Monday, September 04, 2006

Yuhl-Sheem (8)

When Amy started high school, James started working at a hotel. Even though he was working, there still wasn't enough money. For extra money he delivered newspapers early in the morning. Later he found a better job at a luxury hotel but he had to work the graveyard shift. It was the only shift he could take that didn't require him to work Sundays; it also paid a little bit more money. He would leave for work around 10 p.m. and come back around 8 a.m. He would only be home for a little bit because he would leave to put in a few more hours at a school cafeteria. My husband works so many hard hours that it fills me with sorrow.

I couldn't sleep when my husband worked nights. It was too strange to sleep by myself. My daughters would take turns sleeping in my bed with me. I would lie in bed and think, “If only he had gone to school here his life wouldn't be so hard.” He is such a good, kind, and humble man. Even though we don't have money, God has blessed our family with love and happiness.

As Christen was about to go to college I decided that I needed to start working. I didn't want her to work while she was in school. She was going to Yale; I thought she should spend her time studying, not working. I also wanted money to pay back some money I had borrowed.

I was tired of not having money and not working. I didn’t know what kind of work I could do. I had little skills and didn’t like the idea of somebody ordering me around. Finally, I decided to do garment work for a while. The garment factory was in LA so the manager said I could take a sewing machine home and do my work at home. He said I could make $2,000 a month. So every weekend we would drive from San Diego to L.A. to pick up pieces and patterns. We would also drop off all the shirts that I had made. But I didn't even make $2,000 a month. I only made $800. I would get up at 5 in the morning and stop at midnight. Everyday. I only made $800 a month- about $30 a day. My back started to hurt and so did my shoulder. It ached so much. Even though it was hard work, I would have still done it for $2,000 a month. I went back and talked to the manager about my pay and how he had lied to me. He didn't care. He simply said, "Bring back your sewing machine." I did just that. People in the garment industry are crooks. They exploit people. Around that time I saw on the news that a group of Mexican women sued a factory owner. They won. I was so proud. It made my mah-uhm feel cleansed and refreshed.


Elle-Même said...

I'm loving this story. Can you explain what mah-uhm is though? It's been mentioned a few times, and I feel like it's a word I want to know.

Hui Jeong said...

i'm glad you like it! "mah-uhm" is like heart/soul

Hui Jeong said...

oh yeah and the title: "yuhl-sheem" "yuhl" is fever and "sheem" is heart. if you use it to describe someone's work ethic, you're basically saying they work feverishly hard.