What I Learned from My Father

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My father came to the U.S. with $50 dollars in his pocket.  I grew up poor.  Very poor.  At my first party we gave a pencil… as a birthday present.  Because we were poor,  I learned never to take family and friends for granted.  And the value of loyalty.

I wrote the following letter to my Immigration professor on why I wanted to take her class (she was also my contracts professor):

“Both my parents were international students from China.  My dad came over in 1988 and my mom soon afterwards.  They came on a student visa from the University of Akron, Ohio.  In 1989, the Tiananmen shootings occurred: where the Chinese government shot its own students.  In response to this, President George Bush Sr. made easier the process for Chinese students in the U.S. to file for working permits in executive order 12711.  The order allowed my parents to support themselves financially in the U.S.  In 1992 Congress under Nancy Pelosi passed the Chinese Student Act of 1992 which allowed my parents to file for permanent residency in the U.S.

I hope to eventually do pro-bono immigration work after law school.  This is an area I feel that I can give a lot back.   My father is also a lawyer and he enjoys giving advice to new immigrants at the company he works at.”

My father sacrificed a lot to ensure my sister and I grew properly.  From forcing us to learn piano to making sure we volunteered as often as we could.  He went to law law school at night when he had a full time job.  He took multiple part time jobs including being a backyard farmer to support us.  That’s where I get my grit.

When you are poor you see the worst in people.  People take advantage of you… because they can.  However, you also see the best.  My father taught my sister and I to help people in need.   Pro-bono immigration work, tutoring, volunteering at animal shelters, playing piano at retirement homes… is how I spent my Saturdays/Sundays for the past 20 years.  I am grateful for everything my father has taught me.  Happy Father’s Day (a little belated).