the hair around ear

Then I will do the hair around the ears: use the edge of the trimmers to come in and working up and back towards the ear.

Third Step: Cut the top

I found Michael’s hair is thick and sturdy. The funny thing is one scissor I brought from China broke into two parts due to his thick hair.  I tried to use a thin scissor to thin the top of hair first. Then I slowly lift the cutters after each drag through his hair.

Anyway, segment the hair into sections, cut it with your heart and it won’t be hard. Practice makes perfect! Ooops, I did it .. …!

How different people react to my marriage?

  • Truly happy for me type – my family and best friends
  • Distant type – usually male
  • Curious type – oh you are married! Who is that guy?
  • Don’t care type – totally indifferent
  • Challenge type–Does my husband have a Green card? Do I have a green card?

I got married as soon as I graduated from NYU. I know this is very fast. I couldn’t believe it either. But we are deeply in love with each other, so we said let’s get married. We only have a court clerk to officiate. Nothing really fancy. After we post our civil wedding ceremony pictures on social media, we received different reactions from friends.

Type One: My family and Mike’s family

They are 100% support our marriage. They flew 20 hours from China and came to witness our ceremony. Throughout my two-year relationship with Mike, they are the most supportive parents in the world. No matter what happened, they always play the role as a reconciler. Both sides parents are excellent.

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Type Tow: Distant

They are used to be some guys texting or messaging me from time to time. Now zero. They disappeared. More peaceful and quality time now! Thank you. Bye-bye

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Type Three: Curious type

Who is that guy? Why did you get married so fast?

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Type Four: Indifferent

I don’t care about what happened to you.

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Type five: We get married because either each one of us has green card

  • Does he have a green card?
  • Oh, I remember you have a green card, right? Me: …. …. ……

Unfortunately, neither do we have. Is green card our ultimate goal? NO.

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Our Fall Engagement Photoshoot At National Arboretum

It has been three weeks since my last update. We have been very busy with our work recently. Michael and I had our 1st engagement photo shoot at D.C National Arboretum last Sunday. We supposed to do it much earlier but since fall is the best season for the romantic scene. So we postpone it. National Arboretum was adorable and breathtaking on that day. Fall color was popping out everywhere–so much warm color, love, and coziness! Nature is an artist, and it gave us the best backdrop for all those unforgettable memories.

We took this engagement photo shoot just simply want to record how blessed we are to such charming nature, and are so grateful for all the things we have. I chose a very casual outfit, a plaid shirt with jeans. I helped Michael select a new refined sweater. I thought his top reflects his genteel characteristics very well. I pressured myself to enhance my makeup skill to show the best of me on the photo day.

This is our second corporation with the photographer Aubrey–from Ginger Snap Photography (http://www.pinupbyginger.com). She is a kind and nice woman. We love all the pictures she takes for us. I think we will continue come back to her in the future. Thank you for your great job, Aubrey!!!

Don’t waste time. Let us see some pictures together!

Fall is awesome!

 

Ten Facts about Chinese Education

It is not an article of introducing Chinese school system or its history. It is just slices of memory about my education back in China.

1 We learn mainly by repetition


We are required to memorize English textbooks, ancient poetry, and good articles. We are not allowed to ask questions until class ends. We sit in the classroom from 7 am to 10 pm and learn lots of material by heart. The teacher cares about our grades instead of caring about whether we understand the material. Our parents and educators told us the meaning of a book would become apparent if you read it many (hundreds of) times. The best and fastest way to learn is through verbatim. We don’t read many extracurricular reading materials. Instead, we spend most of our time on studying textbooks. I can still clearly remember what we learn when I was in primary school.

