1 As a young boy, Britain's great Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, attended a public school called Harrow. He was not a good student, and had he not been from a famous family, he probably would have been removed from the school for deviating from the rules. Thankfully, he did finish at Harrow and his errors there did not preclude him from going on to the university. He eventually had a premier army career whereby he was later elected prime minister. He achieved fame for his wit, wisdom, civic duty, and abundant courage in his refusal to surrender during the miserable dark days of World War II. His amazing determination helped motivate his entire nation and was an inspiration worldwide.
2 Toward the end of his period as prime minister, he was invited to address the patriotic young boys at his old school, Harrow. The headmaster said, "Young gentlemen, the greatest speaker of our time, will be here in a few days to address you, and you should obey whatever sound advice he may give you." The great day arrived. Sir Winston stood up, all five feet, five inches and 107 kilos of him, and gave this short, clear-cut speech: "Young men, never give up. Never give up! Never give up! Never, never, never, never!"
3 Personal history, educational opportunity, individual dilemmas — none of these can inhibit
a strong spirit committed to success. No task is too hard. No amount of preparation is too long or too difficult. Take the example of two of the most scholarly scientists of our age, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison. Both faced immense obstacles and extreme criticism. Both were called "slow to learn" and written off as idiots by their teachers. Thomas Edison ran away from school because his teacher whipped him repeatedly for asking too many questions. Einstein didn't speak fluently until he was almost nine years old and was such a poor student that some thought he was unable to learn. Yet both boys' parents believed in them. They worked intensely each day with their sons, and the boys learned to never bypass the long hours of hard work that they needed to succeed. In the end, both Einstein and Edison overcame their childhood persecution and went on to achieve magnificent discoveries that benefit the entire world today.
4 Consider also the heroic example of Abraham Lincoln, who faced substantial hardships, failures and repeated misfortunes in his lifetime. His background was certainly not glamorous. He was raised in a very poor family with only one year of formal education. He failed in business twice, suffered a nervous breakdown when his first love died suddenly and lost eight political elections. Later in life, he suffered profound grief over the tragic death of three of his four children. Yet his strong will was the spur that pushed him forward, strengthening his optimism, dedication and determination. It intensified and focused his efforts and enabled him to triumph over the overwhelming failures and profound difficulties in his life. A hundred years later, people from around the world commend Abraham Lincoln as the greatest American president of all time.
5 Just like Churchill and Lincoln, only those who "keep their eyes on the prize", those who uphold a committed and focused will and spirit, will find their endeavors successful. Many artists, statesmen, writers and inventors have had the same experience. They achieved prosperity because they possessed a fierce will to keep preparing and working and a passion to succeed. They attained success, not because it was easy, but because they had the will to overcome profound obstacles and to work diligently in the pursuit of their goals.
6 After growing up on a cattle ranch without running water or electricity, Sandra Day O'Connor fought to achieve the best education possible. Consistently graduating at the top of her class, she worked her way into Stanford Law School, where she graduated with honors. But despite all of her hard work, Sandra Day O'Connor was still a woman in the 1950s. Even with the prestige of her degree from Stanford, she was rejected from the entire law circuit as firms preferred to hire less qualified men rather than risk hiring a female lawyer, which was unprecedented. Yet Sandra Day O'Connor refused to give up on her dreams. Through sheer persistence she was eventually nominated and then appointed the first woman Supreme Court Justice of the United States of America. There, she acted as a crucial vote on issues like abortion and women's rights.
7 Many people simply say that they want something, but they do not expend the substantial effort required to achieve it. Many people let the threat of failure stop them from trying with all of their heart. The secret of success is based upon a burning inward desire — a robust, fierce will and focus — that fuels the determination to act, to keep preparing, to keep going even when we are tired and fail. As a wise saying goes: "It's not how many times you fall down that matters. It's how many times you get back up that makes success!"
8 Focus on becoming more knowledgeable. Focus on gradual, consistent progress. Maintain the strong will to keep going — even when you are tired and want to slack or the odds seem too large. "Keep your eyes on the prize!" "Where there's a will, there's a way!" With hard work, determination, dedication and preparation, you can transcend any handicap, accomplish any feat, and achieve success!
Swimming through fear
1 I was on a tour of France with my friends when our car pulled to a stop at the beach and we saw the Mediterranean Sea. Massive waves surged against large rocks that formed a waterproof jetty. People said this beach was known for its notorious rip currents. I shivered with fear. Nothing scared me as much as water.
