It was a random afternoon in my 7th grade, I happened to be in the same room when someone played a pirated disc of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I don’t remember where it was or with whom I watched it, but I remember this pirated movie had the most ridiculous subtitle that nothing in the story made sense to me. I walked out of the room wondering why on earth so many people were obsessed with Harry Potter!
A few days later, I walked into a bookstore and saw some Harry Potter books on the bestseller shelf. Remembering how bizarre the movie was, I decided to read a few pages just to understand what was really going on. There I was, two hours later, sitting on the floor and up to my neck in this book. Thus began my Harry Potter journey.
In the next a few days I finished the first five books and started what seemed to be an eternity of waiting for the 6th. On top of that, I had to wait for an additional 6-12 months for the book to be translated into Chinese! Oh how could I ever allow that to happen?! So after the English version came out, I spent my entire summer break plowing through the 600-page book at the speed of half an hour per page. So many times I flipped through the brick-sized Oxford English-Chinese dictionary only to find that Oxford also doesn’t know what words like Dungbomb and Wizengamot mean.
This may sound a bit crazy but, had I never come across Harry Potter, I wouldn’t have put as much effort into learning English, I wouldn’t have made the determination to live more internationally (because people didn’t cue up at 6 am at the local bookstore for HP 7, which to the 16-year-old me, was a powerful indicator of how “backward” this place was and that almost made me cry out of anger). Then I probably wouldn’t have left China for college, wouldn’t have spent five amazing years in the US, let alone living my current nomadic life. I also wouldn’t have written some of the poems, nor would I have done the amazing things I did and met the amazing friends I met. Maybe I would never meet you if I didn’t read Harry Potter.
Maya Angelou said:”Your legacy is every life you’ve touched.” I know my life was touched by HP and J.K.Rowling. It opened me up to a magic world that is still so palpable, it helped me understand that life itself is magical and love is the root. And that whether you believe you can or you cannot, you are both right.