Dear Liliana,


I am from China and the wife of a postdoc at UC Irvine.  In case you don't know, UC Irvine is located in Southern California where everybody drives.  Nobody walks anywhere here.  Had I known that I would be stranded all day taking care of my two young children, I would never have come to California.  To remedy the situation, I am taking driving classes and will purchase a used car soon.  But this isn't the only challenge that I have here.  I don't speak English very well.  But as you can see, I can write very well.  It's just that no one understands me when I talk to them.  Aside from that, I don't have any friends.  Not even my neighbors talk to me as they are always rushing back and forth.  It seems that they don't need new friends.


In China, I was a graphic artist and loved my job.  I was located only two blocks away from my mother and father who helped me with the kids.  Here in the U.S., I don't have anyone to help me.  So as you can tell from my writing, I am desperate.  Please help me understand what I can do to help myself better acclimate to the U.S. 



Desperate in Irvine



Liliana with family

Dear Desperate in Irvine,


Your letter almost made me cry and certainly reminded me of my very first months in the US. I was excited to be in California and so curious about everything, but some cultural differences were difficult to overcome. 


Yes, you're right about walking and driving. It looks like people here drive everywhere, even to cover the shortest distances, so your decision to take driving classes and purchase a car couldn't be smarter. Think of it as ...

Dear Liliana,

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