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留学文书共赏 || 别人家的大学申请文书(一)

《纽约时报》每年都在高三学生中公开征集关注金钱、工作或者阶层的大学申请文书。在今年海量投稿中,有几篇文书脱颖而出。今天文章里推送乔纳森阿巴比的申请文书。他来自明尼苏达州布莱恩市高中,计划就读于明尼苏达大学。

‘The professors' home was a telescope to how the other (more affluent) half lived’

“教授们的家是一架望远镜,可以观察富裕的另外一半人是如何生活。”

At age 6, I remember the light filled openness of the house, how the whir of my mother’s vacuum floated from room to room. At 9, I remember how I used to lounge on the couch and watch Disney cartoons on the sideways refrigerator of a TV implanted in a small cave in the wall. At 12, I remember family photographs of the Spanish countryside hanging in every room. At 14, I remember vacuuming each foot of carpet in the massive house and folding pastel shirts fresh out of the dryer.

六岁的时候,我记得阳光洒满房间,妈妈在用吸尘器打扫卫生,嗡嗡的声音从一个房间飘向另外一个房间。九岁的时候,我记得自己懒洋洋地躺在沙发上,观看迪斯尼动画片,电视机摆在侧放着的冰箱上,嵌在墙里的小洞中。十二岁的时候,我记得每间房子里都悬挂着在西班牙院子里拍摄的全家福。十四岁的时候,我记得用吸尘器打扫大房间里的每寸地毯,把从烘干机里刚刚取出的淡色衬衣叠得整整齐齐。

I loved the house. I loved the way the windows soaked the house with light, a sort of bleach against any gloom. I loved how I could always find a book or magazine on any flat surface.

我喜欢房子。我喜欢阳光透过窗户浸满房间,照亮每个阴暗的地方。我喜欢随处可以找到平放的书刊。

But the vacuum my mother used wasn’t ours. We never paid for cable. The photographs weren’t of my family. The carpet I vacuumed I only saw once a week, and the pastel shirts I folded I never wore. The house wasn’t mine. My mother was only the cleaning lady, and I helped.

然而,我们没有妈妈使用的吸尘器,我们从来不缴有线电视费,我们没有那张全家福,我用吸尘器清洁的地毯其实每周只能见到一次,我折叠得整整齐齐的淡色衬衣从来都没有穿过。那不是我家的房子。妈妈只是保洁员,而我是她的帮手。

My mother and father had come as refugees almost twenty years ago from the country of Moldova. My mother worked numerous odd jobs, but once I was born she decided she needed to do something different. She put an ad in the paper advertising house cleaning, and a couple, both professors, answered. They became her first client, and their house became the bedrock of our sustenance. Economic recessions came and went, but my mother returned every Monday, Friday and occasional Sunday.

近二十年前,我的爸爸妈妈,作为难民,从摩尔多瓦农村来到这里。妈妈打过很多零工。但我出生以后,她决定有必要改弦易辙。她在报纸上刊登房屋清洁的广告,然后有对教授夫妻做出回应。他们成为妈妈的第一家客户,他们的房屋也成为我们生计的基础。经济时好时坏,但妈妈在每周一、周五,偶尔也在周日,都要返回这里。

She spends her days in teal latex gloves, guiding a blue Hoover vacuum over what seems like miles of carpet. All the mirrors she’s cleaned could probably stack up to be a minor Philip Johnson skyscraper. This isn’t new for her. The vacuums and the gloves might be, but the work isn’t. In Moldova, her family grew gherkins and tomatoes. She spent countless hours kneeling in the dirt, growing her vegetables with the care that professors advise their protégés, with kindness and proactivity. Today, the fruits of her labor have been replaced with the suction of her vacuum.

妈妈整天带着青胶手套,握着蓝色胡佛牌吸尘器,清洁似乎有几英里长的地毯。她擦过的镜子叠起来,可能就像菲利普-约翰逊设计的小型摩天大厦一样高。这对妈妈来说并非新鲜事物。手套和吸尘器或许是,但工作却不是。早在摩尔多瓦,她娘家种植小黄瓜和西红柿。她就常常跪在土里,像教授们建议弟子们的那样,小心翼翼、无微不至、积极主动地种植她的蔬菜。现在,她劳动的果实变成了吸尘器的吸力。

The professors’ home was a telescope to how the other (more affluent) half lived. They were rarely ever home, so I saw their remnants: the lightly crinkled New York Times sprawled on the kitchen table, the overturned, half-opened books in their overflowing personal library, the TV consistently left on the National Geographic channel. I took these remnants as a celebrity-endorsed path to prosperity. I began to check out books from the school library and started reading the news religiously.

教授们的家是一架望远镜,可以观察富裕的另外一半人是如何生活。他们很少着家,所以我看到的是他们丢在房间里的东西:厨房桌子上平躺着微皱的《纽约时报》、汗牛充栋的私家书斋里倒放着半开的图书、电视机常常停留在《国家地理》频道。我把他们丢下的这些东西视为名人背书的成功之道。我开始从校图书馆借书,开始虔诚地阅读新闻。

Their home was a sanctuary for my dreams. It was there I, as a glasses-wearing computer nerd, read about a mythical place called Silicon Valley in Bloomberg Businessweek magazines. It was there, as a son of immigrants, that I read about a young senator named Barack Obama, the child of an immigrant, aspiring to be the president of the United States. The life that I saw through their home showed me that an immigrant could succeed in America, too. Work could be done with one’s hands and with one’s mind. It impressed on me a sort of social capital that I knew could be used in America. The professors left me the elements to their own success, and all my life I’ve been trying to make my own reaction.

教授们的家是我梦想的圣殿。在那里,我这个戴着眼镜的计算机迷,在《彭博商业周刊》上看到一个叫硅谷的神秘地方。在那里,我这个移民的儿子,读到年轻的参议员巴拉克-奥巴马——他也是移民的孩子——立志成为美国总统。我透过教授家看到的人生,向我展示移民也可以在美国取得成功。用手用脑是可以把工作做好的。这是我所知道的在美国可以利用的某种社会资本,这令我印象非常深刻。教授们给我留下他们自己成功的要素,而我将终生努力做出自己的回应。

Ultimately, the suction of the vacuum is what sustains my family. The squeal of her vacuum reminds me why I have the opportunity to drive my squealing car to school. I am where I am today because my mom put an enormous amount of labor into the formula of the American Dream. It’s her blue Hoover vacuums that hold up the framework of my life. Someday, I hope my diploma can hold up the framework of hers.

从根本上说,吸尘器的吸力是我家的生计。妈妈所用吸尘器的噪音,提醒我为什么自己有机会可以开着发出同样噪音的汽车去念书。我今天之所以能够走到这里,都是因为妈妈在美国梦的配方中付出大量劳动。正是她的蓝色胡佛牌吸尘器支撑起我的生活架构。有一天,我希望能够拿着自己的毕业证,支撑起她的生活架构。

 

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