I had a long discussion with my dad today about religion, but I also got a touch of his childhood. As the discussion progressed, I came to the realization that I know nearly nothing about my father my whole life. This was one of the first times he actually spoke to me about his past in any sort of detail at all my whole life.
The only thing he would tell me as I grew up was that his father passed away when my dad was nine and that his father was an honest man. I still have much, much more to learn about my dad’s past, but the things he told me have made me so grateful to be born in America and to have such high hopes for a brighter future.
Today I found out that my grandfather went to college in the number one university in South Korea to study electricity, but he didn’t know a thing about light switches. My grandfather was a coal worker who participated in the strikes of 1987 that swept the nation off its feet. Unfortunately, he passed away nine years into my father’s life for reasons my dad has yet to tell me.
Following my grandfather’s death, my dad’s family had a really rough time, moving around the country and being dirt poor to the point where malnutrition became a health concern in his childhood. There were days when he would be out for a walk and he’d suddenly collapse on the spot due to intense stomach pains.
People would pass by, but no one ever helped him up. After lying on the ground for God knows how long, he would rush back to the house to poop, only to find his efforts futile. He couldn’t afford a doctor and his mother was too busy trying to make ends meet. On top of that, he had two older sisters and, later, two older step-sisters. He attended college in Korea, where he started to form his smoking and drinking habits, which he still carries to this day.
Despite having friends who all started smoking and drinking in high school, he was always the one who stayed clean. I guess college changed him. (On the bright side, he promised me that he would quit smoking starting January of 2015. I told him that if he continues to smoke, that I would start smoking too. Wish him luck! )
In his twenties, he moved to the states with his mother in hopes of a better life. I guess he moved to the wrong part of America though because he had a lot of trouble with the people he interacted with everyday and a colossal language barrier that prevented him from truly appreciating life in the states. He told me that he didn’t truly get the opportunity to live a normal life due to having to work long hours every single day just to get by.
When he was thirty, he had me. A little bundle of hope that would be raised to live a life nothing like the one that my dad had to live. So why am I writing all of this? I honestly do not know. But if there’s one thing I’m damn sure of, it’s that I want to make sure my dad’s efforts aren’t in vain.
My whole life I’ve been careless and a bit too relaxed about everything. I failed through middle school and I got suspended a grand total of four times. I had the same work ethic in high school, but I managed to get by with a 3. 7 GPA. My SAT score was a lifesaver in getting me into NYU, the school that I am currently attending. But even now, I feel as unmotivated and carefree as I was in middle school and high school.
I volunteer every opportunity I can with children. Before today, they were the sole reason that I truly found a passion and enjoyment in life. But now, all I can think of is becoming a pediatrician in the future. I don’t want any child to live as my dad did when he was a child. I want all children to have the same opportunities that my dad has worked so hard to provide for me. My goal is now med school. It may seem unrealistic for a guy with my personality, but I want to make a difference in my life and my dad’s life. I have decided to start hitting the books and to work as hard as I physically can to achieve these dreams. POWERED BY TCPDF (WWW. TCPDF. ORG)
Courtney from Study Moose