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就算洗盘子,也要靠学习改变命运

  钱夹里的钱,我们会按货币单位、美元和美分、纸币和硬币分类整理。

  The money in our wallets is sorted by units of currency, dollars and cents, notes and COINS.

  但头脑里的钱却难整理得多,迷失在情绪波动、傲慢与羞耻、欣喜与绝望之中。

  But the money in your head is much harder to sort out, lost in mood swings, pride and shame, joy and despair.

  面对这些感受挺难的,所以人们不太谈论它们。把它们写下来就更难了。

  It's hard to deal with these feelings, so people don't talk about them much. It's even harder to write them down.

  六年前,我开始向高中毕业班学生征集关于金钱、工作、社会阶级或相关话题的入学申请文。我很快发现,我们显然能从他们的写作中学到很多,这期间他们和父母正准备做出或许是一生中最大的投资决定:多达30万美元的大学教育经费往哪花。

  Six years ago, I started asking high school seniors for essays on money, jobs, social class or related topics. It soon became clear that we could learn a lot from their writing as they and their parents prepared to make perhaps the biggest investment decision of their lives: where to spend as much as $300,000 on a college education.

  今年的五篇短文告诉我们,对于胆敢提笔去写的作者,金钱这个话题可以多么丰富。

  This year's five essays show how much money can be a rich topic for writers who dare to put pen to paper.

  一名管道工的女儿和一个着迷于垃圾车的小伙子干起了没几个同龄人想干的工作。一个洗碗工放学后半夜乘车回家,手里拿着学习卡片。在日渐老化的家具构成的环境中,一个家庭变得越来越小。多年来,明尼苏达的一个少女在一处旧避难所,为自己找到一个新的角色。

  The daughter of a plumber and a young man obsessed with garbage trucks have taken up jobs few of their peers want. A dishwasher came home from school in the middle of the night with a study card in his hand. In an environment of aging furniture, a family becomes smaller and smaller. For years, a Minnesota teenager found herself in a new role at an old shelter.

  洛杉矶

  Los Angeles,

  “刚出酒吧或参加完派对的人朝我递来惯常的目光,要么是因为辛苦工作一整晚后,我的衣服上发着恶臭,要么是我一边疯狂翻动学习卡片,一边低声自言自语。”

  People coming out of bars or parties give me their usual looks, either because my clothes stink after a long night of hard work, or because I'm talking to myself in a low voice as I frantically flip through my study CARDS.

  ——马克·伊塞·加西亚(Mark Isai Garcia)

  -- Mark Isai Garcia No more breaking the plate, understand?"

  “不能再打破盘子了,懂吗?”

  I didn't quite understand the broken English that popped out of his mouth, but his frown was the universal language. It was a Friday night outside in Little Tokyo, a family was enjoying a five-star meal at a restaurant, and a 14-year-old boy in the kitchen was washing their dishes.

  他嘴里蹦出的蹩脚英语我听不大明白,但他紧皱的眉头是通用的语言。那是在小东京(Little Tokyo)一个周五晚上,外面的餐厅里,一家家人享用着五星级大餐,后厨里的一个14岁男孩在洗他们的盘子。

  Wash the dishes by hand, soak them in disinfectant, put them in the machine, dry them, put them in their proper place, and then -- hopefully -- don't break one. But this evening, a China dish slipped through my soapy fingers and fell to the floor, breaking into five pieces. I tried to keep cool, but my face was still red and I was screaming, "why me! ?" As if the scream would restore the plate to its original state.

  先用手洗盘子,后把它们泡到消毒剂里,再把盘子放入机器、烘干,然后放到指定位置,接着再来——但愿别打破个把。但这个晚上,一只瓷盘子从我打了肥皂的指间滑了出去,掉到地上摔成了五瓣。我竭力保持冷静,脸却还是通红,心里在尖叫,“为什么是我!?”好像尖叫会让盘子恢复原状似的。

  The broken plate was just one of many worries I couldn't keep my mind off -- a midterm in U.S. history, a low calculus grade, an apartment clearance notice, trouble with my brother, and a dozen other relatively trivial but pressing concerns.