2 Body Warm-ups in the morning

We practice warm-ups every morning from 7:45 am to 8 am. When the music starts playing, thousands of students will pour out to the playground and do the morning exercises together. We raise our arms to the sides and up, hopping in place and twisting our bodies. On each Monday morning, we will do the lineup to see the national flag raised and one student representative will make a speech responding to the news happened that week or month. I was once the hostess of flag raising ceremony. Between 9:45 am and 10 am, we will do eye exercises —we press particular points on our faces accompanied by relaxing music and an instructor’s recorded voice in the broadcast

3 We read out loud together for an hour every morning.

Monday and Wednesday morning from 7 am to 8 am we read Chinese textbooks. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday morning we read English books. We started to learn English when we were seven years old. It is a compulsory course throughout our education in China.

4 Long study hour in both classroom and home


Our school schedule is from 7 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday. Class starts at 8 am and ends at 4 pm.From middle school, everyone is required to participate in self-study session at classroom from 7 pm to 9:30 pm, which a lot of students hatc.

5 Parental expectations on children’s academic performance


People in China like to compare everything. Chinese parents tend to push their kids a lot and have high expectation on their grades. Good exam results are associated with success, and entire families can pin all their hopes on the single child. If you are admitted to Tsinghua and Beida, the top two universities in China, your social status seems to be changed forever(especially for poor kids).

6 We wear ugly uniforms and the same hairstyle


For centuries in China, the high grade has been regarded as the only effective way for entering a prestigious university. Thereby, parents and schools are all unwilling to have us distracted by outfit and cosmetics, etc. So the most direct and efficient way to this end is uniform students into baggy & ugly school outfits.
Another strange thing is that only two hairstyles are allowed for the boys: ‘crew cuts’ or ‘flat tops.’ My husband is the victim of it. His hair was a little bit longer than flat tops. His teacher asked him not to get back to class until he had his hair cut. So far this rule still leaves a shadow in his life. There are barbers stationed at our school gates to ‘fix’ the haircuts of the students. The school said in this way, students can focus on their studies. As I grow up, I feel like they are treating us like prisoners.

7 Wear red-scarf every day in elementary school

We have to wear red-scarf every day when we were the first year in elementary school. If we forget to wear it, we cannot be allowed to enter the school. I remember I always forgot to wear it. So I bought lots of new red scarves at the grocery store outside of the school. Besides, every month every student should join in a general cleaning. I bet western schools never have this kind of cleaning.

8 Military Education and Training when the term starts

Military Training is mandatory when the middle school, high school, and college term start. During the 14-day training week, we are required to go to a certain place and practice Formation training including a stand at attention, stand at ease, footwork, salute, and review. We were trained physically, technically and psychologically. It is considered an opportunity for us to discipline our will, strengthen our bodies, as well as learn some basic military information. Thirty of us live in a single room while doing military training. We are allowed to take baths every three days.  The happiest time memory for me is I could take a shower. I am so glad that I am never going to have this kind of training again.

9 High rate of nearsightedness

I went to the best high school at my city. There are 50 students in my class and only me, and another guy is not myopic. 90% of students(450 million people) are nearsightedness in my country.

10 After school classes


Parents send students to after school classes: Maths Olympics, English, Chinese chess, art and martial arts. Piano levels are divided into 1 to 10. These courses are very popular, and some students even have to take several of them over the weekend. Why parents do this? The answer simply is to increase their children’s competitiveness. I remember I went to New Oriental (a provider of private educational services in China) taking English tutoring classes for many years, including German, GMAT, Tofel, etc.