2 Just the sight of the sea made me sick to my stomach.
3 I'd always loved water and been a good swimmer until last summer, when I'd decided to climb up to the highest diving board at the pool. I'd hopped from that height and hit the water with an incredible impact. The air was ousted from my lungs and I blacked out. The next thing I knew, my brother was pulling my feeble body out of the pool. From then on, my fear wouldn't recede; I was absolutely terrified of water.
4 "Jason, are you coming?" my friend, Matt, called.
5 "Yeah," I said. "Just enjoying the view," from dry land, I added silently, worried they might deem my fear pathetic if they knew.
6 Suddenly I heard shouting in French. A mob of people were running into the sea, fully clothed. That's odd, I thought.
7 I glimpsed something moving up and down amid the waves, past the end of the jetty. I gasped, realizing the catastrophe with horror. That's a little boy out there! The would-be rescuers fought against the tide, but the situation was bleak. With the water's tow, they'd never get to him in time.
8 I looked back at the boy. His head popped up, then a wave crashed over him and he disappeared for a moment; I had to intervene.
9 I appraised the situation and realized — the jetty! The boy was close to it; maybe I could help from there. I raced down the beach, out onto the jetty, and it hit me: Water! My palms got sweaty and my stomach felt sick, symptoms of my fear. I stopped short.
10 The people in the water had underestimated the waves and weren't making any progress.
I was the only one who saw that going out on the jetty was the fastest way to reach the drowning boy. Yet in the midst of this tragedy, I was extremely terrified. I tried to remember the lifeguard training I'd had as a teenager.
11 I was paralyzed with fear, but I forced myself to move forward with this impromptu rescue.
I don't want this. Surely someone else can save him before I have to.
12 At the ridge of the jetty, I whirled around, convinced I'd see an athletic swimmer plowing through the rough water toward the boy. To my dismay, no one was there. I turned back out to the sea to see the boy battered by vicious waves about 25 yards away from me. Sucking in a deep breath, I threw myself into the water. As soon as I jumped in, I felt like I was back in that pool, breathless, struggling, terrified. Salt stung my eyes. Focus, I shouted in my head. Where is he?
13 Then, with clarity, I saw a thin arm waving weakly a few yards away. I swam with all my strength, reaching the boy just as he sank below the surface. I grabbed his arm and pulled. He popped back up, eyes wide with terror, pawing and twisting against me. "Repose (Calm down)!" I commanded the boy in French. His struggling would derail any rescue attempt, and we'd both perish. "Repose!" I commanded again. Thankfully, this time he listened, and was still.
14 When I turned back toward shore a wave pounded over us. The jetty was further away! The rip current! It was forcibly dragging us out to the sea. I fought to get us back to land, but made little progress. I knew I'd never be able to escort him back like this.
15 Desperate to survive, I remembered what I'd learned in my life saving class: Never, ever swim against the rip current! Swim sideways to the pull of the current and slowly make your way back toward shore. It was an odd-looking but practicable solution. Swim sideways and float to rest. Swim sideways and float to rest. We did that over and over. We slowly made our way to safety. "Jason, you can do it!" I heard Matt say as he stood on the jetty. I hadn't even noticed how close we were, only about seven feet left to go.
16 And, as we made our way to safety I realized something incredible: I was no longer afraid. That absence of fear was a moment of triumph!
17 Matt jumped into the water. I tossed the boy to him. Just as I let go, a big wave picked him up and carried him all the way to Matt.
18 On the brink of collapse, I stopped fighting, just letting myself go. My hand hit the jetty. It was like an electric shock that brought me back to my senses. Someone grabbed for me.
19 I felt strong arms lift me. I ascended not only from the sea onto the secure rocks of the jetty — but also to my salvation, leaving behind the terrible fear that had gripped me for so long. I turned my head and saw the boy was hugged tightly by his mother. I looked out to the sea. Weary as I was, the water had never looked so beautiful.
Audrey Hepburn — A true angel in this world
1 Audrey Hepburn thrilled audiences with starring roles in noteworthy films like Breakfast at Tiffany's, Sabrina, Roman Holiday, My Fair Lady, War and Peace, and Always.
2 Despite her success in the film domain, the roles she most preferred portraying were not in movies. She was an exemplary mother to her two sons and a UNICEF (the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund) Ambassador of Goodwill serving victims in war-torn countries.
