Close to our departure time from Taipei, Taiwan, my aging grandfather in his screeching rocking chair called my brother and me over to his vicinity. I sensed the feeling of melancholy as our household of three-me, Edward, and my mother-were about to depart back to the United States after a rare visit back to our very own country; back to a life of economic precariousness. Edward and I dragged ourselves across the wooden floor and sat under his tense and emotional eyes. One minute of silence ensued as I witnessed my grandfather's eyes tearing up and heard my heart thump faster than ever.
My grandfather has always been the shadow guardian of our household of three. He acknowledges that ever since my birth, my parents have been in persistent search for a solidified economic settlement to enrich my brother and my childhood. Each and every day for thirty-something years, he would drag his slouched and fragile body down the roads of Taipei City in search for a lottery ticket that would bring magic to our household of three.
Before I was old enough to stay home alone and babysit my brother, my mom would thunder home after her arduous day of work at a busy video shop. She would often times bring home our favorite fresh KungPao Chicken with rice and broccoli soup, and other times just her stale leftovers from her lunch. Though not as fancy as the dinner of other families' in the Bellevue community, I cherish every square inch of it with all of my heart as I acknowledge this is the best my mother was able to bring home. Hoping that my mom would stay home and spend the night with Edward and me, my wishes were in vain as she left for a night shift of her second job. Seeing her shut the door behind her broke my spirits, and I resumed my tedious studies in my room.
Growing up in an affluent community such as that of Bellevue, I was surrounded by peers who lived fanciful lifestyles. Feeling low and unqualified, I would walk down the hallways of my school envying the lavish clothes and sophisticated cell phones they would possess while I had none of those. However, I was never fazed by my community's extravagance. I grasped tightly onto my values of education and success for the future to come. Though my childhood was accompanied by economic hardships and societal obstacles throughout, they in fact stimulated my willpower to stand-out and thrive in my community. I fought and fought and climbed up to rank 9 in our senior class. I am a recognized tennis athlete in the region, and I assume various leadership positions in my school and community. All of this I attained at an underprivileged status. But not everything stops here. The prospects of my educational and social future are well-shaped.
My grandfather finally lifted his lips and sorrowful words spilled out of his mouth. My ninety-year old grandfather communicated to us his potent hope for us to succeed and provide a more comfortable life for our exhausted mother. This message was more heart-felt as he mentions this as his wish before his imminent death. I enveloped his words and brought them back to Bellevue. Since then, I've perceived everyday-life as a step toward comfort and security in our lives. I have never stopped fighting and never will stop.
This past spring, my grandfather was lucky enough to visit us in the states. Seeing our animated family, he feels his wish approaching him. And I drew inspiration from his lively visit thinking that my goals are nearing. I hope to draw myself closer to the finish line through the prestigious schools in the state of California.