  破碎的盘子只是我头脑里不住按耐着的许多忧心事中的一件——先修课程(Advanced Placement)美国历史要期中考试,微积分成绩太低,收到住房清退通知,弟弟惹上了麻烦,还有十来件相对琐碎但也很紧迫的挂心事。

  For me, not calling in sick to clear my head and give myself some much-needed rest or time to study before exams. I have to help out. I shut up and went on working, using all the strength I had left. I know the pain of repressing emotions -- the salty, bitter taste of every drop of sweat, being lost in the background music, muscle pain.

  于我而言,没有打电话请病假整理下思绪一说,也没法给自己一些急需的休息,或在临考前腾出些时间学习。我得贴补家用。我闭上嘴,继续工作,用尽浑身所剩的所有力气。我深知压抑情绪之苦——每滴汗水又咸又苦的味道,忘我地沉浸在背景音乐里,肌肉疼痛是家常便饭。

  The night shift finally ended at 12 a.m. I took the bus home, took out my notes and started studying. People coming out of bars or parties give me their usual looks, either because my clothes stink after a night of hard work, or because I spend the middle of the night on the bus muttering to myself as I frantically flip study CARDS.

  晚班终于结束时已是半夜12点。我搭上了回家的公交,掏出笔记开始学习。刚从酒吧或派对出来的人朝我递来惯常的目光,要么是因为辛苦工作一整晚后,我的衣服上发着恶臭,要么是我大半夜在公交上一边疯狂翻动学习卡片,一边低声自言自语。

  I don't mind their stares at all. I'm used to it, just another set of speed bumps on my way to my goal. I'm tired of gang-waving hairpins, relatives with beer in their hands, or baba coming home late at night with work burns. Something had to change, and I knew it had to start with me. Fortunately, I also know that I have dedication, desire and perseverance in my bones. My grandfather was the first wave of Mexican immigrants to settle in Los Angeles. He later returned home to a small village in the rural state of oaxaca, carrying with him savings and the legend of the land of opportunity.

  我完全不介意他们的凝视。这些我也都习惯了,不过是我实现目标之路上的另一组减速带而已。我厌倦了亮出黑帮手势的发小,啤酒不离手的亲戚,或爸爸带着做工留下的烧伤深夜回家。必须做出点改变,而我知道,这种改变需要由我开始。  幸运的是,我也知道我骨子里有奉献、渴望和毅力。祖父是第一波在洛杉矶定居的墨西哥移民。他后来回了瓦哈卡州乡下小村子里的家,带着积蓄和这个机遇之邦的传说。

  His parents left oaxaca in their teens and began working night and day in Los Angeles as cooks and homemakers. From the corn fields of oaxaca to the restaurants and classrooms of Los Angeles, this kind of hard work has been passed down from generation to generation, allowing me to cope with school and work.

  父母十来岁便离开瓦哈卡州,开始在洛杉矶没日没夜地工作,做厨师和家政。从瓦哈卡州的玉米田到洛杉矶的餐馆再到教室,这种吃苦耐劳代代相传,让我得以从容应对学业和工作。

  In this evening, I walked into the house, inadvertently saw a let me happy accident: hard all day mother fell asleep when waiting for me to come home. I put the tip I got that night in her purse and turned off the TV.

  就在这个晚上,我走进家门,无意间看到了一个让我欣慰的意外:辛劳了一整天的母亲在等我回家时睡着了。我把当晚拿到的小费塞到她的钱夹里,关掉了电视。

  I stared at my brother and sister in their bedroom as they fell asleep in their sweet dreams. I yawned as they snorted and breathed slowly, and found myself exhausted. But it will be some time before I can rest with them. I have a paper due tomorrow morning, and Mr. Depaulo doesn't accept homework that isn't due on time.

  我凝视着卧室里沉入甜美梦乡的兄弟姐妹。看到他们轻轻打鼾、缓缓呼吸的样子,我禁不住打了个哈欠,这才发现自己已经筋疲力竭。可是,我要过会才能和他们一道休息。我还有篇作文明早要交,德保罗老师可不接受不按时交作业。

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