于安的跨越:从福州副校长到美国生活

我是于安。是从福州长乐来的,我是三十八岁的时候那年来到美国。但是我在来美国之前, 我是在中国一个中心小学里面当副校长。那时候还兼任那个毕业班,我都是教这个毕业班的,所以那是每一个学年考试,考那个初中小学考初中啊,我班上都是考的都比较好。

我记得是在中国的时候,有一次刚刚恢复文革以后那个考试的时候呢,我第一次是在那个山区小学里面,在校长之间教毕业班的。我跟另外一个教数学的老师,跟我也是朋友一起教一个人,两个人合起来教一个毕业班,然后是做讲座,是怎样把山区的这个小孩子能够考上的重点中学重点校区。我还讲了自己的心得,怎么跟那个老师怎么配合把学生教好。但是当时的时候我是那个还是一般的小学的校长,然后自从那一次以后呢, 我说我那个名字,这时候在全县范围内基本上都是出名了。第二年,第三年几乎那个就被教育局提为这个中心小学的副校长, 负责管理业务教学的。

另外一点就是-我三十八岁来到美国以后,我是要做打砸到餐馆里面去打工。我们首先开始就是杂工,就是这个一些清洁卫生间的,还有那个切菜, 炒饭什么东西,就是餐馆里面所有最低等的,最起码的工大家都要做。但是我刚刚进去的时候,我第一天来到这个餐馆,记得第一次那个老板叫你这个,把那个这一包洋葱啊, 把那个皮把它剥掉。

这个我要一批一批第一个第一个洋葱进来,我不小心就切在一个这里就切一块。…因为在学校里面,当然是搞你那写字的,你突然间搞这个东西,我然后眼泪流下来,差不多要流下来了,然后那个老板就用一个胶布,把我这里缠的缠住以后,这样子还是继续做啊。不是说你这几天回去休息啊,你餐馆里面一个人胃炎,你不能不做, 还要做。做完以后这个那个,他说哎呀,你那个宿管,你还要做那个炒饭啊,还要做完。

那一天晚上回来以后,在被子上在流眼泪哎呀,我在暗暗地流眼泪呀。刚才哎呀,我这么辛苦,知道这么辛苦,不想来,为什么又来呀? 要是在家里是很舒服啊是吧? 现在家里很让我辛苦。那看到这个老板-他说每个月跟那个没有休息的,给我1000个人美元,我是看着美元,我想到一百块,相当于当时是八百多人民币。当时我在学校里面的当校长,当副校长的工资,这个还才是¥49.50毛,加到米贴才五十四块。​​我五十四块五好像还还算怎么样。唔…现在看着这个錢的份上,哎呀哎呀我说要做要做一定要做。那老板给我这么高的工资。当时一千的工资很高了,没有休息的,但是我一定要做,要尽我最大的努力去做。

另外一点是做我的零二零三年好像我去考美国公民的时候呢?在考公民之前的话,我是绿卡,那绿卡的话呢?因为我在中学,虽然也不在中国啊,虽然是有文化,但是毕竟是中文的,没有英文,就是只知道ABCD二十六个字母从ABC念起。当时我很用功的念,教会的几个小姐说哎呀,这个李先生,李叔叔啊这个这个很肯定啊,他原来不识字的.但现在这一步一步的从二十六个字母开始,慢慢的一个单词、一个一个短句慢慢的学着。然后这普通的餐馆的大门里面的用语, 还有日常生活的这个用语,

我基本上学了就是每个礼拜,有的时候都出来继续学。另外还和一些常用的这个比较粗简单的这个英语,这个课本啊,有的录音的,有的是当那个书本的,我就拿过来,拿到餐馆里面来。白天做工的时候,晚上回家的时候, 做完工以后,我去慢慢自己自学,有的单词不知道的时候就问问年轻人,所以是这样子,所以慢慢慢慢的之后,就然后慢慢的就学着一点粗粗粗的英语,那再后来我呢?在学一段时间以后,我请人家吧,他教你怎么考公民。他说把这个一百个考题,比如美国总统第一任总统,我们是在哪个州什么东西,这样子来一出出了一百个题目,这样子叫我们这样去念。

所以我一边在餐馆做工,一边晚上在念念念念熟了。我把这个一百道题目全部都把它记好了,所以平时这样子比如说这道题目,我这样子把题目按照下面答案这样子盖住。我说现在美国总统是什么?有英文回答,我自己考自己,一道一道一道的考,然后考到自己有把握了,然后就花了三百块还是五个百块五块钱的,然后拿着那个负责考题的辅导老师,他说你又保证了安排时间,然后是你一三年,好像五月份几号的时候,他们几个人就把我带到那个带到那个Long Island那边去考,然后去考的话,考了一次就通过了,考了美国公民。

Yu An’s Transition: From Vice-Principal in Fuzhou to Life in the U.S.

My name is Yu An.L . I’m from Chang Le in Fuzhou. I was 38 years old when I arrived in the United States. But back in China, I was the Vice-Principal of an elementary school. Back then, I concurrently held the position of Vice-Principal while also teaching the graduating class every year. When every school would take their middle school entrance exams, my graduating class would always score pretty well. 

I remember back in China, right after school exams resumed after the Cultural Revolution, me and another math teacher (who was one of my good friends) taught the graduating class together. We held a talk on how we could work together to help the students in our county score into the central middle school. Ever since then, my name became well known amongst students and teachers in the county. By my second and third year, I became the Vice-Principal of our region’s central primary school and was responsible for the other teachers. 

Another point is that I came to the United States at 38. I had to work at a restaurant. We started out as handymen: we cleaned the restaurant, we cleaned the bathrooms. Then we became the ones who cut the vegetables, fried the rice – the lowest workers at the restaurant. I remember the first day, my boss gave me a bag of onions and told me to peel off the skins. While I was cutting one layer after another, I accidentally cut off a piece of my finger. You know back at the school, I was working with words and characters. All of a sudden here, I was working with…these things. Tears started falling from my eyes. My boss came over and taped up the cut and told me to continue. “Someone else is out sick with gastritis. You can’t not work. You have to finish making the rice!” 

That night I went home and cried into my blankets. Why did I come here? God, if I knew it was this hard – I wouldn’t have come. I would have been so comfortable back at home, wouldn’t I? Now, home is so difficult. I looked at the money my boss gave me: 1,000 USD a month with no off days. I thought: $100 USD was equivalent to 800 RMB (at the time). In China, my salary as Vice-Principal was only 49.50 RMB with a small food stipend for lunch making it 54 RMB. This 54 RMB was paltry in comparison to a grand. Looking at this money, I thought: god I have to keep working. I absolutely have to work. 

Another point is that in 2003, I went to take my citizenship exam. Before I got my citizenship, I had a green card. Although I was educated, it was in China. And although I’m fully literate, I was in Chinese not English. All I knew were the 26 letters of the English alphabet. I was very diligent with reciting, and a few young ladies at the church would say, “Oh this Uncle Li is very hard-working! He originally did not know any English words. But now, beginning with 26 letters, he slowly learned a word, then short sentences.” Then I learned restaurant related terms, then everyday terms. I basically studied every day. I worked at the restaurant during the day and self-studied at night. If I didn’t know a word, I would ask a young person. After some time, I hired someone who taught me how to take the citizenship exam. We went over all 100 questions, like who was the first president, what is the capital of the state, etc, and memorized all of them. Then I started testing myself. When I was confident enough, I contacted the citizenship tutor and arranged an exam time, it was maybe May. A group of people took me to Long Island where my exam was. I took it once and passed – I got my U.S. citizenship. 

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