3 As a young girl during the Nazi occupation of her native Holland, Audrey Hepburn was aware of the brutality, death, and destruction of war. She was hungry and malnourished, as her family was bankrupted as a result of the invasion. Audrey's father abandoned the family, and two of her uncles were taken captive and killed. Audrey was grabbed off the street by Nazis and placed in line to be sent to a work camp. When the guards glanced away she darted off, barely escaping, and huddled in a cold, foul basement full of rats.
4 The little girl who would become the world's most magical actress began as an anonymous refugee confronting life's horrors and fragility firsthand. But she refused to allow her spirit to be afflicted by the desperate reality of her young life. Instead, she transcended those challenges but never forgot what it felt like to suffer, to be hungry, alone and helpless.
5 After the war, Audrey and her mother left Holland, arriving in London as poor immigrants. Her dream of becoming a prime dancer drove her into a rigorous schedule at a famous ballet school. Later, she was spotted by a producer and eventually landed a role in the film Roman Holiday starring Gregory Peck, one of Hollywood's top leading men.
6 Soon, Audrey was transformed from a malnourished immigrant to an internationally famous movie star. Director Billy Wilder complimented her, saying, "Audrey walked beautifully, she spoke beautifully." Although she won many Academy Awards and other honors for acting, Audrey felt that her most significant work was humanitarian work with those in need, and as the mother to her two sons. She suffered through two divorces and from her memories of the war. Yet, Audrey never let her sadness overcome her or jeopardize her hope for a brighter future. Audrey finally met her soul mate, Robert Wolders, and spent the last 12 years of her life with him.
7 Becoming famous never changed Audrey's generous and compassionate character. She felt
a deep sense of responsibility to alleviate suffering of those in need, especially children. Friends said Audrey had a complete lack of ego and accepted and appreciated others as they were.
8 Though she became very wealthy, she owned only one home in Switzerland. For Audrey it was a paradise where she could hide from the world with her beloved family, work in her garden and take long walks in nature.
9 In 1988, Audrey was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF designed to provide emergency food and healthcare to children suffering the destruction of war or other catastrophes. In that role, her lifelong passion for helping those in need, found its greatest calling.
10 She turned down three million dollars to pen her autobiography and instead accepted one dollar a year in the more conscientious role as diplomat for UNICEF. For seven months out of each of her last five years, she and Robby left the peace and beauty in their cozy home to embark on outreach trips into some of the most difficult places on earth. From Bangladesh, Sudan, India, Vietnam, Kenya, Ethiopia, Central and South America, to Somalia, Audrey Hepburn traveled representing UNICEF, making over 50 emotionally draining and physically
dangerous missions into bleak destinations to raise world awareness of wars and droughts. Having been a victim of war, she understood the blessing of being the beneficiary of food, clothing, and, most of all, hope.
11 Audrey felt it was wicked that billions of children were deprived of simple joys and drowned in overwhelming misery. She believed deeply in the ideology that all people share in the duty to care for those in need. Audrey Hepburn was always ready to lead by example. She said: "When you deny childhood, you deny life." She saw UNICEF's work as an integral, sacred force in people's lives and said of UNICEF's results, "Anyone who doesn't believe in miracles is not a realist."
12 In 1992, Audrey was stricken by cancer. She, Robby and her two sons returned to their home in Switzerland for their last Christmas together.
13 Audrey's long-time friend and world-famous French fashion designer, Hubert de Givenchy, spoke to his cherished friend for the last time, just before she died. He said she was "... serene at the end because she knew she had achieved everything with perfection".
14 Audrey Hepburn's passion for service was enduring. Even as her life ended at 63 years of age, she remained a gracious woman who perpetually signified simplicity, charity, charm and kindness.
15 The majesty of Audrey Hepburn's spirit of social responsibility and dedication lives on in her words: "Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it's at the end of your arm. As you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others." And "For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."
1 It's 4:15 in the morning, and my alarm clock has just stolen away a lovely dream. I almost return back to sleep before my eye catches my packed suitcase and I groan, remembering that I'm going to the airport. The taxi is late and then lost, and I'm getting increasingly nervous that I'll miss my flight. I run in when we arrive, stagger through security and finally get to my gate. After all the trouble of this morning, my flight is canceled and I'm stuck in this terminal for the next 218 minutes, and my only consolation is a cup of complimentary airport coffee. This is traveling, a burdensome series of running and waiting, and after countless hours, finally getting there.
