Home away from home

More stories from Derrick Mogensen


Imagine learning an entire language in one year, and moving from a giant city on the opposite side of the world to a small town like Magnolia without knowing anyone but your mom, sister, and stepdad.

This is what  life is like for Dongjian Lyu, all the way from Shenzhen, China.

Since Dongjian’s name is difficult to pronounce he goes by DJ.

DJ has been in the U.S. since last summer and is graduating soon. With graduation closing in,  reflecting how life in the United States is going so far, DJ explained how he likes the teachers and schooling over all.

“I like the american teachers more – they are patient,”  senior DJ  Lyu said.  

He seemed relieved to have a guiding hand on his learning for the rest of his high school academics.

Although how you can almost self educate your self and school isn’t as strenuous,  “You just have to pass the big test,” or the SAT equivalent in China.

Overall yearly grades and averages mean next to nothing in China. DK claims nothing is majorly different to where he has to change his daily routine, although he still does miss his friends back in China very much.  

 “I miss them a lot – we had fun.”

To help DJ not feel so homesick, he plays a few PC video games to occupy his time, like Defenses of the Ancients 2 (DOTA2) and League of Legends.

When he gets tired of playing video games inside he stretches his legs outside on a nice bike ride.  

In China, DJ used to ride down mountain sides, but  mountains are in short supply, so he settles for a nice ride around his neighborhood .

DJ has been around different parts of the world: he was born and raised in Shenzhen, China; Magnolia Texas, and Dubai of the United Emirates.  

He has gone to Dubai for a vacation.

“ We just went for fun I guess,” DJ said.

Out of all the places DJ has been all around the world he has one place he finds intimidating.  

“Downtown’s (Houston) scary.  I’ve heard people get shot,” DJ said.  

In China, it’s hard to be shot, and in some places illegal to own guns.  The mindset and culture of the people is different, so the crime rate is lower in China along with the arrest rate.