I am extremely grateful for all that my mother has sacrificed for my sister and me to give us the life she never had: one that is full of opportunities and devoid of hardships.
Tell us about how your mother inspires you. (妳的母親／女兒如何激勵妳?)
In 1983, my father left for the United States to start his graduate school program shortly before my first birthday. My mother remained in Taiwan, and for the next three years, she worked two jobs to pay for my father’s tuition and to provide for my sister and me. My parents wanted my sister and me to have the opportunities they missed when they were growing up and to not be subjected to the same hardships they had to endure, so our family immigrated to the United States in 1986. It was a big transition for my mother. She gave up her stable career as a teacher, and she had to bid farewell to all her friends and family in Taiwan. In the beginning we had very little money and depended on welfare handouts from my pre-school. I remember for five years, my mother bought no new clothes, and she slept on a flimsy mattress with no headboard, no box springs, and no bed frame. To provide for us, my mother took on many side-jobs since she could not obtain a full-time job without a work visa. Now that we are financially stable, my mother still lives very frugally, so she can give generously to those that are less fortunate. She is involved with various local non-profit organizations in our community, both through volunteering and donating to worthy causes. In addition, my mother sponsored two of my cousins in Brazil to attend college, and supported two children going to high school in rural China through the Peach Foundation.
My mother is such an inspiration and has played an integral role in shaping who I am today. She has taught me that the true meaning of success is not measured by a person’s wealth, but rather by a person’s heart, and this translates into giving back to others. She stresses the importance of philanthropy and has inspired me to donate both my time and money to causes I feel most passionate about. My mother has taught me by example the most valuable lesson in life and that is to live modestly, to act humbly, and to give generously.
What is one thing that you would like your mother to know? (有那件事是妳希望讓妳的母親／女兒知道的?)
I am extremely grateful for all that my mother has sacrificed for my sister and me to give us the life she never had: one that is full of opportunities and devoid of hardships. My mother has given up so much in life to ensure that we would never have to endure the same hardships she did. For example, my mother has worked at the same job for 20 years just so she could help pay for my sister and my college tuition. She commutes three hours every day to and from work and earns an hourly wage that is less than what I earned straight out of college. As a result, my sister and I do not have college loans or debt to stress about, unlike most of our peers.
On a recent mother-daughter trip to New York, my mother and I went shopping. I told her that I would pay for anything and everything she wants from the store. It absolutely broke my heart to see that my mother gravitated towards all the sale items, and that she would put things that were listed at retail price back on the rack. It made me realize that she is so used to saving every penny to provide for my sister and me, that her frugal ways are so deeply ingrained in her that it is still very apparent even 10 years after my sister and I graduated from college.
As Asians, we are taught to suppress our emotions, and as a result, I do not express my appreciation often. I know words will never amount to the gratitude I feel in my heart, but I would like to take this opportunity to tell my mother how special she is to me.
Mommy, THANK YOU for all that you do for our family and for me. I would not be where I am today without your love and support. I appreciate you so much, and I want you to know that everything you have sacrificed for Jie Jie and me has not been in vain. I don’t say this often enough, but I LOVE YOU!!!