The first fight of my life was in the forest of my Thai refugee camp. It was hot, so hot, and we battled for three minutes in the first round of our bout. Countless punches struck my stomach. My father sat under the tree and watched.
My father severed his leg when he was in the Karen military in Thailand. He and his friend, Saw Dae, relied on each other to get through intense days as guerilla fighters. After years serving Karen National Union, my father was promoted to sergeant. Saw Dae was filled with jealousy and misanthropy. Driven by his hatred, Saw Dae planted a landmine on the path where my dad walked every evening back to his bunker. After my father was done patrolling the base, without any awareness of Saw Dae’s nefarious plotting, my father stepped on that landmine. His leg was gone.
A few years later, when I was 6 years old, on a sunny day while we were in a Thai refugee camp, my father took three of my friends and me hunting. During the hunt, my father wanted to teach my friend Koke and me a lesson by having us box. This was my first fight. I had my head down during the first round and was scared to fight back. Before the second and last round, my father told me, “The only way to get through the most difficult moment of your life is to lift your head up and fight your way through.” I took my father’s advice and fought better in the second half with my head up.
It took me six years to understand my father’s actions and words meant. My father wants me to depend on myself, create my own path, and focus on my dream. I hope my story and experiences can bring inspiration to others. I want to help those who need assistance by going into the medical field.
Through determination and persistently pursuing my dream, I’ve been able to apply countless lessons from my father. I am grateful for him passing his knowledge on to me. I learned how to be independent, self-sufficient and that I can overcome any hardship. My fight with Koke is not the last battle I will have in my life, and my father’s lessons will help lift my head and overcome them all.