I was born in Guangzhou, the third largest city in China. I spent most of my lifetime there, and came to the United States three years ago after finishing high school. I studied in upstate New York for two years before I came to Boston. Here I had totally different experiences. These are the similarities and differences between living in my hometown and Boston.

Normally the first impression of big cities is the traffic. No matter whether you are in Guangzhou or Boston, you will always get annoyed by the traffic. I am assuming there are different reasons for this issue. In Boston, pedestrians often cross the road even when the “Don’t Walk” light is still on. Drivers are mostly nice and polite to let pedestrians cross first. Also, many who study in universities like Boston University and Northeastern University don’t really have a campus. Instead, our school buildings are spread out on two sides of a road. The road is extremely busy and crowded especially when students are rushing to classes and crossing the road without noticing the light changes. On the other hand, even with wider roads, the traffic jams still happen in Guangzhou. There aren’t many pedestrians passing the road since there are many underground tunnels and pedestrian overpasses for people to cross the street. However, the problem of the traffic in Guangzhou would be the accidents; people tend to drive too fast or too aggressively.

China might be far but Boston offers its urban similarities. PHOTO BY DYLAN KIM / DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

China might be far but Boston offers its urban similarities. PHOTO BY DYLAN KIM / DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Big cities are normally home to many different ethnicities. People from different cultures and backgrounds gather in urban areas for various reasons. Boston is a very diverse city, people from all over the United States and the world come to Boston. So it’s always fascinating to watch the cultural exchanges here. I can always hear my friends who are from Los Angeles talking about raves or Korean friends sharing gossips about K-pop. In return, I can also share unique cuisines I had in Guangzhou, such as a snake dish.

The effects of the culture combination in Boston could also be seen from the restaurants. We have so many different cuisines here: Italian, Greek, the typical American grill, the local lobster roll, Korean barbecue and bubble tea. I live in nearby Allston. BonChon, Buk Kyung and Ittoku are my favorite restaurants here. Personally, I really like the Asian food in Allston, and even though they are a little expensive, they offer very authentic flavors. I am enjoying this feeling of trying the cuisine around the world in a walking distance.

People from different regions of China like to come and work in big cities. As we known, different regions in China have their own type of cuisine. Spicy hotpot from Sichuan, sweet and delicate dishes from Shanghai as well as dim sum from Guangzhou. I know people in Guangzhou really like eating spicy dishes in either Sichuan or Hunan style because local food is more inclined to be mild and non-spicy. Now it is a fashion for young people in Guangzhou to gather in the hotpot restaurant. It’s a pity that I still can’t eat spicy food at all.

Every city has their own unique charms, but people who work and stay in the city are easily omitted. It is always clearer to see this as a newcomer. I appreciate every new thing that I have seen and experienced in a city: the history, the culture and the food. They are all a part of the unforgettable memories in my mind, no matter where I will live in the future.