The year I turned 18, I left my home in Beijing to study abroad for the first time. Before my departure, my parents tried to repress their worries, but instead, they reminded me for the hundredth time to contact them as soon as I landed. Since then, I have become accustomed to buying a local SIM card and notifying them of my safe landing every time I move to a new place. Soon I became quickly occupied by new challenges and excitements in life and rarely think about how my journeys impact their lives. After collecting a handful of SIM cards, I start to realize all these years; I have spent more time with my family on the phone than in person. It must be difficult for them, whose loved one has been being thousands of miles away and appearing as images and voices on electronic devices only. However, my parents are always determined to send me away from home. When I was curious about the unknown world, they guided me as I took my first step outside. When I hesitated to give up a stable lifestyle to develop my potentials, they encouraged me to step further. They keep pushing me to pursue my dreams and to explore a wider world even though they knew the farther I am away, the lesser I can spend time with them. Now pursuing my dream major in NYC, I finally discovered the most precious gift my parents give to me – their unconditional love and support.
– Zejun Cai