“The Inspiring Ocean” by Ying Yu

Ying Yu Ren

It is blue. It is big. It is endless. It is what inspires me. The ocean always gives me a particular uplifting feeling. When I spend time near the water it relaxes me like my mother’s embrace. I love the pale blue color created when the water and sky reflect each other, as well as the horizon line that gleamingly appeals to my eyes. I like the salty swell, and the strong ocean wind exciting my breath and heart beats.

First Experience of The Waves

Both cities I have lived in, Jiangmen and Oakland, are coastal cities. One is on the east of the Pacific Ocean, and one is on the west. A few weeks after I was born, my parents took me to travel on a ship to experience the waves. The waves were big and strong, but my parents held me tightly in their protective and caring arms. I was like a small boat docking in the smooth and peaceful port.

Lesson Learned From The Endless Ocean

The summer before I went to elementary school, I went to an island called “Hainan” with my grandparents. One sunny afternoon, we were walking on the beautiful balmy beach which has a large rock with four big Chinese characters saying “Ultima Thule” on it. A friend of my grandpa who is an old wise man asked me, “Do you see the end of the ocean?” I shook my head. “Do you know how big the ocean is?” he said, “It’s huge! It’s so big that you are just a dot compared to it. That’s why you will never see the end of it.” I nodded as if I understood, but I did not completely know what he meant.

Then I looked up to him and he meaningfully continued, “The ocean is like knowledge, there’s no end of learning. There are always more things you can learn even though you already know a lot and this is always true no matter how old you are. You’re about to be a real student and accept more and bigger challenges. You should keep this mind as you study, ok?”

Yes, mo gong gong! I still remember your lesson today and will never forget it in my life, because it shaped me to be an “A” student who is curious about everything and does not want to give up on getting a higher and higher education.

My Dearest Fish

During my last week in China before immigrating to the U.S., my dad and I went to the shore along the ocean in my hometown and released the fish which had been living with us for years. The fish had been brought out of the tank and we let them go into the ocean. They were going to be traveling to different countries, meeting different people and getting to know different cultures in order to expand their sights. Maybe someday they would miss the warm and secure tank and their friends and neighbors, but the path of coming back would not be easy. I wiped a tear as I imagined that picture and said goodbye to my dearest fish. A few days after that, I embarked on a journey of seeking a different life just like my fish.

The Bubble Popped

The summer of my freshman year in high school, I went sea kayaking for a week in Tomales Bay, on the west coast of the Pacific Ocean. One morning, I was trying to paddle out to a beach near Tomales point where the wide Pacific Ocean would be presented in front of me. However, nature did not want to make it easy for me. The strong winds and waves were coming against me and pushing me back to the starting point. No matter how hard I paddled, I still saw the same rock and the same bushes whenever I looked at the bank. I looked around and could not find my protective and caring parents.

My parent’s protective bubble had popped. Meanwhile, I could fall and roll and stand up again with no problems if and only if, I was in that bubble. Suddenly, I realized that I had to take care of myself from now on. Being independent would free me and let me fly further in the future, like a bird flying away from its cage. I knew that if the boat flipped upside down, I would be under the dangerous water.

Therefore, I looked ahead, aimed the destination that I wanted to go and paddled harder than I had ever done. Finally, great efforts took me to my desired goal with exhaustion and happiness. The Pacific Ocean welcomed and congratulated me at Tomales Point.

The sun still shines, the tides still rise, but I am not who I was before.