Alice Lieu, 3rd Place
I have always had a couple of goals in my life, but one goal that was hard to achieve was to try to not get angry at my parents. They were not strict parents (they were actually very nice) and gave me a good education and home. Sometimes though, my mom would get very grouchy from her work or just cranky, and get mad at me for very small reasons or no reason at all. I really despised the feeling of getting angry at my mom, or the silence between each other for a long time after. So to try to prevent this, I made a goal. To achieve my goal of not getting angry at my parents, I would remind myself of what my mom had to go through before and after I was born.
My mom actually was born in Vietnam. She escaped Vietnam right during the tenth year anniversary of the North Vietnamese people taking over South Vietnam, and she was only eighteen years old then. She thought that if everybody was busy celebrating this holiday, the chance of having someone discover her sneaking out the borders of Vietnam would decrease. My mom went alone onto a very small boat for three days with sixty-two other people. She was very seasick and threw up all the little food and drink she had. Because of this, she almost died!! On the third day, the boat had a small crack, and water started to trickle in. Finally on the morning of the fourth day, a large Singapore ship came coincidentally and rescued all the people from the boat my mom was on.
The time before my mom escaped Vietnam, something terrible had happened to her hand. She was eleven years old at that time, and was cleaning up the machine that made sugarcane juice. The machine would crush the sugarcane, and then her mom would sell the juice that was produced. When she was cleaning the machine, the power of the machine went out, but the machine’s switch was still on. A few minutes later though, the power suddenly went back up, and so, the machine sucked her hand in. Luckily, her brother was there and turned the machine off before it would crush her whole arm. My mom’s hand was stuck in there for a couple of minutes before she was taken to the emergency room (She had fainted). Half of her hand had been injured, and three of her fingers had broken. Her left hand now could not close all the way into a fist. This injury was on the left hand, so my mom was lucky, since she was right-handed.
Another hardship my mom had to go through was when she had me. There was no one to help her cook, clean, and all the things pregnant women had to go through because at that same time, my grandpa had a stroke. Everyone was busy taking care and worrying over my grandpa at the hospital, and also, the people who would usually stay at home had to go and help my dad at his Chinese herb store, since my mom couldn’t work. My dad would always work late, and then the other family members would always visit my grandpa. Therefore my mom suffered a lot because there was no one helping her. For the first three months after she delivered me, she had a common problem. My mom would easily lose control/be high-tempered. Also, it was very difficult to take care of me because I was always sick, throwing up almost every day. It was hard for her during these times, having no one by her side.
I’m Catholic, and so is my mom. Catholic people have a list of rules they follow called the Ten Commandments. One of the rules that is expected of me to follow is to honor my parents. Being not mad at my parents goes in that rule, so that is another reason why I made the goal to not be upset at my parents when they get cranky or yell at me for things they thought I did wrong. Usually after I was mad at my mom, I would feel bad for being mad at her in the first place. And to accomplish this goal, I would try to recall all the sad and painful things my mom had to go through. Luckily, my dad didn’t have to go through that much as my mom, but I would still prefer to not ever be angry at my dad. I found this somewhat difficult to do, but usually it worked. I’m glad to have an objective of not being mad at my parents because they went through so much, and it’s just more fun liking them instead of being angry at them.