In conclusion, strict disciplinarian schools do produce very smart and hard working adults. However, our individuality, being a unique individual, is robbed. As I grow up, I realize that rotate learning is not sustainable. People in the US never memorize. Instead, they challenge the material and make their judgment. We miss the education of social skills, critical thinking and being creative. Our opportunity of being a unique, the chance to blossom into the unique individuals, is robbed.
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Sources

1 China education differs from the US

http://www.bbc.com/news/education-34605430

2 School life in China

http://factsanddetails.com/china/cat13/sub82/item1094.html

Grow old with Iris Apfel—Five tips to stay young at the nineties

Iris Apfel is 95 years old and eccentric fashion legend in our era. Luxury brands and top shopping mall use her name to host events. At the age of 90s, she flew around the world to make speeches. She used to be a successful interior designer and textile maker. She helped to design interior decoration for several presidents. I saw her documentary yesterday on Netflix and found so many pearls of wisdom on her. In 2005, her personal clothes collection was exhibited in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (One of the largest and most prestigious museums in the world) and gained a huge success. Visitors who saw the exhibition found great pleasure in it. They are not only fascinated by her dynamic pieces but also her personality. I have seldom seen any elder people in her age have had such a high-quality life. Her sharp and clear voice is still hovering in my head. Here are some of the tips  Iris gives us:

1 On her staying young

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She gets more than 50 phone calls each day and received 3-4 interviews a week. How can she always have such high natural energy and give sarcastic comments and feedback to others? Her interview shows me elderly can think as fast as young in brain tasks. Her answers are very funny, and I can’t stop admiring her. She finds much joy and pleasure talking with people during the interviews.In her apartment, you can see a house with toys, dolls, and decks of colorful clothes. The Christmas atmosphere is going on and on in her house for more than half a year. She said,” I am always curious about everything and add a sense of humor when talking with people. You have to do that to stay young.” Lesson: Being genuine to yourself, staying curious and maintaining a sense of humor

2 On Cosmetic Surgery

She is strongly against plastic surgery. These days there are too many artificial beauties in our life. The standard of the beauty is significantly homogenized. People are chasing about the ideal of beauty and hope to become an overnight sensation after the change of a smaller nose, bigger breasts, and a tighter tummy. Celebrities, fashion bloggers, homemakers, white collars and even college students are crazy about plastic surgeries. Many of the stars try to look the same nowadays. However, this is a risky and addictive business. Once you start to do it, there is no end, and very often you will get an unpleasant result. You once have a beautiful and fresh face, and now it may be even less attractive than before. People will get anxiety and depression after the cosmetics surgery fails. According to Huffington Post, a study by the Aesthetic Surgery Institute found that just under a third of patients were unhappy with some aspect of their facelift
Love yourself and your face. Having a strong personal style is more important than being pretty. Pretty will fade away as time passes. Style won’t.

3 On people

Iris always cares about other people and speaks funny of young folks. People no matter what age has so much joy being around her. Her presence is moving. She often says she is tired. But she keeps participating activities to talk with young people and shares her ideas with them. One small detail I found touching is she says greetings to security guards, policemen and people on the road.

4 On Fashion


More and more people live without a soul, they’re just living in an empty shell. Nobody cares about what you are wearing, and it’s none of my business to care about what other people wear, as long as you are happy about it. The style is a personal thing and in your DNA. You should be happy about what you wear and don’t need to care about what the rest of the world thinks about you.

5 On her happy marriage


The biggest inspiration I got from Iris is her sweet marriage. Her relationship with husband Carl is an example of caring love. Her husband was 101 years old (Died last year) He treated her like a princess throughout his life. Their marriage lasts for 68 years, and they become like one person. She said about the secret of her marriage,” Give each other privacy and maintain a sense of humor.” One thing I found funny is they call each other pussycat and baby. She also mentioned the phenomena that Millennial shares every detail of their relationship on the Internet is bad. It’s nobody’s business to care about what your private parts look like. Keep them private!

Hope we can all stay fabulous at the age of nineties.

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Source

1 Four Reasons never get plastic surgery

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/07/cons-of-plastic-surgery_n_5618623.html

2 Cosmetic surgery is bad. That women feel the need for it is worse

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/cosmetic-surgery-is-bad-that-women-feel-the-need-for-it-is-worse-8435780.html

3 Fashion legend Iris Apfel on secret to her happy marriage

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/features/fashion-legend-iris-apfel-discusses-secret-to-happy-marriage-and-why-she-rejects-plastic-surgery-in-10430331.html

Minimalism should be your 2017 resolution

I loved minimalism and obsessed about this idea and lifestyle. I strongly support the simplicity/minimalism movement. In the current fast-consuming world, everyone is accelerating to use the resource on our planet. Our earth is becoming unsustainable. Nowadays we can often hear people say: less is more.

