我的入籍故事

我就記得呢,個陣時係17年。因為個陣時啊Donald Trump上任,你唔係公民就唔可以領乜乜補助,所以就逼著我要去中華公所那裡填表。點知去到個度填表那個人,就是我做(工)那個阿婆個女。佢話:“你來尼度做咩啊?”。我就講佢聽咯。因為佢(每個星期)有一日幫人地填表申請入籍的嘛。冇辦法啦(當時還不能做中文入籍考試),就填啦。

填好曬個表,就寄…填好個表之後我冇寄去㗎,(隔了)十幾日先寄去。那寄出去之後冇幾耐佢就寄封信翻來俾我,咁又去打埋指模了喔。打完指模之後我個女話:“阿媽,你做咩仲唔去穩學校上課?”..那我就自己傻下傻下就走去麥街98號個度,睇下:咦,又有3樓又有6樓..哎呀,乜都好啦,直上6樓先啦。

咁(信息部的人)佢睇我個表,佢話:“哎呀!你做咩宜家先來啊?你已經打了指模了喔,你宜家先來?”… 咁個陣時冇辦法了,硬著頭皮都要去啦係嘛~死咯,個陣時候一邊做工一邊(上課)…一唔洗做工個日就要去上課,即係一朝頭早做工,下晝又要去上課咁。

(上課的時候)一開頭,真係尷尬到死。(老師)佢一開頭問我叫乜名,我緊識講啦係嘛?結果我仲串埋俾佢聽(告訴他拼法)。哇(結果)佢鬧鬼我,意思即係話:我都冇問你點串(拼)…個陣時你知呢,唔係個個老師都咁好態度的嘛。個個(老師)真係好麻煩,郁啲(動不動就)就好大聲。

我(本來)想不去的了,結果後來有個人呢,係福州人來的,香港來的,ta又識講廣東話。佢就靜靜雞,有陣時提問我唔識答,佢就靜靜雞講我聽。後面我就同佢講話我真係想唔學了、我想走了。佢就話:“唔好走啦,唔好走啦!你學就得㗎啦,因為我地都已經學左好耐啦,咁我地都係咁樣咋嘛~” 佢就話:“你唔好走啊,你有乜(需要)我俾你,乜問答題,我俾你抄(答案),咁你咪可以翻去讀佢咯”。

個陣時就逼死翻來(家裡)拗拗拗..一得閒又自己係度讀,讀完一輪之後又(繼續)…嗰啲歷史題又要寫喔,哎呀你話死唔死。哎講起來都真係,好慘的哈哈。咁冇辦法了,就用我孫嗰啲作業紙呢,好多背面係白色的嘛。然後我老公就幫我間好(撕成規整的形狀)曬,然後及住(訂起來),好似一個簿咁樣。咁就默,一百條歷史題…哎呀,唸住個陣時真係辛苦到死。

臨考試之前呢,好在仲,有陣時問下個女,有陣時自己關埋度門咁聽聽聽…咁後面個老師就問,個陣時我都答得幾順的!佢就同人講就話:“哇阿燕好定喔!”.. 我就話:哈?我話:“我唔定啊,我個心真係唔定啊哈哈哈”

至到考試個日,我真係好驚的..點解咁講:因為又啲人話一個西班牙人、一個黑人,好麻煩,專門就針對中國人的..佢地信息部的人緊係建議你穩律師咁啦。咁冇辦法啦,因為我冇(在信息部)填表,慳翻個百幾文啊嘛,就算啦,請就請啦~其實律師係幫唔到你㗎嘛。佢唔出得聲的,唔準講的嘛。

考試個日呢,我(見到)係個黑人都幾驚青的,佢係個女人來㗎。我就講俾個律師聽我好緊張。個律師後尾做手勢,即係叫我唔好緊張、唔好緊張咁樣…考完之後出來,都唔知道自己考唔考到㗎…後來出左來之後,個個老師同埋我一齊,佢話:“哎呀恭喜你啊~得左啦!”我(驚訝)話:“哈?真定假㗎!?”佢話“係啊!”

哎呀,你話死唔死真係..你知道啦我地個陣時就讀過6年書,邊識㗎英文..真係佢識我我唔識佢㗎嘛!真係覺得,(通過了)真係好鬼開心!

My Naturalization Story

I remember it was in the year ’17. With Donald Trump’s presidency, if you weren’t a citizen, you couldn’t receive certain benefits, so I was forced to go to the Chinese Community Center to fill out the forms. And who would have thought, the person helping with the forms was the daughter of the old lady I work with. She asked me, “What brings you here?” So, I told her why because she helped people with their citizenship applications once a week. There was no choice (back then we couldn’t take the citizenship test in Chinese), I had to fill it out.

After completing the forms, I didn’t send them right away. I mailed them after a few days. Not long after mailing them, I got a reply, and then it was time for fingerprinting. After that, my daughter said, “Mom, why haven’t you gone to the school for classes?” So, I foolishly went to 98 Mott Street. When I got there, I was confused whether to go to the 3rd or 6th floor… Anyway, I went up to the 6th floor first.

The staff looked at my form and said, “Why are you coming only now? You’ve already had your fingerprints taken, why come only now?” At that point, there was no turning back. I had to keep going – working during the day and attending classes. On days I didn’t work, I had to go to class; working in the morning and then off to school in the afternoon.

At first, it was quite embarrassing. When the teacher asked me my name, I could only speak it out, right? Then I spelled it out for them. I was berated for that because the teacher didn’t ask for the spelling… You know, not every teacher was nice back then. They were really troublesome and would raise their voice at the slightest thing.

I wanted to quit, but then there was this person from Fuzhou, from Hong Kong, who spoke Cantonese. He would whisper the answers to me when I didn’t know them. Later, I told him I really didn’t want to study anymore, I wanted to leave. He said, “Don’t go, don’t go! You can do it, we’ve all been learning for so long, we managed to do it, right?” He said, “Don’t go, whatever you need, I’ll give it to you, any Q&A, I’ll let you copy the answers so you can read them.”

So, I was forced to go back home and cram… I would read whenever I had free time and then… I had to write those history questions too, oh, it was like death. It was really tough, haha. I took my grandson’s homework papers, the ones with white on the back, and my husband helped me trim them neatly and staple them together like a notebook. So, I memorized a hundred history questions… Oh, thinking about it was really hard.

Before the exam, thankfully, sometimes I would ask my daughter, sometimes I’d shut myself in and listen… Then the teacher asked me, and I could answer quite smoothly! She said to everyone, “Wow, Ah Yan is so calm!” I was like, huh? I said, “I’m not calm, my heart is really not calm haha.”

On the day of the test, I was genuinely frightened… because some said a Spanish person, a Black person, they were troublesome, specifically targeting Chinese people… The staff always suggest you get a lawyer. But there was no choice, I didn’t fill out the forms at the information center, saved a bit of money, so whatever, let’s just hire one – actually, lawyers can’t help you much. They can’t speak out, they’re not allowed to.

On the test day, I saw the Black person was quite intimidating, it was a woman. I told the lawyer I was very nervous. The lawyer gestured at the end, meaning don’t be nervous, don’t be nervous… After finishing the test, I came out not knowing if I passed… Later, the teacher came out with me, saying, “Congratulations, you’ve passed!” I was shocked, “Really or not?!” She said “Yes!”

You can imagine, it was really scary… You know, back then we only had six years of education, how would we know English… It’s really like I knew “English”, but the “English” doesn’t know me! It was really a moment of sheer happiness!

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