For readers who hate laggy beginnings please check out this link, where I have written a detailed synopsis of the first 8 chapters. You can decide which chapters to skip or not, since I personally know Xin Yi Wu writes extremely
boring detailed beginnings to set the scene. Haha. Don’t let the beginning turn you away from the book though! It really does get great, especially in the 8th chapter.
September 10, Southern China Midsummer, Blazing Sun
College freshmen Zheng Wei was trying to contain her happiness while taking out two suitcases with some help from the taxi driver, half dragging, half pulling them out of the trunk. When she lifted her hand to wipe away her sweat, a beam of sunlight pierced through the leaves, blinding her for a short moment. When she dug through her pockets, she found some spare money her mom had given her before she left home and gave it to the driver.
“Thanks, uncle.” She said.
The driver, who looked almost thirty, observed the happy girl, and felt embarrassed of even thinking of asking for tips in fear of spoiling her mood, so when she was looking for money, he could not accept.
Zheng Wei stood under the only tree that could block out the sun, using a fan while also looking around the place where she would live for the next four years. She was sitting on a long trail of the school garden. On both sides of the road were subtropical trees she couldn’t remember the names of. She could imagine that taking a walk at this garden at dusk would be a very insightful experience, with its beautiful scenery.
Currently, the whole street was filled with bustling students who squeezed into varying sized tables until the whole area was packed. Private cars and taxis drove by her position on the path frequently and were thus unable to move forward. At the school, buses were also numerous, depositing new students over at the school, wave after wave, almost like her, with their young faces, dragging heavy suitcases behind them. There were also parents who accompanied their children to registration; without exception, all of the parents looked more nervous than their children.
Zheng Wei laughed when she saw them, thinking that if her mom also came; she would be just as urgent in completing the task. Her dad and mom both said that they would bring her to school, but she patted her chest and said to them,
“There’s no need, no need. I’m an eighteen year old young lady. Do I seem like a person who cannot cope with not having anyone helping me enroll? You guys always follow me around and watch me. Don’t forget that time I was eight and rode a bus for three hours by myself to grandma’s house. Don’t worry, don’t worry! ”
They kept worrying though; but after all, they were busy with their jobs. She also emphasized that there were also three others from her high school who had tested into the same city. Thus, they could go hand in hand, caring for each other, and with further effort, her parents’ let her go after rambling about the topic. At the train station, Zheng Wei waved farewell to two classmates. Alone, she stood at G-City.
There was almost no time to take in the surroundings around her as she looked outside again and again, four to five male students walked up, their faces carrying a senior’s passion and pretending to have an older person’s smile, among them, one asked,
“Are you a new student? What are you majoring in?”
“Me? Civil engineering.” Zheng Wei replied honestly.
”Civil engineering?” The acne-faced male’s eyes lit up. “Then you’re also considered our junior. We are responsible for welcoming new students. Come with me, I take you to enroll.”
Without waiting for a reply, he took Zheng Wei’s suitcase and led her towards the registration area.
Zheng Wei’s impressions towards males were all from high school when they always liked to make nicknames for the girls and frequently argued with girls over the answers until they blushed. They never took the initiative to wipe the blackboard and she disdained associating with those kinds of male and female students who were familiar to her. She was not accustomed to the sudden change, that the college boys could be such gracious gentlemen, attentive and caring.
“Oh, the wheels broke near the train station.” She said to the guy who had, without her asking, helped her with the luggage.
“It’s all right, even though we look skinny, we have muscles, besides, it’s just a suitcase, it’s not much.” The boy laughed, using a single hand to lift the suitcase.
On his first attempt, the suitcase would not budge from the cement. Obviously distracted, he was surprised at the strength of his two hands. This time, he finally was able to lift it and Zheng Wei and a few other boys noticed that he was walking slowly on purpose as they followed behind him.
Zheng Wei agreed with their suggestions, to first put away her dorm keys, then put the luggage away and pick a bed. That way, it wouldn’t be too late to slowly complete the more complicated tasks. Just after walking a few steps she saw a “Architecture and Civil Engineering” sign.
After just finding the general organization place, she was about to walk over, the male students said, “No problem, we are also part of the architecture and civil engineering department like you.”
Next to the welcoming committee were some male students who saw them.
While laughing and making faces they said, “Leader, your luck isn’t bad, what department is that little sister in?”
Apparently, the acne faced boy was their leader. He scratched his forehead, laughing.
“Our junior classmate of the civil engineering division.”
