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  Letting Go of Yesterday 让昨日随风

  On Saturday, February 12 two thousand, two things happened that changed everything in my life. The first was that on this day my baby sister was married. She was twenty-six this day, and yet to me she was still my baby sister. I suppose that I pictured her as a little girl, and treated her like one in order to hold onto and preserve my own youth. Until I saw her in her wedding dress I still had a vision of her with chubby little cheeks and long, dark-brown pigtails blowing in the wind, perhaps even a permanent smudge of chocolate around her pink lips. I guess it's true that you see only what you want to see. Where did this beautiful woman with the glowing complexion and gentle curves come from?


  I was happy that day, and also sad. Gone were the days of me bossing her around and telling her what she should do with her life. My bossy behavior had earned me the nickname Lucy. If you are a Peanuts fan then you can clearly imagine my behavior as an older sister. To me it wasn't an insult; I rather like the nickname Lucy. I happen to think that Lucy is strong and has incredible self-confidence, although she is a little overbearing at times. I did my best to live up to the standards set forth by this dynamic cartoon character.


  I left the reception to get some air because suddenly I was overcome with grief at the realization that I was no longer a child. I went outside and walked to a nearby playground where there were children playing on the slide, the swings and digging in the dirt. There was a little girl twirling around on a bar, one knee wrapped tightly around the bar and fashioned behind her knee. It was all I could do to sit there and just watch, for I too wanted to get on that bar with her and see if I could still hold the all-time twirling record (ninety-nine times in fifth grade)。 Somewhere inside I knew that I would break my neck, and I was wearing a bridesmaid dress. Not exactly play ground material. And so I sat watching the children play. I'm not sure how long I sat there before my sister came and joined me. We talked about how we are grown up now and shed a few tears for our childhood days gone by. As she wiped a tear from my eye she lovingly said, "you'll always be Lucy to me." We hugged.

  我离开了婚礼现场,到外面去呼吸些新鲜空气。我突然伤感不已,因为自己已经不再是个孩子了。我走到外面,来到附近的一个运动场边,小孩子正在那里玩滑梯、荡秋千、玩泥沙。有个小女孩正在一个杠上快速地转动,一条腿紧紧地勾在杠上。而我所能做的只是坐在那里看看,我也想跟她一起玩,看看能否再重现当年自己转圈的最高记录(五年级时一次达到99次)。但我很清楚,这样我可能会扭断脖子。再说我正穿着伴娘服,不适合运动。于是我只好坐在那里看孩子们玩耍。不知过了多久,妹妹来到我身边。我们谈起自己已经长大了,并为逝去的孩童时光流下了泪。她替我擦干眼泪,充满爱意地说:"你永远都是我的露西。" 我们拥抱在了一起。

  My cousin Mike walked over and told my sister that it was time to cut the cake. And then he dropped bomb number two on me. "Hey, did you guys hear that Charles Schultz died today?" He said it like it was no big deal. He took my sister's arm and turned to head back for the reception hall. "Coming?" They asked. "In a minute." I replied, and sat back down on the bench, dizzy from what he had just told me.


  Dead? How could Charles Schultz be dead? He was my creator! And though I have never met the man personally, he has always been like an invisible father to me. He did, after all, fashion a famous character after me. I lost so many things on this day. Innocence slipped away from me like a thief in the night: come and gone before I could do anything about it, taking with it all the treasures that I held most valuable in my heart. I felt myself grow up, all in one moment. Reality rushed in around me like a hurricane tide. There was nowhere to run to. All I could do was sit there and watch it destroy and reshape what had existed only a moment before. I was no longer a child. I was no longer Lucy who knew what was best for everyone else. I saw, for the first time, what I really was-a thirty-year old woman with a husband of my own, and soon, a child of my own.


  I allowed the tide to carry my sadness out with it. Take it out to sea, for it serves no purpose in my life. I stood up from the bench; a little taller than I was when I sat down. I turned and headed back to the hall, hoping I didn't miss the cutting of the cake. It was the day my sister grew wings of her own and left the nest. It was the day that Lucy died, and I was born.



  Is romance private or public

  Boys: Our romance is private. Why does she always want to share with others? This throws us off balance and makes us feel rather confused.

  Scene: What a coincidence! Today is Xiao Li's and Xiao Fang's birthday. Early in the morning, Xiao Li's boyfriend comes to school with 11 roses and a birthday card for her. The whole class rocks with exultation and laughter. Although they are common gifts, Xiao Li is envied greatly by everybody in the classroom, especially Xiao Fang—she is upset all day. After school, when Xiao Fang finally goes home, she sees her stupid boyfriend waiting for her at the door with a bunch of roses……

  Offscreen voice: Girls think that romance needs an audience. When given publicly, even the most common presents are invaluable.

  An expensive garment or several bargains?

  Boys: Girls are crazy about shopping. They are always complaining that they don't have any decent clothes. Why don't they spend the same amount of money on an expensive but decent garment instead of several bargains from the stalls? The very thought of accompanying girls shopping really drives us crazy.

