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The Journey of Growing Up

05219 Li Mei Hui
Translated by Yao Hsu

Everyone’s growth story is full of joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness. Each individual journey often lets us bring back lots of memories, which are rich, colorful, fluctuating, and also continuously touch my heart.

I grew up in a small and poor village of Yunnan Province. There are five people in the family. We lived in a plain two-story farmhouse with grass covered roof, a small window, and simple outdated wooden furniture. At that time, my family was very poor and our life really struggled. My parents worked on the farm, but my father occasionally had to work part-time to subsidize the family and support three children to school.

In the six years of elementary school, my sister and I did not eat breakfast, and almost did not buy snacks. We only asked for money from our parents when we had to buy school supplies. This might cause me to have intermittent stomach problems ever since. At that time, I was so introverted that I hardly talked to my classmates and teachers. I also felt inferior and was afraid that others would look down on me, so I often consciously disguised and isolated myself. But since I worked very hard at school and had good grades, I successfully entered the junior high school. My sister also got into the high school at the same time.

After entering junior high school, there were more and more teachers and classmates of all kinds, and my confidence was getting weaker and weaker. I was more introverted and inferior than before. I hardly had any friend. I always went back and forth between school and home by myself every day. My elder sister has lived in school since she went to high school. Every time when she came home on weekends, she would occasionally enlighten me and helped me review my homework. We also helped our parents on the farm. At that time, although the family was struggling, we were more mature, and life was happier as long as family stayed together.

When I went to high school, my sister was also admitted to the university. This was supposed to be the happiest moment, but we faced a big problem: my parents couldn't support two of us at the same time. They planned to drop me out of school. When I heard the news, I felt very sad and was upset about my parents. My sister realized my frustration, so she told the parents that she would quit and let me go to school. All of a sudden, the family fell into an awkward and a conflict situation. Right at this difficult moment, my sister wrote to PEACH Foundation and fortunately they promised to help us financially, so my sister and I were lucky enough to be able to continue our dream.

I still remember clearly that in July 2006, which was my first summer vacation in high school, and was also one year after I joined PEACH, I first time met their volunteers. One of the volunteers, Grandpa Xu, who has been writing to me and encouraging me all the time since I entered high school, changed my whole life. The first time when I saw Grandpa Xu, I was very timid and shy. After a few days of being together at summer camp, I began to change a little. At the camp closing ceremony, my group presented a fashion show, which was my first time on the stage and was also the first time to show my courage and confidence.

In 2008, I entered Honghe College and started my university life. With the support of PEACH and the national scholarship, I relieved a lot of burden on my family. I also made some friends at college. Everyone got along very well, and I was very happy. I am a totally different person from who I was before. At the same time, my family has been through a lot of change, too. A new two-story house was built. It is spacious and bright. Everyone is so happy to come home during the holidays.

In 2009, my sister graduated from university and went home to become a middle school teacher. In 2011, I also graduated and taught at Salatuo Central Elementary School in Yuanyang County. In September 2013, I was transferred to Yuanyang County Kindergarten, where I have been working until now. In May 2015, I married to a high school teacher from Yuanyang. My elder sister has been married for a while and had children. My younger brother was in high school. Our whole family is now living a simple but very happy life!

 

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