2 Why do we travel? I don't mind the actual flying, the wonder of being airborne in a dense metal bird. The rest of the journey, however, can feel like a tedious lesson in the ills of modernity, from the predawn x-ray screening to the sad airport malls selling clusters of keepsakes. It's the result of a globalized world, and it sucks.
3 Sometimes, of course, we travel because we need to. Because in this digital age, there is still something important about the handshake at a business luncheon. Or eating mom's special food on Thanksgiving. Or seeing your girlfriend on your 2-year anniversary.
4 But most travel is decidedly optional. Only corporate travel, about 30% of trips over 50 miles, is truly compulsory. Instead, we travel because we want to, because the annoyances of the airport are offset by the thrill of being someplace new. Because work is stressful and our blood pressure is too high and we need a vacation somewhere tropical. Because home is boring. Because the flights are on sale. Because Paris is Paris.
5 Thanks to modern aviation, we can now move through space at an inhuman speed. For the first time in human history, we can outrun the sun and move from one hemisphere to another in a single day. Of course, it's not enough to simply get on a plane. If we want to realize the creative benefits of travel, then we have to re-think its overall purpose. Most people, after all, escape to Paris so they don't have to think about those troubles they left behind. But here's the irony: Our mind is most likely to solve our most stubborn problems while we are sitting in luxury in a Left Bank café. So, instead of contemplating that buttery dessert, we should be conscious of those domestic issues we just can't solve.
6 The larger lesson, though, is that our thoughts are saturated with the familiar. The brain is
a space of near infinite possibility, which means that it spends a lot of time and energy choosing what not to notice. As a result, creativity is traded away for efficiency; we think in finite, literal prose, not symbolic verse. A bit of distance, however, helps loosen the cognitive chains that imprison us, making it easier to mingle the new with the old; the mundane is grasped from a slightly more abstract perspective. According to research, the experience of an exotic culture endows us with a valuable open-mindedness, making it easier to realize that even a trivial thing can have multiple meanings. Consider the act of leaving food on the plate: In China, this is often seen as a compliment, a signal that the host has provided enough to eat. But in America the same act is a subtle insult, an indication that the food wasn't good enough to finish.
7 Such multicultural contrasts mean that seasoned travelers are open to ambiguity, willing to realize that there are decidedly different (and equally valid) ways of interpreting the world. This, in turn, allows them to expand the circumference of their "cognitive inputs" as they refuse to settle for their first answers and initial guesses.
8 Of course, this mental flexibility doesn't come from mere distance, a simple change in latitude and longitude. Instead, this renaissance of creativity appears to be a side effect of difference: We need to change cultures, to experience the disorienting diversity of human traditions. The same facets of foreign travel that are so confusing (Do I tip the waiter? Where is this train taking me?) turn out to have a lasting impact, making us more creative because we're less insular. We're reminded of all that we don't know, which is nearly everything; we're surprised by the constant stream of surprises. Even in this globalized age, we can still be amazed at all the earthly things that weren't included in the Let's Go guidebook and that certainly don't exist back home.
9 So, let's not pretend that travel doesn't have its drawbacks, or that we endure jet lag for pleasure. We don't spend 10 hours lost in the Louvre because we like it, and the view from the top of Machu Picchu probably doesn't make up for the trouble of lost luggage. (More often than not, I need a vacation after my vacation.) We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret cornerstones of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything. 当然，我们也并不是假装旅行没有缺点，或是说我们忍受飞行时差综合反应只是为了消遣。在卢浮宫我们迷路十个小时，那不是因为我们喜欢迷路。我们站在马丘比丘古城遗址顶端俯瞰的风景可能也并不能弥补我们丢失行李的麻烦。（通常，我在假期结束后还需要一个休假。）我们旅行是因为我们需要旅行，因为距离与差异是创造力的秘密基石。我们回家后，家还是那个家，但是我们的思维已经有所改变，而这就可以改变一切。
Will you be a worker or a laborer?
1 To be truly happy, a person must feel both free and important. People are never happy if they feel compelled by society to do work they do not enjoy, or if what they do enjoy is ignored by society as having no value or importance. In a society where slavery in the strict sense has been abolished, the social indications around work, the value of work and the salary, have degraded many laborers into modern slaves — "wage slaves".
