We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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Photo ofSan Aung

I grew up in Malaysia, but before Malaysia I was in Burma. We moved to Malaysia as refugees when I was six. Life was pretty good. We were having a good time, and we had everything we needed. We lived in  Malaysia for six years, and in those six years, I did anything I wanted to do, and didn’t always think about my actions. I would barely be home during the daytime and sometimes at nighttime too, because I was busy at the park or at my friend’s house playing video games. I didn’t really think about the consequences in life other than that life was good. Until one day in 2012, when my dad got into a car accident, which changed everything.  This happened on a Saturday night, when my dad left for work. Shortly after he left, we got a call saying that my dad got into a car accident. My mom left for the scene as soon as they hung up the phone, to see what happened and how bad the situation was. However, she was too late to the scene, as my dad was already in the hospital. My mom went to the hospital, and it took her another thirty minutes to find my dad. He was in really bad condition and the doctor said he wouldn’t wake up any time soon. We never gave up on my dad. He was in a coma for six months before he gained back consciousness. I’m just so glad the doctor never gave up on him and that we never gave up on him either.  While my dad was in a coma, we prayed every night and day. It was a really hard time for my family. My mom worked two jobs every day to support us. She was barely home to take care of us, so I had to take care of my brother and sister. At the time I was only nine or ten years old. Even after my dad was released from the hospital, he was still in really bad condition. He lost his memory and couldn’t talk because the doctor drilled a hole in his neck so that he could breathe right after the accident. Even though it was hard, the neck procedure saved his life, and I am glad we gave permission for it. When he got home, he was really skinny and couldn’t eat. In 2013, we were supposed to come to America, but because my dad got into the accident, we didn’t.  Over time he got better, and we eventually came to the United States in 2014. After we arrived in the U.S., everything changed again. My dad had to get another big surgery on both of his legs, so the first four to five months in the U.S., he couldn’t walk. This meant he couldn’t work, and my mom had to work again. I was in sixth grade and everyday life was really hard for me. I was so lucky to have good teachers. They helped me so much while I was going through a tough time. I had to do a lot of things at home like cooking, cleaning and sometimes feeding my baby brother. I wasn’t living the typical life of a American twelve-year-old.  This incident helped me realize how precious life is. Before the accident I was immature, but now I know how important family is. I used to be care- less about everything, but now I am more mature and proud of who I have become. I’m happy this happened in my life, as it has helped me realize who I am. Young people should spend as much time with their families as they can. Life is short, and people need to appreciate what they have and make the best of what they’ve got! 

© San Aung. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person’s teacher.