11166 Li XX,girl,9th grade
Translated by Laurice Shern
My hometown is located in a remote, mountainous area. I was born into a poor family – my ancestors had been humble farmers for many generations. Because my paternal grandfather is mentally handicapped, my paternal grandmother abandoned him when he was a young man. She moved out of town to form another household elsewhere and left behind her two children: my father and my aunt. Consequently my grandfather, aunt, and father were on their own from that time on.
When I was five, my family became penniless. Taking my three year old brother with them, my mother and father left to make a living for themselves. A year later, they returned. I was overjoyed! For a while, my mother stayed at home. But her feet were wrecked – my mother will always be a handicapped person! My young heart suddenly filled with anger. I hated the factory plant where my mother worked. If they had paid for my mother’s feet to be healed, my mother would have been able to live a healthy life – one without physical or mental pain.
A disability may not be a serious issue for the rich, but for the poor it is a devastating situation. I became sick a year later and my father had to borrow a lot of money for a doctor to treat me. Our family circumstances became less and less optimistic. During those years, our family did not have enough to eat and depended on others for food. My parents were afraid that I did not have enough to eat, so they sent me to my maternal grandmother’s house. My parents left home to work, even though my mother was sick. She looked much older than her age – as though she was forty to fifty years old. Her body was like a bag of bones.
Furthermore her injured foot couldn’t move, like a wooden puppet. I was incredibly sad because I was small and deeply loved her. I lived at my maternal grandmother’s house, where I continue to stay at to this day. People have scoffed and said: “You might as well change your last name to your mother’s! It’s as though the Lee family has raised you instead.” Hearing this, I don’t know whether I should feel grateful or sad, as my heart has mixed feelings. I want to go home, but what is the correct path for me to take? It is difficult to find my path in life and just as hard to pursue it.
During my second year at my grandmother’s house, I started elementary school. I didn’t understand anything in first grade, but starting from second grade I began to understand some skills important for my survival. People had laughed at me, insulting me by comparing me to a homeless person who wandered from place to place. I’d sworn to study harder, but at first my test scores weren’t good so I would cry in secret. Finally my hard work paid off and my performance improved something which I’ve continued to maintain.
As I grew older, I began to comprehend a greater deal. I learned that “poor people aren’t necessarily poor,” as we are more likely to work harder. I love learning even though I am not one of the best students. I’ve also come to cherish my education and what I’ve learned. I will not spare a single minute to let go of this opportunity.
I love my family. Each one of them lives a harsh life. They all need care and help, but I cannot do much for them besides spending time, saving money, and being studious for them. I am determined to not let any obstacle, no matter how challenging it may be, to interfere with my education.