  Scene: Two young lovers are shopping. The boy soon picks one for himself, but the girl keeps looking but fails to reach a decision. Later, at the girl's strong urging, they rush to a clothing market. With 1,000 yuan, she buys two scarves, two jackets, a dress, two pants and a pair of shoes.

  Offscreen voice: When girls say that they don't have any decent clothes, they don't mean they want to buy something expensive. Instead, they want something new. For them, new clothes are always good. They feel rather excited when they can buy a lot of new clothes with just a little money.

  Do girls want an escort?

  Boys: We boys live in a world where everyone says exactly what he thinks, while girls' quality of reserve is exasperating. When it is late at night, I ask my girlfriend whether she wants me to accompany her home. She always says no. However, one time her “best roommate” called me to complain that my girlfriend really wanted me to do so, despite her saying no. So, the next time I gallantly volunteered to escort her home. But she didn't seem impressed, although it was very inconvenient for me and I didn't get home until midnight.

  Scene: 10 p.m., two lovers are walking on the street. As the boy starts to board a bus, the girl's face turns sullen. Noticing this, he loses no time in stopping a taxi, “Let's take a taxi and I'll escort you home.” Strangely, the girl answers: “If you escort me home, you'll have to return by taxi yourself. Altogether, that will cost you almost 100 yuan, which is really a waste of money.”

  Offscreen voice: Girls are very independent and don't need escorts anymore. However, they are flattered when you gallantly offer to serve as their escorts. It is a wise choice to give them 100 yuan and suggest they take a taxi home, even though they may finally choose to go by bus in order to save the money for something else.


  From Homeless to Harvard

  From Place to Place

  On a sunny morning June 1998, twenty-one-year-old Lauralee Summer waited for the start of her graduation ceremony at Harvard University nervously, praying that this time her mother would not be late as usual. However her mother didn't show up even after the ceremony ended. Holding her certificate, she couldn't help recalling those disappointing moments: unable to catch bus on time, late for dinner and so on. Suddenly, she heard someone calling her name. She turned around and found her mother standing behind her, beaming with smile.

  That Lauralee Summer's mother loves her is not in question, never has been. But the mother was unable to do what most children take for granted in Lauralee's childhood: set a schedule, make sure she went to school, get meals on the table, and make a stable home. For much of Summer's childhood, mother and daughter moved from shelter to welfare hotel to temporary room to a relative's house. By the time she was 12, they had already moved 12 times.

  A Fresh Start

  In 1989, they headed east. Summer says her mother told her that Boston “had good schools and was rich with cultural history.” Thus began a stay at shelters, welfare hotels, and rented rooms throughout the Boston area. For the first time in her life, there were rules, regular meals, and order. There Lauralee enrolled in Quincy High School. Lauralee would take her second-hand skateboard all over Quincy: It was free transportation. To give her room to do homework, her mother slept on the couch for the next four years.

  Thanks to her teacher, Charles Maclaughlin, Lauralee made decent grades, joined the boys' wrestling team and found a place at Harvard. She wasn't the top student in her high school class (twentieth in a class of 300), and her SATs weren't perfect (1,450 out of 1,600)。

  But her admissions essay set her apart from the multitudes of privileged Harvard kids. “I wrote about my mom mostly, and a little about being homeless,” she says. “I wrote about wanting to help other homeless kids.” “She's special, and someday she'll do something incredible; I really believe that,” says Maclaughlin, “Her mother gave her things that are priceless—a lot of love, and a love of reading.”

  For a long time, she felt more comfortable around homeless people than her classmates. “I was with all these students who came from stable families,” she says. “They were brilliant and driven. I thought, I am going to be washed out.” She was on scholarship and grants, working two jobs to pay the bills. Books were too expensive, so Lauralee borrowed them from the library or photocopied chapters.

  On Parents' Weekend, Summer's mother took the train, hauling her belongings in several bags through Harvard Square. “From the moment I met her at the T station, where she emerged laden down with her bags and layers of clothes, I knew that my Parents' Weekend would be different from anyone else's,” writes Lauralee. While the other students were dining or shopping with parents, her mum left because she had to check in at the shelter by 6:30 pm.

  Forgive and Understand

  Toward both her parents, Summer shows an extraordinary ability not only to forgive but to understand. “I wanted to know where the other half of my genes came from,” she says. “Meeting my dad was like being reborn at 19. I can imagine what a hard time he went through when he divorced.” She wrote him a letter when she was a sophomore in college. Her father wrote back right away, and the two have become close. Both father and daughter were surprised at the depth of feeling they discovered for each other, and what they have in common; both are athletic, driven and emotional. He came to her Harvard graduation and made a 14-day cross-country trip with her when she moved to Berkeley.

  “I learned to look at the world in different ways and still find joy,” when she talks about her life. “Honestly, I think my life has been so lucky in so many ways.”




















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