ESL Class Participant
I went to a couple of ESL schools – some teachers spoke only English, some had classes during inconvenient times, or their curriculum was not right for me. Then I found Cameron House’s ESL class. After taking English for 10 weeks here, I finally felt that I was part of the English speaking world. Before, I wasn’t used to English, I worried that I would forget everything when I speak. Now I feel more confident and learn as much as I can to improve myself and enrich my life. My neighbor told me that I am going to school for seniors. I replied, “Yes! When I graduate, I will invite you.” In the ten short weeks, I learned a lot of practical conversational English. Our ESL teacher, Ms. Cheung, teaches in Cantonese and English. My classmates and I wrote a Thank You card to Ms. Cheung at the end of the course and commented, “Your bilingual ability is your wealth.” Indeed! There’s a feeling of intimidation in ESL classes taught only in English, but in a bilingual classroom, we can use our mother tongue to help us understand English. Cameron House’s ESL Class is really helpful. My classmates and I are looking forward to the next course!
-Written by Gina Zhou, a former teacher in China (translated into English)
Girls Backpacking Trip Participant
My name is Kelly Chen, and I was one of the participants in this September’s backpacking trip at Saddlebag Lake, just outside Yosemite. This was my second time backpacking with Cameron House and I had nothing but excitement when Cody (a CH Staff member) asked if I would like to join this trip. This trip was extremely memorable for me because it was an all-girls trip. Even though today’s views of women are changing, the ideas of men being superior are still lingering. But during this trip, it was just simply us girls having the best time of our lives. It wasn’t just a group of nine individuals, but a group working together as one, relying on each other. This trip was way harder than last year’s backpacking trip on Angel Island. Walking up the side of a mountain with a thirty pound backpack at 10,000 feet above sea level was anything but easy. Even though this was tough there were no tears, no whining, nor any way of backing out. This trip was filled with laugher, encouragement, and the sound of rapid breathing due to the high altitude. Even though I usually consider confidence to be one of my weaknesses, I felt empowered when the other girls were asking me how I managed to walk up those hills so fast. I felt like I could turn my weaknesses into strengths because the group was like my anchor that reminded me I can do this, and they’ll push me back on my feet when I fall down. I’m not going to lie, there were many times I gave up but decided to get back on my feet because I knew I wasn’t alone. This might simply just be a backpacking trip to many, but this trip to me was something way, way more. It taught me the value of relationships, and to take a break once in a while and slow down to examine my surroundings. And most of all, backpacking reminded me that we girls are strong, confident, and can do anything.