Prompt#1 - Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations
Leaving everything I cherished in Thailand and starting on a new journey seemed to me like a terrible nightmare that should disappear when I wake up except for the fact that this one is the reality. Although I was born here in the United States, my mother took me back to Thailand and raised me there. I never knew that my blissful life in Thailand was slowly coming to its end as my whole life was already planned out by my mother since the day I came into the world. On July 8 2003 just three days before my twelfth birthday, I landed on this new land that I heard so much about from my mother called the United States of America.
As the youngest of four siblings, I was always being compared to them. In every mistake I made, my mother would say "Why can't you do it like your older brothers?" or "Your brothers would've done better." I have lived my childhood life by following my mother's order and my brothers' footsteps like a mindless robot. For being left-handed, I was forced to write with my right hand. I did everything as I was told. Predictably, coming to America was also her idea and I had no choice but to obey. Adjusting to the new lifestyle from a big house to a small apartment and switching to another culture was very difficult. Without the support of my siblings, my friends, and my father in Thailand, my oldest brother became the only person I could count on. He came to the U.S. around my age, but compared to me, he has led a much harder life. I began to view him as my role model. However, my opinion about my brother started to change. I finally figured out that I was on my own when I entered high school. My brother rarely helped me on my schoolwork because he believed I was old enough to manage it by myself. My mother, on the other hand, cannot support me directly since she barely understands and speaks English herself. In my junior year, my brother decided to rent out a new place in LA leaving my mother and I in this apartment. Although my brother graduated from CSULB several years ago, he still does not have a stable career. Recently, he has surprised us with more incredible news that shook the whole family. He is going back to Thailand. This means that he has given up on his American life and cowardly backs out from the struggle. After hearing this from him, I became even more determined in my life. I took back my words on following in his footsteps and decided to study harder in order to pursue a promising career that can take care of the family.
Without realizing it, I have become the one who understands my mother's hardships the most out of the four siblings. Living together with her for seventeen years, I can experience her hardships, pain, struggles, and feelings as if they are mine. Because of the language barrier and her limited education that was stopped at high school, she is unable to acquire a high-paying job or pursue a decent and stable career. Seeing my mother work six days a week from 10 in the morning until 10 at night in a Thai restaurant kitchen makes me cry inside. When she wishes to take a break from her work, a sense of responsibility keeps her going. But there is not much I can do for her except study hard and make her proud. My brother, sister, and I are fortunate enough that our mother has not given up on us. Alone, she barely holds down the family without the help of my father who stopped providing financial support to the family years ago.
"Your brother (second oldest) and you are the only ones who have the most capacity to succeed," said my mother. These words bring an enormous amount of pressure upon me. Deep down I know it is the truth and I trust her words. I cannot repeat the mistakes made by my mother and stop at high school nor become irresponsible like my father and my oldest brother. My dreams? "I will be a doctor" was some thing I would say ten years ago as I was told. Now that I grew older, I want to show my mother that I can choose my own path and become truly successful which means that I will have to the highest education and fulfill my father's role that he failed to accomplish.
Prompt#2 - Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you.
"Met Ta Tum Khum Jun Lok" or "Kindness holds up the world" is an old Thai phrase that was passed from my grandmother generation to my generation. I have lived my life exposed to countless number of selfish people and action. But I have never thought that my family members would be grouped with those people. Such disappointment has set my mind focused on only giving and being kind towards others to not become like them.
I have shown my kindness and generosity ever since I was a child. The money I have been saving from New Year and birthdays all went to my dog's medical fees instead of the new toys that would satisfy my personal desire. Although my mind and body may have gotten bigger and older over the years, my caring and kind character remains the same. Whenever I get a chance to, I would offer help not to just the family members and friends, but also strangers as well. I would be the first one who takes initiative to provide any support I can in places like city buses and classrooms. I have helped people carry their laundry baskets to the cars and unload their things to the cashier because I felt that it was the right thing to do. My friend once threw a trash on the floor and I picked it up as my friend asked me, "Why did you do that? They have janitors, you know?" I responded "Well, I just want to help them."
There is not a single hidden intention when I assist someone. I have always been taught to give without wanting the rewards. Seeing how rotten and selfish people have become these days, the only thing I can hope for is that my kind character would somehow influence their inner thoughts and encourage them to do the same.
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