We’ve all heard those stories about how our parents and our grandparents had to get up at 4 AM, milk the cows, pack baked potatoes into their pockets for lunch, and then trudge 5 miles to school through a foot of snow, uphill in both directions. Of course, I don’t really believe those stories. First of all, there is no snow on the ground for many months of the year unless you’re from an arctic region, which my parents and grandparents definitely weren’t. Second, I do believe that it runs contrary to the laws of physics for a path to be uphill in both directions. (I can also say with confidence that neither of my parents have been closer to a cow than buying a gallon of milk in the grocery store, so that whole cow-milking chore thing is obviously a tall tale.)
If my family had grown up in China, there might have been some truth to those stories about how difficult it was to get to school. In fact, if you’re from the Pili village in northwestern China, it is still a perilous trek to get to school. It takes the 80 students two days of hiking and mountain climbing to reach the school 125 miles away. On the way, they must cross 4 single-plank bridges and a 650 ft chain bridge. Wading through 4 freezing rivers is the “easy part.” Now that’s true dedication to education! I don’t want to hear any more complaining about the school bus ride, kids. You have it easy.