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    (December 24, 2006)


Catherine's story explores the lives of immigrant women in Vancouver.

A Single Wife
by Catherine

“I rose to his bait.” Judy said, turning her face to the window.

“Really? You think so?” I murmured, but couldn’t find a word to comfort her.

We sat in a Starbucks at Aberdeen Center, the biggest Chinese shopping mall in Vancouver. Customers came in and out, talking and laughing. Most of them spoke Chinese. I enjoyed the smell of coffee and the familiar sound of the language.

I had known Judy for more than ten years. She used to be the most beautiful girl at our university, but now she was like a flower after the rain.

Outside, it was still raining. The radio said it was the 29th rainy day in January, a new record. People called Vancouver the capital of rain; Chinese people called Vancouver the capital of unhappy housewives because so many women, like Judy, lived here with their children but without their husbands.

Judy had been a news reporter in China, but now she had become a typical unhappy housewife. Five years ago, she immigrated to Canada with her two daughters but her husband didn’t come with them. He said that when he earned more money he would come back.

“I didn’t want to immigrate. It was him. He persuaded me to immigrate. He said it would be good for our daughters. He promised me he would come as soon as possible!” Her eyes watered.

Actually, I could imagine what had happened. Her husband, Jiang, with a well-proportioned body and a pair of especially intense big eyes, was an owner of a big factory, and had become the target of many pretty girls.

“Maybe he is busy,” I lied.

“Busy with what? His lovers? Until now I hadn't realized that he'd set me up! He deliberately sends me to Canada. I am so fed up! I hate him!” She tried her best to stop the tears.

He hadn’t come to see them for a long time. Even I didn’t believe he had no time.

“Why didn't you leave him earlier if he doesn’t love you any more? You are only 32 years old. Everything could restart, right?”

I divorced my husband recently because I found he had been with other women.

“We are different, Lucy, although we are same age. You have a job, no child, and your English is better than mine. I need his money to support the house, the car, and our daughters.”

“Well, do you want to go back to China?” I asked.

“Yes, I would prefer to go back, but my children don’t want to, they love it here. What can I do? I’ll have to let things slide.” She gazed dreamily into the distance through the window, muttering to herself.

Gray, everything looked gray in the rain.

“Stay or leave?”

It is not only Judy’s question, but also many Chinese newcomers’.

“Di-Di, Di-Di.” Her cell phone sounded. She quickly picked it up and looked at the new message.

“Sorry, Lucy, I've got to go. My friend is waiting for me.” She looked down at the floor.

“That’s o.k. Go ahead. Have a good time,” I said.

“Why did she appear coy?” I wondered, “Does she have a new boyfriend?”

More Student Writing:

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Want to read lots more student writing? Check out the "Buzz," written by the students of Writing 12.

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Susan's paragraph gives us a wonderful description of an unusual man who visits her store every morning.  October 7, 2005

Failure: A Better Teacher than Success
Ali argues strongly for us to learn from our failures on our path to success. September 18, 2006

The Suggestive Mystery
Tatiana's essay, written for English 12, gives a thorough examination of the Susan Glaspell story, "A Jury of Her Peers."  May 21, 2005

The Longest Night of My Life
Octavia's personal narrative essay is a gripping account of her family's terrifying ordeal that happened more than 20 years ago.  February 11, 2005

Canadians in My Eyes
Vera's paragraph provides some interesting comparisons between Canadians and Chinese. November 19, 2005

To School, Again
Atala's paragraph captures the mixed feelings of an adult returning to school. September 6, 2005

A Special Relationship
Eva's charming story of her dog and a new baby is sure to warm your heart.  June 24, 2005

Giant Plunge
Hiromi's first short story is inspired by Sean O'Failain's story, "The Trout." In it, a young girl learns to conquer her fear of the water.  March 26, 2005

A Place to Live
Atala writes a beautiful descriptive paragraph about her grandmother's house. Full of lovely detail using all the senses, it ends with song lyrics from Louis Armstrong.  February 28, 2005

Free Tranquilizer
An excellent descriptive paragraph about the delights to be found at Central Park in Burnaby. By a former student who wishes to remain anonymous.  February 1, 2005

An Ordinary Day
Far from ordinary, Octavia's paragraph captures the sights and smells and sounds of an outdoor market. Sensuous writing with excellent detail! January 16, 2005

The Place I Long For
Jana's rich description makes it easy to imagine the peace she finds at a favourite place.  December 13, 2004

The Mosquitoes on Campus
Couch writes an amusing story of meeting the new, much smarter, urban mosquito!  November 28, 2004

Nothing Came to My Mind
Tina has written an intriguing narrative paragraph about finding quiet contemplation time in her car on an autumn day. November 9, 2004

A Smart Pig
Annie's amusing paragraph contemplates what it would be like to be a pig, but only for one day! 

Hanging Up the Clothes
Short paragraph with lots of detailed description. 

How to Reduce Stress
    Short essay in five paragraph standard style.

Smells of the Sun
Short paragraph demonstrating the use of the senses in writing.

Advice to New Students of the PALC
Lucky gives some straightforward and useful advice to new students. 

The PALC for Improving Your English
Ciprian has some good advice on how the PALC can help you with your English skills.




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