Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Father...My Hero

As a kid, I really didn't have many memories of my dad.  And it's only because when we were in China, he was super busy with school.  You see, I was born in Northern China and at the time, my dad was still in school getting his Master's in Electrical Engineering.  Now in China, it is extremely difficult to test into a University, let alone continue into the Masters program during his time.  So he was constantly away from home, at school...studying.  When I turned 6, my dad came to the US for an opportunity to receive a Ph.D education from an University in Washington.  Two years later, my Mom and I followed on visitor visas, with the intent of returning to China close to when my Dad would graduate.

Then came the 1989 student demonstrations of Tiananmen Square.  Protected under then President Bush Sr., my family and I received residential statuses in the US.  We didn't have to return to China if we chose not to.  After Dad received his Ph.D, we moved to Seattle for better job opportunities.  But as expected, his education, although highly admired, resulted in him being over qualified in almost all the jobs he was interviewing for.  Faced with no job and a lack of income coming in, my Mom worked night and day in Chinese restaurants and was able to find my Dad a dishwasher position.

Prior to coming to the US, my Dad was a well known professor and author within his community.  While holding odd jobs like as a dishwasher in the US, he received multiple offers for him to return to China.  Offers like Dean of his University and Mayor of our city, which had a population of 7 million.  He turned all those offers down.  And why?  Growing up, I never understood this.  It was in my 20's when I realized that he chose to stay in the US for me.  After we received President Bush's grant, I immediately stopped my Chinese and math tutoring classes.  I've acclimated to the US culture and forgotten almost all of my written Chinese.  I can speak it, but reading and writing it was tough.  He knew if he was selfish and returned to China, I'd be left behind educationally.  And he wanted to make sure I succeeded in education like he did, and the opportunity of success is far higher in the US than China.

My parents were savers (to this day they refuse to spend more than $20 on a piece of clothing), so eventually they were able to save up enough money to buy a restaurant business in Seattle.  Through the years, my dad also got into stocks and when that tanked in 2001, he got into real estate.  Now my parents are both retired and living off of rental income!  My dad is a genius (literally, he tested in the 90th percentile on his IQ test) and a responsible man.  His one goal in life was to afford a comfortable life for his family, and he did more than that.  I'm definitely a Daddy's girl, and between him and my Mom, I'd say my personality is more like his.  All the sacrifices he's made for me, his only child, cannot all be told in this blog entry.  But today, I'd like to wish my Dad, and all the Dads out there, a great Father's Day.  Good Dads don't get recognized enough so here's to them!

Have a great Sunday all!


  1. Cindi, thank you so much for sharing this beautiful entry about your family. I found it very touching, as my own family story is very similar to yours. In fact, I bet our dads would get along. =)

  2. omg. Cindi you blog made me cry. I can *so* relate! We need to have coffee one day! (+ a trip to anthro ;) )

    thanks for sharing!

  3. Cindi - I was extrememely moved by this post about your father. It's so wonderful to read about his uncondidtional and unselfish love for you. He is the kind of parent I aspire to be for my children. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. Kathryn - Thank you! I'm sure your family also immigrated from here and started out with practically nothing as well, like a lot of parents their age. I bet our dads would get a long too!! Over some chinese rice wine?? :)

    Sammie - Awww I'm sorry this made you cry! Haha and I'd definitely love to have coffee one day. And of course, what meeting would be complete without a trip to Anthro!!!

    Aimee - You sound like an amazing mom and believe me, your kids will appreciate you when they grow up. Being a stay at home mom is one of the hardest things to do, but your kids will be closer to you because of it. :)