When his voice stopped, some of the other students started yelling, “Leader, you’re way too cool. Just now, four or five environmental engineering students came up after they left the bus. They had a long while to take in the sights, staying at the side of the road, while being ignored. But our civil engineering classmate didn’t get to take in the sights at all. You just went to go grab her first…”
“We’re all the same, all the same, we are all engineering students, and everyone is family, no discriminations.” The leader replied.
Zheng Wei laughed quietly, using her hand to continue fanning, pretending that she couldn’t hear the boys arguing. This time, maintaining appropriate silence was a smart girl’s best choice.
The leader’s “family” theory got the upper hand, and he successfully earned the fruits of victory. As they headed towards the dormitory, some boys started to talk over each other, trying to figure out the origin of her last name, as they seized the chance to offer a self-introduction to her. The leader’s name was obviously Lao Zhang. The leader stopped and gave Zheng Wei a homemade namecard that had been prepared long ago. It had all the phone numbers of her dorm-mates on it, her blood type, and her hobbies on it. Zheng Wei took it and shoved it into her small purse, feeling admiration for her three senior classmates.
Frankly, it was a habit to be with her brothers and Zheng Wei’s first day of college felt unfamiliar. She had never been at the center of attention before. Although there were many people walking up and down the college campus roads, however, there were few girls. Though she had heard people talk about it before, only then, did she believe that she really had been one of the only girls in South China to get into the most famous engineering college. The ratio of male to female students was 9:1 respectively, so it was no wonder these boys kept talking about her all the time in such a way.
Few girls majored in science and technology, too many were more abstract; even if Zheng Wei wasn’t what you would call a beautiful maiden, and compared to her mom, there was a definite difference, her round face had a small pointed chin, her eyes were big and lively, her nose also delicate. But her skin, especially, was white and flawless. Even her mom recognized that this as the one feature where Zheng Wei surpassed her, even in her youth. Thus, having seen her reflection many times, she felt that she could count as a beautiful girl.
It was almost as if she was Qiong Lao’s book’s main character. Even if Qiong Lao’s books were outdated by a few years, she was still timeless. Just comparing the characters from her series on who was more famous made it seem obvious, but she had to include a sentence of criticism from Lin Jing who had said that the times when she didn’t talk was equal to the times when she was confused, nicknaming her “Timid Girl” in those times. Of course, Zheng Wei left out his second phrase of the evaluation: “Agile Rabbit” , which completely demonstrated the tangible relationship between them.
Thus, Zheng Wei walked behind the leader, noting the panting boy who was lugging her suitcase beside her, laughing silently. It looked like entering the engineering college had a lot of benefits. Here, girls were all hailed as Marilyn Monroe. Good times were still ahead.
After receiving the keys from the lady from Dormitory Affairs, Zheng Wei smoothly found her dorm number 402, and pushed the door to go in. It was a small and simple six person room. It was a bit narrow, but was equipped with a balcony and had a bathroom. She wasn’t picky about the dorm room, and looked around again. Of the six beds, three already been taken. It looked like she was the fourth person to arrive. She heard the lady from Dorm Affairs say that she could not live in the place where she had wanted to because there weren’t enough dorms, so they couldn’t put her there. Thus, she chose the bed that was closest to the bathroom. From today onwards, she would live here. Looking around, she found that the guys who had helped her previously were still waiting for her. Among them, the guy who had worked the hardest was covered in sweat, which made him look like he had just bathed.
Her mom had told her before she left the house that she had to be sweet, so she put on a smiling face and thanked her senior classmates.
They seemed to have a happier mood afterwards and the leader waved his hand flippantly, “This isn’t that big of a deal.”
His cool attitude almost made her forget he had come all the way to her dorm without even carrying anything.
The boys who carried the suitcases on the way to enroll breathlessly asked, “Can you please tell me what you put in your suitcases?”
Zheng Wei gave a big laugh, “My whole house.”
There were many students still enrolling. Luckily, the leader knew the campus grounds very well and led her through the campus without needing to wait in line. After walking around for a couple of minutes after finishing, the leader sat down under the shade of a tree and complained about the heat.
Zheng Wei had originally thought herself to be a typical Southerner, however, after coming to this subtropical city, she found that her hometown had a cooler and more pleasant climate. But it was of no matter, it could basically be said that getting to come to this university, she had fulfilled one of her dreams, as she had always wanted to come here. In her heart, she yelled, “I have finally come, Lin Jing!”