2 People are considered laborers if their job has an adverse effect on them, yet they feel compelled to continue working by the necessity of conforming to societal expectations and
earning the revenue to support themselves and their families. The polar opposite of labor is play. When we play a game, we enjoy what we are doing, but it is a purely private pastime; society does not care when or whether we play.
3 Between labor and play stands work. People are labeled as workers if their personal interests coincide with the jobs society pays them to do; what is necessary labor from the point of view of society is voluntary play from the individual's personal point of view. Whether a job is to be designated as labor or work depends, not on the job itself, but on the tastes of the individual who undertakes it. The difference does not, for example, correlate with the difference between a manual and mental job or between jobs of low or high esteem; a gardener covered in dirt in a greenhouse may be a worker while a well-dressed city mayor may prove to be an unhappy laborer!
4 People's attitude toward their work determines everything. To workers, leisure means simply the hours they need to relax and rest in order to work efficiently. Workers are therefore more prone to dedicate more time to working, taking too little leisure rather than too much. To laborers, on the other hand, leisure means autonomy from compulsion, so it is natural for them to imagine that the fewer hours they have to spend laboring, and the more hours they have free for play, the better.
5 Besides the mere hours spent in leisure, workers and laborers differ in the amount of personal satisfaction they derive from their jobs. Workers who enjoy their jobs will be happier, less stressed, and generally more satisfied with their lives. They will also work with more diligence and precision because they have fostered a sense of personal pride in their jobs. On the other hand, laborers, whose sole incentive is earning their livelihood, feel that the time they spend on the daily grind is wasted and doesn't contribute to their happiness. Instead of valuing all 24 hours of their day as enjoyable and productive hours, they gauge only the time spent in leisure and play as meaningful. Unfortunately, laborers are all too commonplace, and only a small percentage of the population is in the lucky position of being workers.
6 In recent decades, technological innovation and the division of labor have caused major economic changes by eliminating the need for special strength or skill in many fields and have turned many paid occupations with enjoyable work into boring labor. Increasing productivity with automated machines, such as robots, has reduced the number of necessary laboring hours. It is possible to imagine an upcoming society in which the majority of the population will have almost as much leisure time as in earlier times was enjoyed by the medieval aristocracy. The medieval aristocrats had an abundance of leisure time but often wasted it in trivial pursuit of games and fashion. Likewise, modern-day laborers with too much leisure time may find it difficult to refrain from the addictive and trivial pursuits of celebrity gossip, extravagant fashion, and excessive video games and TV —similar bad habits that waste valuable time.
7 However, it's not necessary to take such a toxic attitude toward such a positive thing as leisure time. In fact, in many countries, people now use their leisure time to improve their minds and their working conditions to create a happier, more contented life. Lifelong learning can make the difference between being bored, unhappy laborers and workers who find meaning and joy in their employment and life. "Continuing education" or "experiential learning" can offer an array of classes from pleasant diversions such as sports, art classes or music to leadership development, advanced accounting skills, or CAD (computer-aided design), to name only a few.
8 Whatever the job, people who enjoy their work find time passes quickly. They hurl their passion into their work, be it physical like the work of a smith, or more mental like that of a scientist or an artist. Even purely mental work can suffice as an outlet, as aptly expressed by the phrase "sinking one's teeth into a problem".
9 Eventually, everyone has to find a job and earn a living. Laborers are slaving away at a job they don't enjoy for a small monetary reward, waiting all day until they go home and play. But while laborers are counting down the hours, workers are energized and focused, taking optimum pleasure in the task at hand. By choosing a job that is both useful to society and personally fulfilling, workers maintain a simultaneous sense of purpose and enthusiasm that improves their whole lives. So in the end, whatever job you choose, you must contend with this essential question: Will you be a laborer or a worker?
6 When winter comes, we stop running from the bombs so we can hide from the severe elements. Winter is but another season for those in normal conditions, but for the poor during wartime, winter is a disaster, a pervasive and constant threat. We find an apartment in the slums that provides a minimal coverage from the snow but we still can't afford to heat the furnace; we can't buy fuel nor risk stealing it. Death is the punishment for the robbery of coal or wood — human life is now worth next to nothing.
7 We have nothing to eat. My mother stands brooding at the window for hours; I can see her fixed stare. I can see other residents staring out into the street from many windows, as if they were waiting for something. I weave my way around the backyards with a gang of stray boys; it's something between play and searching for a scrap of anything edible.
