Chinese people believe that a necklace with good meanings can protect young kids. When I was in kindergarten, I often got sick, and my mother gave a necklace to me as a form of protection. She chose it for three reasons. First, the necklace is shaped like a leaf. My last name “Ye '' means “leaf” in Chinese. Second, the leaf is red in color, which symbolizes good luck and joy in Chinese culture. Third, in the heart of the leaf, two words “Ping An” are engraved, which means safe. Looking back on how my mother chose this necklace, I always felt so loved because the meanings of the necklace are also her wishes for me as I lived my life. I wore the necklace everyday from ages 6 to 14… even when I slept. When I came to America, I took it with me as a reminder of home. I always like to remember the origin of the necklace, as it connects me with a bustling street of my hometown in China. I can recall going there with my grandmother to the grocery store, with my parents to the bookstore, and with my friends to the coffee shops. There, my mother found the necklace and thought it was perfect for me to wear. When my mother was my age, she had always wanted to move abroad, but never ended up leaving. She told me that letting me study in the US was hard but was always on her mind. The years I wore the necklace, valuable memories were created. For me, the necklace represents family love and a part of my identity, and it especially gives me comfort and security during times of uncertainty.
– Mengshu Ye