Why I'm so Proud of My Smart, Selfless, Hardworking Dad

  1. He's 55 years old and is planning on getting his very first college degree!
    👏👏👏👏
  2. Growing up in China during the 60s and 70s, he was a great student- top of his class.
    Apparently every Asian parent says they were the top of their class, but I believe my dad on this one.
  3. But despite his scholarly achievements, the government wouldn't let him go to university.
  4. Why? Because of his grandfather's choices.
  5. My great grandfather fought in the Chinese Civil War (Dad said he was a general but I think he meant a lower ranking) on the Republican government's side. Against Mao Zedong's Communist uprising.
    His story's interesting enough to list about too, actually...
  6. Mao won, so my great gramps became an enemy of the state and spent some time in jail.
  7. But apparently that wasn't punishment enough. Because even though my grandpa was a soldier for Mao, my grandma entertained the troops, and my dad was even born on a military base, his patriotism was clearly lacking.
  8. He couldn't be trusted with a higher education. He still had to suffer for something that happened two generations ago.
  9. He told me this when I was about ten. I think I asked him why my parents emigrated and was surprised by the story and the anger.
  10. He did get to go to a "technical school" which I think is the equivalent of a trade school, but never got a degree.
    And that's where my parents met, so at least something good came of this.
  11. He also went to the University of Tennessee just a few years after coming to the US, but only took a few classes to work on his English.
    And, as I've just learned, he had a really rough time. Botany's not his strong suit.
  12. And now as I'm moving out, as they're selling the house and as they plan to close the restaurant in a few years, he wants the bachelor's he deserves.
  13. My dad has spent at least the last 25 years of his life as a chef. Working all day, six days a week, at our tiny little restaurant.
  14. And guess what? He hates cooking.
    The only time he's cooked at home was when my mom went to China by herself. I can't even remember anything he made.
  15. But he slaved away at a hot grill day in and day out because it's the only work he can do to support us. I can't imagine how intellectually stifled he's felt grilling chicken from 10 AM to 8 PM.
    Not that cooking can't be fulfilling work, but it's not fulfilling for my dad.
  16. Now my sister has a master's and I'm working on my bachelor's, all made possible by him.
    Now it's his turn!
  17. He's going to take some online classes at a community college first, then later he'll go to the university that I'm ironically transferring out of.
  18. Both my mom and I would like him to get a degree he could use, but he just wants the easiest one to get.
    No shame in that.
  19. But first he has to past the TOEFL test (which I'd think he wouldn't take because he's an American citizen, but he says he has to because English is his second language) and get a 61 out of 120.
  20. I think he can do it, although he thinks he'll get a zero on the essay. He does ask me to write things for him a lot, but his emails aren't bad at all!
  21. Wish this big dork luck! 🎉🎓🎉