The seven-year itch in a relationship with America

Seven years ago, I hopped on an airplane for the first time and flew from Beijing to San Francisco, transferred to Chicago and then landed in Milwaukee.

People say there is the seven-year itch in relationships. What happens after dating a foreign country for this long? I tried to relive pieces of life from the past through my own words. It tastes bittersweet.

2009 – First time leaving home and everything behind, I was 16 and a half years old. People say “they who know nothing fear nothing.” So I told myself to “go out there to encompass, embrace and enjoy.” I just didn’t know it was going to be the case for the next seven years.

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‘Asia on Argyle’s history and today

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Look from Ba Le to ‘asia on argyle’ sign during construction on Argyle St. on Aug. 5, 2016.

It’s around 11 o’clock on a Tuesday morning. On the corner of Argyle and Broadway, looking over a Chinese-style pagoda and a streetscape that reads “asia on argyle,” Ba Le, a Vietnamese sandwich shop, welcomes a constant flow of customers of all ethnicities.

“We see all kinds of people. On weekdays like today, you see Vietnamese, some Chinese and Americans,” said Foye, cashier at Ba Le. “On weekends, it’s all Vietnamese people.”

Since Le Vo, the original owner of Ba Le, came to the U.S. from Saigon and opened the Chicago branch in 1988, the identity of Argyle has changed from “New Chinatown” to “Little Saigon” to now “Asia on Argyle,” a commercial area that attracts new investments.

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Presidential candidates speaks to Asian-American voters on immigration policy

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Bill Clinton, Sean Reyes, Jill Stein and Gary Johnson (clockwise from top left) speaking at a presidential town hall in Las Vegas on Aug. 12.

Less than three months away from the 2016 presidential election, candidates from major and independent political parties addressed Asian-Americans, the fastest growing immigrant population in the country, at a presidential forum in Las Vegas on Aug. 12.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes spoke on behalf of Republican Party. Born to a half-Filipino and half-Spanish immigrant father and a mother of Hawaiian and Japanese origins, Reyes said he might not look like a typical Donald Trump supporter.

He said he even had difficulty getting through the security to get on stage.

“I think they just thought I was another attendee who was lost or someone trying to sneak up on the stage to ask another question,” he said.

But Reyes added, “The fact that [the Trump Campaign] would allow an average person like me to be able to speak to a group as important as you” was one of the reasons he started to support Trump.

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Chinese lessons at Chicago Public Library draw diverse crowd

Through the floor-to-ceiling windows in a contemporary building near the Cermak-Chinatown L train station on Monday afternoons, one can see more than a dozen people from different walks of life, trying to have conversations together.

Chicago’s new public library branch in Chinatown was remodeled and opened last August. Standing amid Chinese restaurants and residential apartments, this glass-and-steel structure has become a community center for Chinese-Americans and a language learning hot spot for Chicagoans of all ethnicities.

Si Chen, library manager at the Chinatown branch, started to teach Chinese beginner lessons four months after the library opened, thinking it would be good for children.

“There are a lot of kids go to Chinese schools to learn and practice Chinese, and I thought the lessons here would be a supplement to that,” Chen said.

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What Brexit means to British scientists working abroad

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union brings uncertainty for British researchers in need of science funding.

The result of Brexit left the world stunned and the Britain has since had to cope with an economic downturn. Although the U.K.’s newly-elected prime minister, Theresa May, said she wouldn’t initiate the parting until 2017, uneasiness has arisen among British nationals who are working in the U.S.

Dominic Pye, 29, a British research scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago on a two-year contract, said he is concerned about the impact of Brexit in the scientific sector.

“We get a lot of our funding from the E.U.,” Pye said. “And we took out more than our fair share, I think.”

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