|Over the Mountains(图)|
|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/09/10 11:19 《英语学习》|
By Katharine Wang
Good morning! Thank you for flying with TED1 airlines today. Our trip to Denver, Colorado will be one hour and forty minutes..." the flight attendant said chirpily2; her voice sounded through the compartment.
Overcome with nausea and a headache that could make Godzilla groan in pain,3 I was praying that I wouldn't pass out4 during the flight. Our flight, UA1442, to Denver was scheduled to be at 2pm. I had just taken a three-hour exam in the morning. Plus, I didn't eat lunch, rushed back home, packed all my belongings, and then raced to the airport where we waited for almost two hours until boarding time. To top the iceberg5, I was trying to recover from a cold that lasted through my week of AP6 (Advanced Placement) exams.
It wasn't as if I enjoyed the chaos. Believe me, I'm far from a masochist7. The objective of this trip was to attend my cousin's graduation ?a very big occasion for my relatives. I, for one, thought Colorado was like a foreign country. I guess that's because my life revolved around the atmosphere of LA ?tall buildings, busy traffic, pollution. Colorado is all land ?miles and miles of plains until reaching the great Rocky Mountains protruding from the flat grounds.8
As the plane lifted off the runway at the Ontario9 Airport in LA, I peered over at the small capsule-like window. Blue. All I could see was blue. It had been so long since I flew. I forgot how it felt to be truly "light" in the air. The ground was far away and the sky was the limit.
And then we hit turbulence10. The little Hispanic girl behind my row squealed in delight as the plane dipped and leveled and dipped again.11 Contrary to her joy, I thought I was about to hurl.
With festivities in mind after the graduation, my uncle proposed a celebratory dinner at the only Chinese restaurant in the area: China Buffet. The name says it all: it had been brutally Americanized.12 Sweet and sour pork. Sweet and sour chicken. Fried rice. But that wasn't the highlight of the dinner. The entrance of my nineteen people group hit the spotlight ?fifteen Chinese and three Caucasians speaking loudly to each other in strangled communication.13
Everything went quiet in the restaurant. All of the diners turned around and stared at us with surprise and amusement. I felt like a circus clown on a tight rope.
Despite the awkwardness, I had many stimulating conversations with a German lady at my table. Sitting right across from me, my attention was directed all towards her ?her genuine kind-heartedness; her mischievous smile; her raspy voice; her unabashed laughter;14 her love for her students and family. She kept repeating: Kid, I understand what you're going through. I'm not quite sure what she meant at that time. Maybe it was the stale cream puff that was somehow lodged in our throats.15 Or maybe, she could relate because she emigrated from Germany as a teen.
A graduation in Colorado isn't a graduation if it's without a party. My relatives were invited to a "Turkey Fest" at my cousin and his roommates' rented dwelling next to the college. Apparently, my cousin's two roommates, his friends, and his roommate's girlfriend all read my book, Been There, Done That16. As I talked to them about my book, my little cousin was busy playing Nintendo 6417 with another kid of his own age; my grandmother and uncle were snoring in Nathan's room; other parents were frying two whole turkeys in oil; and three dogs were racing around in the backyard. It was beautiful ?the sounds of chattering and laughter, the tantalizing smells18 of country food, the barking of dogs and giggling of kids, and the quiet comfort of companionship with complete strangers.
From room to backyard, I met so many amazing characters ?professors, parents, students. A group of graduates had been fixing up a bus into a living quarter for a three-month road trip across the US.19 I watched in awe as they showed me how they built handmade tables that could be stacked20 and attached for efficiency and space, their own shower, a running water system, beds, and a kitchen. It was a fusion21 of creativity, talent, hard work and determination.
But who I remember most was a little girl named Lana. In my life, I met few who could suddenly touch my heart and snuggle22 in my memories.
A little ball of energy, Lana was a free-spirited and curious 14-month-old Chinese girl. With dark, brown eyes that looked like two oval buttons, short black hair flying wildly, and a blue and white cheongsam23 with jeans underneath, she was Lana ?not just another girl. She refused to be held or led ?an individual by birth. Without a second thought, she had stumbled confidently up to a dog quadruple her size and started to pat him. It's doubtless that she was an attention-grabber. Her two Caucasian parents, both professors at the college, could only trail behind her. I quote her father: "Lana is proof that all Asian women are intelligent." If you haven't already realized, Lana was adopted.
Her parents showed us pictures of the moment they received Lana, pictures of the adoption center24 in China, and the pictures in front of the Forbidden City25 in Beijing. There was love in the eyes of all three.
Lana and her parents gave me a gift. They showed me that although we are so different in color, we're the same in spirit.
Sure, I felt different at moments in time during the trip. As an Asian American, it's always bizarre26 to bump into situations that remind me of how apart but how included I am in the American culture. But watching as Lana blew me a kiss as a goodbye, I felt there was no difference at all. No difference whatsoever. -
1. TED: “泰德”。2003年年底，美国联合航空公司为顺应市场需求，推出低票价航班服务，并将其命名为“泰德”，从2004年2月开始提供飞行服务。
2. chirpily: 快活地，活泼地。
3. nausea/#n0:z!2/: 晕机；Godzilla: 哥斯拉，是同名美国系列影片中的怪兽。
4. pass out: <俚>昏倒，失去知觉。
5. to top the iceberg: 最糟糕的是。
6. AP: Advanced Placement的缩写，指美国高中的大学选修课。如果学生在AP考试中获得满分(五分)或四分的好成绩，很多大学将予以承认，这样学生进入大学后就可以免修相关课程。但另外有些大学，如加州理工学院就不承认任何AP成绩。
7. masochist/#m*s2%k!st/: 受虐狂者。
8. Rocky Mountains: 落基山脉，位于北美洲西部，北起阿拉斯加北部，纵贯加拿大和美国西部，南至墨西哥边境；protrude: 伸出，突出。
9. Ontario/=n#te2r!2%/: 安大略，美国加州西南部一城市。
10. turbulence/#t^:bj%l2ns/: [气]湍流。
11. 当飞机在突然的沉降和恢复平衡间变换时，我后排那个西班牙小女孩兴奋地尖叫起来。Hispanic: 西班牙的；squeal: 发出长而尖的叫声；dip: 下沉，下降。
13. Caucasian/k0:#ke!z!2n/: 白种人，高加索种人；strangled: 让人窒息的。
14. mischievous: 恶作剧的，顽皮的；raspy: 声音粗嘎的；unabashed: 毫不掩饰的。
15. 可能是不新鲜的奶油泡芙粘在了我们的喉咙里。stale: (食品等)不新鲜的；cream puff: 奶油泡芙，一种小甜点。
16. Been There, Done That: 《此时，彼地》。作者以自己的四年高中生活为蓝本写就的第一本英文小说，目前已在国内由外语教学与研究出版社出版。
17. Nintendo 64: 任天堂64位游戏机。“任天堂”为一游戏机生产商。
18. tantalizing: 挑逗性的，逗引性的。tantalizing smell在此意为“令人垂涎欲滴的香味”。
19. fix up: 改装；living quarter: 宿舍，住宅。
20. stack: 折叠。
21. fusion: 融合。
22. snuggle: 舒服地蜷伏，偎依。此处snuggle in my memories指“留在我的记忆里”。
23. cheongsam/#t10:9#s*m/: 旗袍。
24. adoption center: (儿童)收养中心。
25. Forbidden City: 紫禁城。
26. bizarre/b!#z4:(r)/: 怪异的，怪诞的。
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