1 Environmental friendly life style

Accelerating global warming, drinking clean water crisis, habitat losses on species and air pollution have the direct impact on our lives and next generation. When I am sitting in front of my laptop reading news related to the environment, I feel painful and want to contribute to make a difference. I said to myself:” If I want to change the world? Change me first.” Less consumption equals less use of the world’s resources. When I went to New York University, I saw many rich friends around me were crazy about the colorful material world, always shopping the latest trend and luxury brands. I made up my mind at that time I would never lead an extravagant lifestyle like them. I chose the minimalism instead of consumerism to make a difference.

2 Rising awareness of Inequality, poverty and injustice behind consumerism

I saw a movie “Blood Diamond” starred by Oscar winner Leonardo Wilhelm Dicaprio months ago. I learn that behind every shining and chanting diamond are the blood and tears of cheap human labor. Behind consumerism, there is injustice, inequality, and poverty. Growing up in the city known as the world factory—Dongguan China, I saw there is a large population working under the long hour and low wages. Although conditions are getting better, some key issues such as house price, food safety and “Hukou” issues, etc. haven’t solved  yet. One reason behind the distorted social phenomenon is the government and top 1% of the wealthy are inciting the consumerism flame and the rich accumulate ten times more wealth than the poor. The disparities among social classes are exaggerated, and people’s livelihood problems still haven’t been solved.

3 Minimalism will help you concentrate on your work

Thanks to technology, we can process everything on a single computer. We no longer need TV, DVD, photo albums, calendar, books, calculators, notebook, USB, and paper. I used to be a shopaholic and passionate about fashion. I always feel something is missing after I purchase the product and my desire is unfulfilled. Then I realize this loop will never end. New styles come out every minute, and my wallet will finally end up empty. Then I stop shopping like I used to be. (But I still and will always love fashion!) It makes me feel more confident in myself, less stress and more freedom. I spend more time on reading, writing and caring about people in my life. I begin to lead a sober and sophisticated life.

One sentence to the conclusion: Less is more!  Let us focus on things really matter to us. 🙂


Source

1 Becoming minimalist

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/

2 Less Is More: 19 Reasons Being A Minimalist Is The Best Way Of Life

https://www.buzzfeed.com/juliegerstein/life-changing-clothing-organization-tips?utm_term=.gnwnoZ8Qw#.yoGEX0re1

3 53 Seriously Life-Changing Clothing Organization Tips

https://www.buzzfeed.com/juliegerstein/life-changing-clothing-organization-tips?utm_term=.gnwnoZ8Qw#.yoGEX0re1

2016 Three beauty& fashion brands fall short of expectation

As a millennium, I am quite friendly and easygoing. I seldom write negative reviews about others. It makes me feel bad about myself. Especially the eastern education I have tells me always say good things. Throughout years I make an effort to build up a healthy cyber ecosystem. However, after two years in States, I realize that sometimes I just need to speak out so that brands can perform better to serve the consumers. Here are three brands that I think falling short of our expectations:

No.1″ Ivanka Trump Footwear Collection” (www.ivankatrump.com)

I never purchase shoes in Bloomingdales because I was a student then. After making some money doing on campus job at New York University, I thought maybe I could buy a pair of shoes at Bloomingdales this time. I came across the “Ivanka Trump Fashion line” and tried on one pair of pink flat. It looks cute and casual, but it is pricey — $145 bucks. I thought maybe I could invest one pair for the whole summer. But in my mind I knew I could buy a similar design with the lower price.

