Freshman bids farewell to friends, moves with family to Taiwan

June 12, 2008 — by Catherine Nguyen

It is normal for students like freshman Jennifer Chiang to be saying her farewells now that it is the end of the year. Saying goodbye to the scent of newly opened textbooks, the apprehension of the make-or-break-it tests, the friends who have been there to laugh and help. But for Jennifer, this will be the first and last time she will leave Saratoga High.

Jennifer will be moving to Taipei, Taiwan, this summer for the next three years. Her education will continue at the private school, Taipei American. She will return for college, which she hopes to be an Ivy League school on the East Coast. Her family had planned this since last year but it was finalized in May.

“We are moving back for my grandparents,” Jennifer said. “They are old and we have to take care of them.”

Though this transition in her life will be hard, Jennifer is no stranger to moving. She said she moved from Ohio to Maryland to California than New Jersey and back to California.

“It’s the hardest to leave from California and New Jersey. I lived there for five years each,” Jennifer said. “I was looking forward to a lot of things here as well.”

Jennifer had plans to continue orchestra and go on the Europe trip next year. It will be hard for her to part from the various competitions she competes in like math and History Day.

She said, “There is no programs like that in Taiwan. It’s pretty sad because I don’t know if they have similar competitions.”

However, Jennifer still has several things to look forward to despite leaving.

“I’ll like the cheap and good food, air conditioning, a dog, and family,” she said.

However, the greatest challenge for Jennifer was telling all her friends she was leaving. She has been hiding her secret and no one had any clue about her plans of moving.

“It was really hard to tell them,” Jennifer said. “I hate seeing my friends so sad and down.”

Her friends were shocked and unprepared. Some believed that she was joking about moving until she continued to repeat herself.

“I didn’t believe her because it was so unrealistic and abrupt,” said freshman friend Debbie Lin.

Jennifer quietly looks back on all her years here since the sixth grade and how many friends she has accumulated. It will be bittersweet for the next few weeks.

“All my friends seem to be planning events before I leave,” Jennifer said. “My days are going to be packed!”

For her, though, it will be the little things that she will remember: inside jokes or sitting at a table and laughing with friends. A strange memory that Jennifer recalls is a seventh grade friend who would often jump on Jennifer’s back to surprise her.

“It’s weird that I remember it because I didn’t even like it that much. But now I’m going to miss it,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer still plans to keep in touch, even if 6,000 miles away. She said she would use Facebook, e-mail, and the phone to interact with friends.

Behind Jennifer’s back, Saratoga friends are planning a party after the last day of school for a happy memory. This isn’t a farewell party, but a 再见下次见 party. It is mandarin for see you later.

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