Immigrant parents gave daughter a different life
Life starts when first conceived, but life's journey isn't the same for all of us. Some of us lead lives that are easy, simple and without worries. Others constantly worry if they'll be able to eat, or even be able to provide for their family. As for me, I fall into a different category.
My parents and I are immigrants from Korea. Our family didn't speak a bit of English but my parents traveled more than 2,000 miles in hopes of a better life for us. I don't have any siblings, so my parents were overprotective and at the same time spoiled me. My dad worked to get a barber's license. Not being able to speak English, he took a minimum-wage job, then at night went to school to learn English to try to get his degree. Then he'd come home to us with a worn but bright smile to greet us after his hard day of frustration and confusion of being in this new land just for the hope to provide a better life for his family.
My mom was a bit more fortunate than he; she was able to find a job as a seamstress at a Korean company. She worked hard to make up for whatever my dad couldn't pay. She'd work more than eight hours a day for only $5 dollars, then come home to cook dinner for my dad, my grandma and myself. She never once complained and was always happy to comply with my grandma's wishes.
As for myself, I wasn't even able to speak English, and was constantly lonely because I knew no one, no playmates or anything. Luckily for me, my parents sent me to preschool with their hard-earned money. For them, my education and my happiness were everything.
In preschool, my mom would always pick me up from school and she'd carry me on her warm, soft, loving back all the way home. On certain days, she'd buy me ice cream on the way. There was an ice cream parlor run by a Korean family and I'd always have cookies 'n' cream, but mom wouldn't buy one for herself because it would be too much money. Now I don't think I even like cookies 'n' cream anymore. It just reminds me of those times and the selfishness. Once arriving home my mom would go straight to the kitchen to cook dinner while my grandma stayed in her bed watching TV.
By that time, my dad had gotten his license and had a better job working as a barber at Hickam Air Force Base, but still not being fluent in English caused him much trouble with the customers. But he never complained, not even once.
As time passed, I went to elementary school and made lots of friends to make up for the loneliness I always felt deep inside. My first-grade teacher realized that the reason I wasn't doing so well in class was because I didn't understand English. I didn't understand what meant what. So my teacher took special care of me, and then I went to ESLL. I was in that class until fourth grade, and by sixth grade I had made the honor roll. I had gotten that A in English.
I finally had a slight understanding of my surroundings, and as my future brightened up, so did my family's. As immigrants my parents worked hard to support me and now they have their own business. They never gave up and neither will I.
Jenny Son, age 16, is a senior at Moanalua High School.
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