You may ask why do you still buy Ivanka’s footwear knowing you can find a bargain at another place? The reason is just that it is Ivanka Trump! Her elegant, cultured and poised image as a mother and businesswoman inspired me for a long time. I never meet her in person and don’t know if she is so perfect as the article describe. At least, it’s the way media brands her and the way she brands it herself.

After buying her fashion line footwear, I found out the quality of her shoes is far worse than the brand she wants to craft. The brand image and the product quality are very inconsistent. After wearing the shoes for one month, they are worn– very hard to wear. It is heavy, and you feel like walking on a surfboard.

I sent a tweet to express my experience on Twitter. Guess what? People retweeted it hundreds of times, and people expressed the same anger. Quote from one of the people who comments @ Penny: This happens when you steal the design for how a shoe looks but not how it makes. #grabyourwallet #suedx34 design theft. People grumbled about the price and quality of Ivanka Trump brand on the Internet.

Sorry Ivanka. I don’t think I will buy anything from your brand from now on.

No.2 Anthropologie Clothes(anthropologie.com)

This brand has been my favorite brand for years. I am so passionate about shopping in the store. Its success lies in its story-telling and visual branding. The clothes won’t worth the price without its content marketing. The lush, creative environment, gorgeous design, sweet staff and unique store design are key elements in its branding. However, this year I found that the price of Anthropologies rises by 15% at least. The quality is still the same. A small T-shirt cost $128, and a casual dress cost $168. However, at the end of the clearance season, the price of the dress will drop to $28. When I saw the price, I was Jaw-dropping—are you kidding me? This kind of pricing strategy hurts the brand image. What if consumers bought it when it first came out?

Besides, the online customer service is slow and inefficient. I lost my three items worth $500 in their GAP,PA return department. They never process the return and the customer service also has no idea where are the clothes are right now.

Conclusion:  Insanely high price with the quality and bad online customer service!

No.3 Crest 3D Teeth White Whitestrips (http://crest.com/en-us/products/whitestrips)

One of my college friends recommended me to use this brand. I bought it on Amazon and tried this one for my upcoming engagement photo shoot. I used the one-hour express whitening strip between 10pm-11pm at night. At 4 am in the early morning, my teeth and head were so hurt that I was forced to wake up. I couldn’t fall asleep again. My teeth have never been such painful, and tooth nerve was irritated. I was choking on the bed, and my husband comforted me. The next whole day my teeth were sore and sour at working place. I couldn’t eat for breakfast and drink hot/cold water. I am sure I will never use this product again.Yes, it makes my teeth looks white, but the side effects just push me far away from the product.

Summary

I am writing this not merely an anger or revenge but also as a warning. No matter a company brand or personal brand, the brand identity should be consistent with product quality. At the end of the day, the customers’ satisfaction is the most important.

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Sources:
1 Long Hours, Low Wages Alleged at Ivanka Trump Shoe Factory
http://www.racked.com/2016/10/12/13243756/ivanka-trump-shoe-factory-violations

2 Ivanka Trump is just a Donald Trump in Disguise
http://www.businessinsider.com/ivanka-trump-donald-cosmo-interview-2016-9

3 It’s war! Italian shoe brand Aquazzura calls out pregnant Ivanka Trump, accusing her of copying its $785 fringed sandal design to create her own CHEAPER $145 imitation
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3503384/It-s-war-Italian-shoe-brand-Aquazzura-calls-pregnant-Ivanka-Trump-accusing-copying-785-fringed-sandal-design-create-CHEAPER-145-imitation.html

4 Whitening strip side effects- Sensitive teeth & gums
https://www.animated-teeth.com/whitening_strips/a4_teeth_whitening.htm

How to rediscover your path in life?

The way for me to rediscover my inner self in through blogging. After all those years spent in a Chinese curriculum, I felt like I was homogenized. My critical thinking ability was paralyzed. Class of 60 students spent every day together doing quizzes, roting Marxism and Mao/Deng Theory, cracking difficult Maths problems. My creativity and imagination were buried under textbooks.

