NGUYEN - SAN DEIGO, California
Entered on November 14, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

In different stages of my life, I have had different answers for this question:” What is the greatest triumph of your life?”. When I was an elementary child, my answer was to have good grade at school. When I was a high school girl, I thought of entering one of the top universities in my country. When I was an undergraduate, “making a lot of money” would be always on the tip of my tongue. Becoming a graduate, I happily realize that I have always had the most significant triumph of my life since the very first day I existed in this world. Family, from the bottom of my heart, is the greatest triumph of my life.

I was born in an average but extremely happy family. When I was eleven, my family declined in wealth. My father no longer earned as much money as he had before and my mother got sick badly since she had worked so hard. My parents did not let us know that, they just tried their best in silence to support their three young children and they pretended as if there was nothing bad occurring to our family. Every meal of the day, we, the three young children, ate the same amount of food as we had done before without knowing that our parents hardly had any pieces of meat or fish, they just ate steamed rice only. This behavior may seem normal to my parents; however, to me it was very hard for me to recognize the bad situation of the family. The more I was aware of it, the more sympathetic I felt for my parents. Although it happened long time ago, my eyes are always flooded with tears whenever I recall this painful and moving experience.

When I was a third-year student, my health was declining rapidly and suspiciously. After serial health experiments, I was found to have pulmonary tuberculosis. And the disease was very serious at that time. I was asked to quit school to have a long treatment lasting at least six months. I told my parents that I both did not want my academic task to be disconnected and needed to receive special treatment immediately so that I could fulfill my student role and recover quickly from the illness. My parents were very worried about my health so it was not surprising that they refused to allow me to do so at first. However, they changed their mind later because they also did not want their beloved daughter to be in hospital for such a long time without them by her side. It was a very hard time for my parents and me to struggle with my disease. On the contrary, it was a very beautiful and holy period that I felt how much my parents love me. My father took his twenty-one-year-old daughter to school, sat on his motorcycle and wait to take her home. My mother, a housewife, always made some healthy food ready when I came home so that I could eat, even just a little, to feel better after a day at school. My parents repeated this every day during six months. The day that I completely recovered from my illness was also the day that I realized how older my parents were getting. Tears flooded my eyes but happiness sparkled in my parents’.

I hardly remember how many good as well as bad incidents that my family and I have experienced. However, there is always one thing staying deeply in my mind that my family is always by my side no matter what happens to me.