On May 26, 2016, I became the first Chinese to speak at the history of Harvard’s graduation ceremony. From the small mountain village in Hunan to Boston, USA, I know that there is nothing unique compared to ordinary people. The only thing I can say is maybe my past hardship experience and my parents ’deeds, which made me understand very early that my fate must be controlled This simple truth.
In the early autumn of 2009, when the water chestnut matures, the dark green water chestnut leaves are covered with dew, which is very beautiful in the dim light of the morning. The folks weeding on the field rafters saw our family carrying their luggage and asked who would travel far. “My eldest son is going to the United States.” The mother was full of pride. For her, the United States was a country that had only been heard on TV news. “Son, I had a good time watching you and your brother rolling in fishing nets, thinking that you would fish for a living in the future. But I didn’t expect that you read the country and read the book.” The
mother smiled proudly and stayed in my memory forever in.
Growing up makes me curious about everything
Rural people often say that once they learn to farm, they will never worry about their own rice bowls. When my brother and I were four or five years old, I was taken to the field to do farm work with adults, which is very common in the village.
At that time, his father’s biggest dream was to become a “ten thousand yuan household.” Every winter, he will follow the other fishermen in the village to Hubei or Jiangxi to start a fishing life of up to 3 months. When the year closes, he will bring us some small gifts so that we can learn more about the outside world.
At the age of 6, the kitchen and pigpen of our old house collapsed in a heavy snowfall. The winter of that year seemed to me extremely cold and extraordinarily long. After the spring, we watched my father digging mud and burning bricks, and built a spacious red brick house little by little. In the days when the new house was newly built, the parents’ faces were full of smiles.
Since the age of 4, I went to the elementary school in the village-because my father felt that I was preventing them from doing farm work, and felt that as long as I could sit in the class, I was not required to learn anything in class. I’ve been sitting quietly in the corner of the classroom, and my grades in the first few years were not too good to keep up with the progress. However, I don’t know what the use of reading is. The culture level of the villagers is generally not high. With a high school diploma, they seem to be superior. No one tells me how reading can change my destiny. My dream then was to get a high school diploma.
Except for the textbooks issued by the school, I rarely read extracurricular books in elementary school. At the end of the third grade, I was admitted to the best high school in the county and had to live in a school close to 20 kilometers from home. That was the first time I walked out of the countryside, and the first time I really felt the gap between urban and rural areas, I didn’t even know how to use the flush toilet, and I was afraid of being laughed at when I spoke rustically. I always acted very carefully among my classmates at that time, for fear of being laughed at secretly, it took me almost a year to adapt.
As soon as I had time in high school for three years, I got into the pile of books. Taking the college entrance examination in 2005, I was accepted by the University of Science and Technology of China. When I was in college, I was curious about many fields outside of my major. I took poetry and poetry, and read “The Dream of Red Mansions”. These hobbies don’t seem to be related to my major. I just find it fun and it can be considered as a solution to the pain of science. And these literary interests gradually showed value: I felt that I had a little ink in my stomach when I was receiving people, and it taught me a lot of things, and also made me constantly understand what kind of person I am and what I want to be.
The curiosity cultivated by the experience of growing up in the countryside has helped me overcome many difficulties at different stages of growth, and has also allowed me to grow rapidly in new environments.
My mother taught me to be tenacious for my goals
In the 4 years of college, I have grown steadily, become more confident than before, and have more visions for the future. I began to explore and find what I want to do. After graduating from university in 2009, I received the highest honor of the undergraduate of the school, the Guo Moruo Scholarship, and received a letter of acceptance from Harvard’s Biology Department. I became the most knowledgeable in the village and the first person to study abroad.
Now I want to come. I went abroad to study at the age of 21 and my mother dropped out of school to support my family at the age of 10. There seems to be an invisible line between these two nodes of life.
At the age of 10, my mother decided to go fishing in other provinces. He didn’t know how to weave a net, and he didn’t have the money to buy a fishing net. His mother dropped out of school to study net-weaving at home. She learned fast and became the fastest girl in the village to weave the net in less than a year. Grandma simply suggested that her mother make nets to make money for her family, and her mother’s later life was connected with fishing nets.
I remember that the walls of the house were full of fishing nets and fishing lines. The fishing nets were piled up in the open spaces and beds of the house. Sometimes the mother and father slept directly in the newly woven fishing net.
Mother has a small goal every day: weaving 10,000 meshes. Ten thousand meshes can be woven to earn 4 yuan, 120 yuan a month, and more than 1,500 yuan a year. For the mother at the time, the number was almost a tempting fortune, and she felt energized for how hard and tired she was for this goal.
