Growing up I can never rely getting help with homework from my mother. If it was project that deals with creativity, then that is when my mom can help. However, if it was something like calculus, I’m on my own. Unlike my father who was educated in Laos, my mother never received any education. She lost her father at an early age, and spent her childhood farming. Even this day, she still gardens after she comes back from work.
Oh, how I remember the day of my youth in the summer under the scorched sun helping my mom planting and cultivating. No wonder, I suffered from chronic back pain and exhaustion. And you would think with all the agriculture I’ve been doing for most of life I would have a green thumb, to only learned that I possessed a much rather black thumb.
Though my mom does not have any education, she is a hard worker. She knows basic vocabularies and phrases. In October of 2014, she finally obtained her US citizenship after vigorous month of studying. And she only took it one time. One time! Of course, I went with her and translated for her. There were days when studying became clown class because of mistranslation and we (my siblings and I) would get surprisingly confused at our own words or simply because the Easter Bunny would steal our brains.
There are also other Hmong people who would come to our house and my father would help them filled out all the immigration forms and give them resources to study and prepped for the citizenship test. They know English! They are fully capable of speaking in English. How I know? Well, simply because my siblings and I would speak to them in Hmong and they replied in English all the time. The only time they would speak in Hmong is when they’re talking to the elders or my parents. And oh boy, I’m glad that I have better Hmong than them. They would be asking my dad if they can get an interpreter, but they don’t qualify for one. Then they would be complaining and I would roll my eyes while I’m thinking “If my mother passed it, so can you. Just read the damn handbook.”
When I first started my first year of college, my parents were worried. Though I was smart I didn’t seem motivated and they were quite right about it. I was more laid back and I loved my naps. Plus, I was and still am the type of person who sometimes don’t stick to my words. So, they had every right to be worry. But, I will not forget what my mother told me at my high school graduation party: “Think of your education like a huge land filled with crops and weeds. If you start to remove the weeds in one area, but the next day decide to start another area and you say that you can finished the first area on another day. However, the next day you moved onto another area, and do the same the next day and the next day. When will you ever get done? Education is like that. If you get lazy and don’t finished what you have started, you’ll never accomplished anything.”