I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

I hope I will meet more and more people …

By Tenzin  |   From : Brooklyn, NY USA  |   School : (P2G) Pathways to Graduation@Marcy Avenue Education Complex/Hub & Referral Center

I was born in the country of Tibet in a state called Lithan.  I was born on December 29, 1997. In my family it was my mom, dad, me, and my sister came into the world in 2001.

Mom and dad thought that we could not get a good education in Tibet because of the political problems between Tibet and China, so we all moved to India in 2002 to my mother’s relatives’ house. I was five years old when we left Tibet. I still remember that day we escaped in the back of a truck because we had no permission to leave.

My relatives lived in a southern part of India, called Ooty. I don’t remember much from those days, but I recall that we were in the northern part of India and we had to travel to the southern part and my family remembers that it was hard. After reaching my relatives, my mom and dad started working in my relatives’ clothing store because we did not have legal papers.  Our parents and relatives managed as best they could, and did something to get us into school.

And then came a sudden shift: My mom and dad left to the United States for work in 2004. My sister and I stayed in India with my relatives. When we grew bigger, we went to boarding school, and our relatives often came to visit us. It was not that difficult to learn  Hindi because we started school from first grade. I studied in an English primary school where we spoke English, Hindi, and Tamil.

Later on, I moved to a different state in India (Hubli) to join my middle school and to learn Tibetan. I know how to speak Tibetan because I usually speak Tibetan at home but I did not know to read and write Tibetan. Because I did not know to read and write Tibetan, I was kept in the same class for two years. It was a very hard moment for me because everyone could read and write Tibetan, but I had started to learn to read and write in English.

Then in 2012, our mother came to visit us in India. I felt so excited and very happy when she came to India. We enjoyed and had lots of fun by visiting some tourist places in India and we talked and talked. But it was a matter of time. My mom just had 3 weeks for vacation and then she had to leave us and return to the United States. That day I felt so sad and lonely. But my mother told me that we are going to be together and then I felt better.

After my 5th grade, I again joined the same school in Ooty. I started at 6th grade and graduated 10th grade in the year 2014. By then my mom got citizenship in U.S. so we left school waiting for the immigration process. It took one and a half years to process our immigration papers. We missed 2 years of academic school. I was 16 years old and my sister was 13 years old. In those 2 years, I helped my relatives in business, since they owned a shop in India. I helped them in selling clothes, and my sister helped at home.

Then we got our VISA to United States and we arrived in New York City on March 2016. I was so happy to see my parents. That was my happiest day of my life. Still, I had to leave all my relatives and friends. That made me sad too because I was with them for many years. After reaching New York, we enjoyed a lot and were very happy because at last we are all together.

We went to the Department of Education to get some information about where and which school to join. They asked me my age. I said I was 18 years old. So they told me that I should join a GED program and get my high school diploma. They told my sister to join a high school.  I searched on the internet for the GED program which is nearest to my house and I came to know that P2G was my nearest GED program to my house. I immediately came the next day for the admission in school. Then in a few days I started school and I liked the school, students, and the teachers in the school. I know how to speak English but I got to change the way of speaking because we had learned the British way of speaking, not the American way.

Coming to the New York City, the first thing is to change the way of speaking and this helped me in school by speaking to my teachers and counselor. I can feel, day by day, that my English speaking is improving well. I have many friends in India but coming to this school, I have many friends from different countries. This helped me to know more and more about them, their culture, their language, etc. I speak 4 different languages now. I hope I will meet more and more people and learn their languages, too.

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