8 One day we hear that they'll be giving out candy in a store near the warehouse. Immediately we make a long queue of cold and hungry children. We stand in the frost all night and the following day, huddled together to summon a bit of warmth. Finally, they open the store. But instead of candy, we are each granted an empty metal container that once held some fruit drops. Weak and stiff from the cold, yet at this moment happy, I carry my treasure home, guarding it jealously. It's valuable; the inside wall of the can still has a sugar residue. My mother heats some water and pours it into the can. We have a dilute, sweet drink: Our only nutrition for days.
9 I can't quite remember when or how the war ended for us; my mind is always drawn back to that first day in the meadow, the explosions destroying the peaceful flowers and the naive days of my childhood. Try as I might, I still can't understand what we could have done to justify all the suffering war inevitably inflicts.
Today, when I look back, I'm surprised that I recall the beginning so vividly; it's still clearly fixed in my mind with all its coloring and emotional intensity. It begins with my suddenly noticing 12 distant silver points in the clear brilliant sky filled with an unfamiliar abnormal hum. I'm seven years old, standing in a meadow, and staring at the points barely moving across the sky.
2 Suddenly, nearby, at the edge of the forest, there's the tremendous roar of bombs exploding. From my standpoint, I see gigantic fountains of earth spraying upward. I want to run toward this extraordinary spectacle; it terrorizes and fascinates me. I have not yet grown accustomed to war and can't relate into a single chain of causes and effects these airplanes, the roar of the bombs, the earth radiating out from the forest, and my seemingly inevitable death. Unable to conceive of the danger, I start running toward the forest, in the direction of the falling bombs. But a hand claws at me and tugs me to the ground. "Stay down," I hear my mother's trembling voice, "Don't move!" And I remember that my mother, pressing me to her, is saying something that I don't yet know exists, whose meaning I don't understand: That way is death. 突然，就在附近，森林的边缘，我听到有巨大的炸弹爆炸的声音。在我这个小孩的眼里，我看到的是泥土像巨大的喷泉一样冲到天上。我想跑过去看看这个特别的景象，它让我感到害怕，但是也让我着迷。我还没有习惯战争，也不能把这些飞机、炸弹的轰鸣、森林那边飞溅开来的泥土以及我看似必然的死亡联系成单一的因果关系。没考虑有危险，我开始朝着投下炸弹的森林方向跑。这时一只手拉住了我，把我拽倒在地上。“趴下来，”我听到母亲发抖的声音，“不要动!”我还记得母亲把我紧紧贴在她身边，说的一些东西我并不知道，也并不理解其含义: 那是一条死路。
3 It's night and I'm sleepy, but I'm not allowed to sleep. We have to evacuate the city and run away in the night like convicts. Where to, I don't know; but I do understand that flight has suddenly become some kind of higher necessity, some new form of life, because everyone is running away. All highways, roads, and even country paths are a tangle of wagons, carts, and bicycles, with bundles and suitcases, and innumerable terrified, helplessly wandering people. Some are running away to the east, others to the west, north, south; they run in circles, fall from profound fatigue, sleep for a moment, then begin anew their aimless journey. I clasp my younger sister's hand firmly in mine. We mustn't get lost, my mother warns; but even without her telling me, I sense that some form of dangerous evil has permeated the world.
4 I'm walking with my sister beside a wagon. It's a simple ladder wagon, lined with hay, and high up on the hay, on a cotton sheet, rests my grandfather. He can't move; he is paralyzed, another casualty of a landmine. When an air raid begins, the entire group dives into ditches; only my grandfather remains on the deserted road. He sees the airplanes flying at him, sees them violently dip and aim, sees the fire of ammunition, hears the roar of the engines passing over his head. When the planes disappear, we return to the wagon and my mother wipes the sweat from my grandfather's flushed face. Sometimes, there are air raids several times a day. After each one, sweat pours from my grandfather's tired face.
5 We're entering an increasingly appalling landscape. There's smoke on the horizon, the blaze of battle fading. We pass by deserted villages, solitary, burned-out houses. We pass battlefields dense with the garbage of abandoned war equipment, bombed-out railway stations, overturned cars. It smells of gunpowder, and of burning, decomposing meat after a massacre. Everywhere are the corpses of horses, too defenseless in this human war.
