I sailed for America, a land without curses or ghosts. By the time I landed, I was five years younger. Yet I felt so old.

This quotation comes from the end of LuLing’s narrative when she leaves China behind to move to the United States. It reveals both her hopes for her future and her tremendous sense of loss. Like many immigrants, LuLing pictures America as a new world and imagines it as a land of opportunity. She has, in fact, worked hard for years in order to join GaoLing there. Much of LuLing’s life and worldview has been shaped by a relationship to the past where previous generations still exert significant influence. Bad actions could have consequences for generations, and LuLing understands that many of the things which have impacted her life have been linked to events set in motion years earlier. Thus, LuLing hopes that by moving to a new place where no one will know her identity or history, she will be able to break free from the family cycle of tragedy and loss. However, the comment is ironic because LuLing will always carry her psychological trauma with her. She will never be able to forget or forgive herself for what happened to Precious Auntie. In fact, LuLing will end up longing for contact with her mother’s spirit and believing that she can receive messages transmitted through Ruth. When LuLing comments that she felt old, she hints at the way she has been indelibly shaped by the tragic events she has lived through. LuLing might hope that the move to America will bring a completely fresh start, but it is clear that the first part of her life will always impact her. Though she sails for California in an attempt to turn back time, her emotional pain will always make her feel “old” before her time.