Friday, February 22, 2008, 3:45 PM
This is the question that I had read in the Glamour magazine after having dinner with my family. I had wrote the answer to this question before and lost 2 hours for it and at the end it lost in the space.
What am I proudest in life? I'm proud of who I am, how and where I am from. My maternal Grandmother is an orphanage. She doesn't know or remember her parents even their name or the city where she was borned. My Grandmother is 85 yrs old now and lives in US under my aunt's care. She told me that when she was 8 years old, her parents died and she lived with her older sister, but she got abused by her sister physically. She said that they didn't have enough foods to eat, so my Grandmother left her sister to find foods at the bus station and she got lost. She couldn't find her way home, had lived on the street and begged for foods at age of eight. She pointed at my son and said "I was about that height" so, I just assumed that she was about eight since she did not know her exact birthday was. After a week wondering at the bus station, she met this couple, they asked about my Grandma and she said she didn't have a home to live. This couple brought Grandma back to big city (Saigon) where they let her live and use her as their little maid. Grandma said at that age, she knows how to clean and help the house chef cooking. When my Grandma turned to 18, she met my grandfather who was a nurse and worked for the doctor of that family. He got her pregnant in no time, and brought my Grandma back to his family. They got married but my Grandma had lived in hell with her parents in-law due to the pregnancy before marriage and her past history......My mother came from that pregnancy.
As the oldest daughter in 6 children, my mother did not even finnish Elementary school due to her family poverty. They didn't have enough money for foods even my Grandparents worked really hard and 18hrs/day in the farm was not enough. My mother finnished 5th grade and quitted school to become a tailor. She didn't have money to pay for the tuition of the tailoring school, so she had to babysit the children of her tailor master during the day time, and learned how to sew and practiced at night time while the children were sleeping. At the age of 16, my mother became a very popular tailor in the city. She has her own shop and teach others. Her name was spread thru out the city and her beauty had caught a lot of rich famillies. My father came from a well known bussiness family. My parternal Grandmother went to my mother shop and custom made her traditional dresses. She loved my mother's talent and beauty, and asked a match maker to come over to my mother's family asking for permission for my father to be wed with my mother. Of course my mother and father have no say in their marriage. My maternal Grandparents checked out my father's family and had agreed to their wedding plans. My father met my mother for the first time on their wedding night, and about a year after that there came...a little me.
I always remember their anniversary, only the year but not exact date. They have been married for 37 yrs and I'm 36. My mother is 20 years exactly older than I am. Is that strange, because I was married when I was about 20 too. Well, all my life, my mother is a very sensitive person, specially knowing that she's not educated well. I always be careful with what to say and how to say it to her. One thing that I've learned from my mother that she is a very polite person, no one knows that she didn't have education. She's a classy woman. Her goal in life was to get all her children to be educated and that why my family is here in US.
I came to US when I was 13 yrs old. I was in 8th grade and it was the first time that I learned English and of course other courses like any other kids in class. Dictionary was my bible. I didn't have play time at all like other kids. After school, I got homework done then I helped my mother to sew clothes. We used to work for a sweat shop. My mother doesn't have time to learn English. My father works as a Electrical Technician. My father refused to ask help from US government. A family of 5, we had lived in a one bedroom which my parents shared with other famillies. After I finnished my high school, my parents shaved enough money to purchase their first home. By that time, I got married and moved out.
I didn't know any English when I came in 8th grade. I graduated high school with 3.8 GPA, and the first year of college I got married to an Engineer guy who also just graduated and got a job and owned a house as well. My parents had asked my husband to support me through college at least a BS degree in order for him to marry me. My husband had accepted the deal. I got my BS and master in Biochem 6 yrs later then got pregnant. I've been married for 16 years and finally happily retired from a scientist position after 10 yrs in pharmaceutical industry.
When I look back to my family history, I am proud of my maternal Grandmother who came from a child slave, orphanage and illiterated. I am also proud of my mother who sacrisfied her childhood and educations to help and support her parents and siblings. She had raised 3 children successfully, one is a dentist, a pharmacist and a scientist. My maternal Grandmother and my mother had inspired me to be better of myself. I am proudest to have these two special women in my life.