Category: Songyi Zhang’s America

Virginia Earthquake

By | Prose, Songyi Zhang's America

On August 23, 2011 a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Virginia. The quake caught me off guard. I was at home in northern Virginia watching TV. Just after I got comfy with my legs crossed on the coffee table, I felt a sudden horizontal shake as if I were a wobble doll being mishandled by a …

Lost in Translation

By | Prose, Songyi Zhang's America

With the suggestion of our hostess Irene, we went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner after we arrived in Lexington, Massachusetts. It has been always a headache for me to have Mexican food. Not because that I don’t like the taste but because I can never understand the menus. What are the differences among tacos, …

American Homes 2

By | Prose, Songyi Zhang's America

After nearly three months hard work in cleaning our house full of clutter, the three-story townhouse has become more livable. Of course, I emptied out space to make room for my new clutter. Hoarding happens in China, too. But generally the problem isn’t that serious in most households simply because on average each Chinese occupies …

Tipping like an American

By | Prose, Songyi Zhang's America

“Gosh,” I cried after I left a restaurant, “I forgot to pay tips!” Being a Chinese, I take it for granted that I don’t need to tip for service. In fact, my first tip to my non-Chinese friends when they visit China is “You don’t need to tip the bell boy or the waitress,” I …

Do You Have Health Insurance?

By | Prose, Songyi Zhang's America

Last winter was brutal for me. I wasn’t quite ill, but I did have to battle a persistent rash on my lips, making them sore, red, swollen. For the first time, I consulted with doctors outside the university clinic. As soon as I stepped up to the reception desk at a walk-in clinic, I’m asked, …

No Money, No Talk

By | Prose, Songyi Zhang's America

Recently before the arrival of the notorious tax deadline—April 15—in America, when I tuned in to Pittsburgh’s WDUQ and WQED radio stations, I heard the announcers keep asking audience to make a pledge for the stations. It was their winter membership campaign. So instead of the daily non-stop music and news on the radio, the …

Weather Forecast

By | Prose, Songyi Zhang's America

Whether in China or America, people care about the weather, and they talk about it endlessly . But what amazes me is how sophisticated the weather forecast is on the American TV news. With high technology, the background behind the meteorologist is far from a still picture. Just with a tip of a finger, the …

Banking

By | Prose, Songyi Zhang's America

In most cases, I find the customer service in America to be way behind China. Many stores here are understaffed; which means customers have to depend on themselves. While I was frustrated about whom to ask for help at Macy’s, I got marvelous service at American banks. As soon as I walk into a branch, …