This is Success in the Making
You Heard It First from PaPa Al

I have written a litany of essays about Ti Ti. They started with her besting me at Scrabble. We are both first borns, which means that we are both competitive. After playing Scrabble for about an hour, which included more laughing than playing, she wanted to add up the score. I’ll never forget the expression on her face when she discovered that she beat me. She was ecstatic and said that she knew that she could beat me.

Four years later, I returned to Myanmar and visited my family. Ti Ti and I played Scrabble again. And again, Ti Ti beat me. She also showed me some of her magic tricks.

During winter break this past year, I returned to visit my family and go on our first family tour together. However, before touring, we went to an honors assembly, which honored the best student scholars of her high school. Ti Ti was presented with an award for being first in math in the entire Shan State.

While that honors assembly was exciting, Ti Ti was still in high school. She’d attend her classes, then go to the storage area of the school’s cafeteria and study.

Then Ti Ti would go home and have dinner. The rest of the evening was devoted to meeting with her tutors. When her school went on their winter break, our family went on our tour.

I returned to the States in early January and started teaching. On January 20, America confirmed its first case of the coronavirus. As of the end of September, America has more than 20% of confirmed cases in the world and more than 20% of deaths globally. America makes up 4.23% of the world’s population, but we account for 20% of the cases and deaths due to COVID-19. Our president, Donald the Dumb, is responsible for much of the COVID-19 situation in the States. Nevertheless, he said that is working on a plan, which he will announce in the next few months about how we should address this pandemic. He should have done that before it got to the States.

Myanmar has 3,803 confirmed classes and 53 deaths. When COVID-19 got to Myanmar, the government shutdown the country. To show you how well they are handling COVID-19, America’s population is six times larger than Myanmar’s. So, multiply Myanmar’s confirmed cases and deaths by six. They would have 22,818 confirmed cases compared to more than 7,000,000 Americans. Now, multiply 53 deaths by six. Myanmar would have 318 deaths compared to more than 205,500 Americans. Myanmar is a developing country, which beats America far worse than Ti Ti beat me in two games of Scrabble. Also, Donald the Dumb is not their president fortunately for them.

It has been nine months since I said my good-byes to Ti Ti and her family. Ti Ti has finished high school. On Monday, October 5, Ti Ti start at Gusto University. What has she been doing since I left? Studying.

And you might be wondering what Ti Ti is studying in these two photos before she goes off to Gusto University. Do you have any guesses?

Ti Ti is learning Japanese. Since I returned to the States, she goes online and takes classes that will help her…even before starting college.