Surviving an economic crisis
1 The economic slump so many people suffered through originated in the United States, with
a regulatory failure of mortgages rated less risky than they turned out to be. As large numbers of homeowners proved unable to repay their loans, the companies that had the oversight and those that owned the loans (as well as their subsidiaries and their shareholders) lost sizable amounts of money. The effects of these drastic losses soon spiraled into the US jo
b market as layoffs and terminations. The rebound was slow in coming. Many people experienced long months of struggles just like the character in this story.
2 Facing tenant eviction after several months of unpaid rent, Sue Johnson packed up whatever she could fit into her two-door automobile and drove out of town.
3 She wound up at a motel, putting down the $260 she had managed to scrape together from friends and from selling her living room set. It was all the money Sue had left after her unemployment benefits had expired. She faced life as a migrant, a previously unimaginable situation for a woman who, not that long before, had held a corporate job in a large metropolitan city and was enrolled in a graduate business school.
4 Sue knew that in all likelihood, she would end up living in her car. She was part of a hard-luck group of jobless people who called themselves "99ers", because they had exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits that they could claim.
5 Long-term unemployment was at record levels, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Modest payments of unemployment benefits were a lifeline that enabled people who were out-of-work to maintain at least an appearance of normalcy, keeping a roof over their heads, putting gas in their cars, paying electric and phone bills.
6 Without the checks, people like Sue, who once was a director of client services at a technology company, began to tumble over the economic cliff. The last aspects of their former working-class or middle-class lives were gone, and all of them faced unsure futures. 一旦收不到失业救济支票，哪怕是像苏这样曾经贵为技术公司客服经理的人，也会日益跌入经济窘迫的深渊；原有工薪阶层或中产阶级的最后一抹荣光也已消逝不在，所有人都前途未卜。
7 When Sue received her last unemployment check, she felt a wave of profound grief. With no income to deposit, Sue's checking account deteriorated into negative balances. Her car was on the verge of being repossessed. And, the constant harassment of the financing company for her car loan added to her daily stress. Each day, like a ping pong ball, Sue went back and forth between resolve and despair.
8 It was a sickening plunge considering that only a short year and a half before, Sue was earning $56,000 a year at her old job, enjoyed vacationing in places like Mexico and the Caribbean, and had started business school at an excellent university.
9 Initially, Sue had tried to finish her university certification remotely, but finally dropped out because of the stress from her sinking finances. She applied for every possible job in the employment spectrum, from minimum-wage retail jobs to director positions.
10 Sue should have been evicted from her two-bedroom apartment for non-payment several months before she was, but, thankfully, the process was delayed by paperwork and bureaucracy. Eventually, the bureaucracy caught up with her and a municipal council gave her 10 days to leave her apartment for good. She had no choice but to comply.
11 That last day of her old life, Sue wept as she drove away. She wondered if she would ever again be able to reclaim that life of comfort and respect. Sue even considered turning the steering wheel of her car into a tree and ending her life story right there.
12 Friends came to her aid. One friend wired her $200 while she was driving away from her old apartment, enabling her to find refuge in a motel along the way. But Sue worried there wouldn't be any more charity for the money and gas she desperately needed.
13 Helped by gas cards donated by a church, Sue decided to return to her hometown. She figured the health-care safety net there was better, as well as the job market. She contacted a local shelter but learned there was a waiting list. Welfare was not an option, because she didn't have young children. And, Sue knew that none of her three adult sons were in a position to help her.
14 "I knew the only help I was going to get was from me myself," Sue said. "I thought to
myself: I have to take care of myself. I really, really need to get work. I need a job. I don't want to be seen as a parasite."
15 Sue's motel room was depressing. Lining the shelves underneath the television were her food supplies: rice and noodles that she mixed with water in the motel's ice bucket and heated up in a microwave; peanut butter and jelly; a loaf of white bread —the subsistence of a desperate person. Sue's days were spent surfing Internet job indexes, applying for jobs where the silent "No." "No." "No." gave way to a feeling of helplessness.
16 Sue had all new struggles and obstacles to deal with too, like what to do for an address for job applications. She worried about what would happen when her cell phone was cut off for non-payment, and calls to her number would disappear into an invisible world she could not reach.
17 Finally, an old friend sent Sue a ray of hope, a small miracle: $300 cash — just enough for another brutal week of struggle.