The sun shone in from the window on the east, and dragged the afterglow down the hillside in the gap of the door on the west. My mother was sitting next to the weaving net rack. Apart from eating, I hardly got up and moved around. Let my brother and I roll and sleep in the newly weaved fishing net as long as we didn’t cry. It’s getting dark, and she will light a candle until the last drop of oil is burned out, rubbing her sore eyes and preparing to leave.
I must have learned from my mother what is “toughness”. When I complained to my mother about too much homework, she would tell me: “I was in the fourth grade of elementary school when I was learning about weaving. I was very good at that time, and I got the first place in the school several times in the final exam. Son, you Would you also like to help me weave a fishing net? Or help your dad dry the millet on the floor? If you do n’t want to do homework, please help us, anyway, we are also short of staff. At that time, you will know, How easy it is to read. ”
In the impression, the mother seemed to have a magical ability to turn waste into treasure. Whenever I was in a embarrassed family and had a shortage of stationery, I dared not mention it to my father. I could only ask my mother. She could always find a way to find new stationery for me. For example, use an eraser to erase the book I wrote in pencil and let me reuse it; if it can’t be erased, let me use it as a draft. Or when I went shopping in town, I brought back a stack of old newspapers and let me practice or do arithmetic in the margins of the newspaper. She can also use the same simple things to the fullest extent. The wash basin can be used to pickle salted fresh fish, collect pig blood when killing pigs, store well water to be used, and use it as a bath tub in summer. Take a bath and even serve self-refined lard.
Half water chestnut passes mother endless love
I am going to study in the United States, and my mother looks very excited. I was the first person in the village to go abroad to study, and she felt radiant. She checked the suitcase for me and made sure that I brought all the things I should bring. I was forced to bring needles and threads, cloth shoes made by her, yellow loquat loquat smoked with old wood chips and chopped peppers at home … … I was impatient to quit, and even if she put the cloth shoes in her bag, I thought that I would not wear these rustic cloth shoes anyway.
On the day of leaving, the family sat in a car waiting for the village to enter the city after breakfast. The mother seemed to have something to say to me, but she said nothing. She unzipped the suitcase again, looked at it and closed it, then poured me a cup of warm water and handed it to me. I shook my head with a complaining tone and said, “You don’t have to do any work, why don’t you sit?” The mother put down the water and looked out at the village under the morning light.
The bus station in the village is very simple, except that a sign is erected on the side of the road and a deep canal is next to it. When the car dragged up the rising dust toward us, my mother moved her eyes to me. She wanted to laugh, but didn’t laugh, thinking that she would not see her son for a long time in the future, and she was a little sad.
The mother didn’t know what to say, and those emotional parting words were only seen in TV series. She clenched my hand clumsily, and I clearly felt her unnaturalness, intentionally said she was going to carry a bag, and she let go of her hand. Mother probably understood what I meant, so she bent over to help me with my bag.
Suddenly, my mother pointed at the water chestnut in the water channel and asked me: “Son, do you remember what water chestnut tastes? Now is the time to harvest water chestnut.”
”Of course I remember. The last time I ate water chestnut was before college. In a blink of an eye, it has been more than 4 years. “I smiled.
”Do you want to eat a few water chestnuts? The United States can’t.” “Wait for me, I’ll get a few.” Without saying anything, the mother ran down the luggage and ran towards the water canal. She lay on the ground, trying to catch the water chestnut leaves near the shore, but could not reach it. I want to stop her: “I’ll eat again next time.” My mother couldn’t hear me at all. I stood by the door of the car, watching the mother’s back pulling the water chestnut and said, “Mom, forget it, I’m getting in the car.”
Mother was anxious, she stood up, took off her shoes, grabbed the grass next to the canal, and A little bit slipped into the canal.
I heard the sound of “wow” and turned back in amazement. I saw my mother walking in the chest-shaped mud water, catching the mature water chestnut, tearing off the water chestnut leaves, washing in the water, and heading towards the shore. Throw it over.
”Son, pick up a few big ones and hurry up to the car. This driver is really anxious and is honking again. I’ll go home and change clothes later. Just pick up some water chestnuts and get in the car. ”
I stood beside the car with tears in my eyes, looking at my mother who was still laughing in the canal, I didn’t know what to say to my mother.
I want to tell my mother how much she loves her, but rural children rarely use the word “love”, even between mother and child. I picked up the water chestnut, wiped the mud on the water chestnut with my trousers, bite off the hard shell with my teeth, halved the water chestnut in half, immediately ran to my mother, handed it to her, and the mother stood in the water to pick it Taking a bite, I stood on the shore and bit the juiced half, and we laughed at each other with tears …