Having stayed in the States for two years is a mind-blowing experience. Hearing people criticize their country liberally, challenging their system and attacking the corrupt election procedure were exhilarated. With this new freedom to rethink about Chinese/Western society, I am more curious every day. I also reclaimed the passion for learning more about public policy and international relations, watching history documentaries and writing blogs. I delve deeper into the matters of my life and the worldview that shapes me. Blogs help me to lead an intentional life, develop an eye for meaningful things and become a well-rounded person.

Another meaningful thing about this blog is that I want it to be the zone for Chinese to stand up and speak out our voices. Recently, there is news that Chinese ethnicity is being made fun of and belittled in front of the public eyes. I was ashamed by this. I am proud of being Chinese and I want to share my pride in my culture to this country. I decide to write, to tell the stories of my Chinese friends that they wouldn’t tell in their second language. The western world deserves to know us better from our voice instead of mainstream propaganda.At the same time, I also encourage more people to write no matter in what language . It will help you discover your hidden potential and build up more confidence.

As times goes by, I realize that I lead a meaningful life with my unique view and have something useful to share through blogging. I become more observant and give weight to the personal growth that I am experiencing. Hope this blog will change both me and your life.

How to survive in New York City– Guide for Chinese students

Spending two years living in New York is lovely. I have learned some typical skills to survive in New York. No matter in which big cities, those rules are the same.

Less is more. This sentence includes many things: opportunities, information, experience, relationships, and activities. When you are standing in the middle of time square, all senses are alert and overwhelmed – dozens of variously sized Neon advertisements, bright flashing lights, unorganized traffic with tourists bumping into you, smells of burnt peanuts and pretzels, the murmurs of thousands of layers of conversations.Yes, I love the vibe and creative side of the city. On the contrary, I was lost in the epicenter of American overstimulation. Every scene is informative; every speech is inspiring; every person is either talented or has an extraordinary background. How to function in the midst of overstimulation and not being paralyzed? Finding ways to disconnect or calm ourselves regularly are the only ways to maintain sanity is such an intense environment. We just need to focus on one thing that is most important to us and fight for it. Enough is enough.

Everyone’s gonna start from somewhere. New Yorkers are from all over the world. As a Chinese, we often undergo an identity crisis. Back in our country, everyone seems to have the similar background. But In New York, people tell completely different stories. I constantly challenge and question myself what I have been doing for the last 22 years? I once tried to compare myself to other people around me, but all the comparisons are meaningless. It just made me feel worse about myself. Then I started to realize that, one might have learned the doctrine earlier than the other, or might be a master in his unique field. I am just an ordinary girl. I need to accept my limitation and start from where I am. I have my gifts, talents, and values of success.   Everyone’s going to start from somewhere. Be patient and faithful.

Be professional. There is an inherent energy in New York City that it is famous for. It makes people want to get up and do a million things all day and stay up all night. There is a famous Lyrics in Jay Z’s “Empire State Building” Song. “If I could make it here/I could make it anywhere.” I was having four internships at the same time during my first year in New York. Practice is the sole criterion of truth. Although our primary goal coming to New York is going to graduate school, we should not neglect the importance of working hard to do internships during part-time. I have never learned so much in my life until I started to work in a company. At 2015 spring semester opening ceremony, I was selected to make a speech in front of the new students.I told them, “we can work hard and play hard at the same time. ”

Escape the city for a while and treat yourself well. New York rises with concrete. I didn’t learn to truly appreciate the soothing ambiance of the peak of a mountain until I was fully submerged in the metropolitan lifestyle. My friends always know where to get the nature fix. We went to uptown New York to pick apples, tried Michelin restaurant, ate the best green tea cake in Lady M and dim sum in Chinatown.

Go to big cities when you are young. You never try, you never know.

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