I’ve been drinking freely since I was 15. Freely as in walking into a convenience store and buying beer (or a handle of whiskey). Freely as in going to a supermarket and loading up a shopping cart full of liquor for a house party. Freely as in walking into a club and getting shitfaced off open bar all night, any night. All without being carded, of course. I’ve never been ID’d in Shanghai, ever.

I lost this freedom when I came to college in America. 21, my ass. It just HAD to be my generation. Why 21? Because that’s when your brain is done developing, yes, sure, whatever. But… Why? What does that have to do with alcohol consumption?

In my opinion, the sooner a kid is allowed to drink, the better. Sure, kids will go through the reckless stages and do stupid shit, but they all need to go through it to become mature human beings. This is why so many American college kids are immature fucks. They go through the irresponsible stage that we went through and got over years ago. If the country weren’t so strict about drinking, there wouldn’t be nearly as many frat boys running around yelling “WHOOOOO BEER! YEUH!!!” and being complete retards. If they were introduced to alcohol earlier, then drinking wouldn’t be “cool.” It would just be the norm. They wouldn’t go running around trying to prove themselves to the world.

When I was a kid, my parents tried to get me to drink. They would offer me wine and beer all the time. Sometimes I’d have a sip or two, but I just didn’t like the taste of alcohol. Since it was put in my face all the time and wasn’t a “no-no” thing, I learned that drinking wasn’t a big deal.

Growing up in Shanghai, all we international kids were introduced to the “party scene” very early. It was a hell of an environment for teenagers to grow up in. We thrived and prospered. I started going to clubs when I was a sophomore in high school (which is actually pretty late by Shanghai standards). I went out every weekend and got smashed beyond belief. Those were the senseless days. However, by the time I was a junior, I was a responsible drinker.

Now I’m in college. I despise the clubbing scene. It’s too much for me. I am so “over it.” It’s just too loud, crowded and sleazy for me to actually enjoy myself. I much prefer going to bars. I don’t own a fake ID ($200 for a piece of plastic that might not even work? No thanks). I just have my ways of drinking. Freshman year was tough for me. It took me a while to figure out how to get around.

I hate being treated like a kid who is incapable of making my own decisions. You’re allowed to drive a damn car by the time you’re 16, you can buy cigarettes when you’re 18, but you have to wait 3-5 years to have a drink. If you marry young, you can’t even legally drink at your own wedding. What a fucking joke. The drinking law doesn’t mean jack shit anyway. The more they enforce it, the more kids will try to get around it. Just give them the freedom to make their own decisions and their own mistakes. They should learn earlier than later. No more YEAH BEER dudes. No more bullshit. Well, less, anyway.


Tax Guide for Aliens

I want a job. A proper one. I don’t want to work under the table like some kind of illegal alien. I don’t want to work at the school’s library or tutoring center, either. A lot of my American friends keep forgetting that I am, indeed, an “alien.” Whenever I voice concerns about getting a job, they can’t seem to comprehend that it is a much more complicated process than they think.

I’ve been offered jobs before. A few of them were modeling jobs. I would love to look pretty for money. I’m not saying that modeling is an easy job, but I much rather endure the pain of high heels than the pain of being ordered around the office making copies and coffee as somebody’s bitch… or the pain of waiting on rude customers (I would despise being a waitress. I’d get fired on my first week, I’m too clumsy to be a waitress). Anyways, that’s besides the point. The job conversation flows smoothly until I mention that I’m here on a student visa. The dreaded “OH” response. They say it’s fine, as long as you have a guardian to sign with you. Umm, that’s another thing. Both my parents live in Asia. “Ohhhhhhhhhh… Hmm.”

When I attended the international student meeting regarding employment and OPT (ç† before employment), I was taken back by how complicated everything was. Applying for OPT. Applying for employment visa. Applying for this and that. We, as a group, have to go through multiple steps that citizens generally don’t even think about.

We have to file a ton of paperwork to Immigrations. We then have to pay to have Immigrations go through the paperwork. Whoever hires you is required to file paperwork to Immigrations (who the hell wants to do that when you can just hire a good ol’ American citizen instead?). We have to refer to the “Tax Guide for Aliens” packet when we have a question (when I picked it up, I couldn’t help but laugh. Paying taxes. And being called an alien. Awesome). We have to do this and that. We can’t do this, we can’t do that, we most definitely can’t do this, we will be deported if we do that. Taxes really confuse the shit out of me. I still don’t have a social security number. There’s a whole bunch of rules for applying for that as well. So, I don’t have it yet. I don’t have a proper state ID. I don’t have credit. Is that bad? That’s probably bad. Do I care? Probably not.

If I leave the country without getting my I-20 (a document that validates my F-1 visa) signed, I can’t come back in. I lost my I-20 once. I left it in a copy machine at a Staples store. The copy just wouldn’t do. The copy meant nothing. I needed the real thing to travel. Thankfully, the international student department mailed me a new I-20 to my address in China. A piece of paper. With it, I’m good. Without it, I’m barred. I’ve been here for over two years now, and there are still so many fucking things that I don’t understand. I just… don’t… understand. I don’t really want to, either.

Sometimes I wish I was an illegal alien. But then again, no I don’t. Legal or not, I just don’t want to be an alien at all. Being treated differently makes me feel… alienated 😥 sob sob. America has a great way of making everyone feel included while excluding people at the same time. It’s hard to describe or understand. For those of you who are citizens of this peculiar country, congratu-fuckin-lations. I envy you.