Sein’s and Than Than’s Story
(Sein and Than Than told me their story in tandem and I wrote it down as they told it to me. Ms. Sue)
Sein: I was born in Yengon, the capital of Burma. My mother died of heart problem when I was five. My father also died. I don't know cause. My aunt take care of me. She opened store and sold religious things, like Buddhas. Most Mon Burmese are Buddhists, 85-90%. I went to 9th grade only. Not finish high school. I quit to take care of my cousins all the day.
Than Than: I was also born in Yengon. I have a big brother. I went to school there and finished high school. My aunt take care of me a lot. In 2006 I went to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and got job in restaurant.
Sein: I go to Malaysia in 2007 in September. I work in restaurant. Every day I go to restaurant where Than Than works. I look at her. She look at me. She tell me I very ugly. I told her, "Beauty on outside not important." In 2009 we got married.
We applied in 2010 to come to America because not safe in Malaysia because we came there underground. No work permits. Police take our money. We went to UNHCR (a UN refugee agency). They ask a lot of questions. Why not go back to your country? They listened to our story.
We had a son in March 2013. We named him Kim. He could not go to school in Malaysia. He was born in Malaysia but not citizen.
We got to Fort Worth June 18, 2014, through World Relief. Caseworker said, "Everybody needs to work, not be lazy and stay home." My first job was cleaning job at AA. I made $8.75 for one hour. I only work there 3 months because it took 50 minutes to get to work. Next job was Omni Hotel. Not 40 hours, maybe 32 hours a week. I worked 6 months there. Then I worked at sushi restaurant from May 2015 to December 2017.
Than Than: In 2014 I worked at Thai restaurant 2 or 3 days a week. In 2015 I went to work at cell phone company and quit in 2016 when I got pregnant. Our daughter, Lamin, was born in February 2017. We bought a house in September 2017 because every year our lease at apartment went up. We like the area because it is safe and many Burmese families live in this neighborhood. In December Sein got a job at night as stocker at Walmart. In January 2018 I got government job at childcare agency. Sein is home in daytime, and I am home with children at night.
We remember when Ms. Sue and another lady from Southcliff brought us a welcome basket with food and other things. We know Ms. Sue loves us, and we love her. She stayed in touch and visited us when we moved from Fountains. She gave us baby blanket for Lamin she kept for 52 years from her son. I know it wasn't expensive, but it was valuable because of her heart. (Ms. Sue’s note: It was a blanket for a baby girl. I had kept it in case we had a daughter or granddaughter, but our family only had boys.)
As soon as we arrived, we went to ESL at Fountains clubhouse. In 2015 my friend told me about Southcliff ESL. My first teacher was Mr. Mike (Beard). He was so kind. I never forget one time it was raining and I had no car. I called Mr. Mike and told him, "Sorry I can't come." He said, "Can I pick you up?" He's not only good teacher. He has beautiful heart. My next teacher was Mrs. Darby (Gilliam). She's very nice. Last year Sein and I went to citizenship class. I had Mr. Mike again. I'm happy at ESL potluck time. We share not only food but culture. We thank Mr. John because he supports ESL or we wouldn't have ESL. He welcomes us. He loves God, and he loves us.
|Newcomers to America||Kim, Than Than, Sein, & Mr. Mike|
|Welcoming Baby Sister, Lamin, in Their Home||The Family in Their Own Home|