The other day, while I was spending some time working on an application for an arts scholarship, my dad told me how happy it makes him to see me working hard for my education. I asked him why, and he started going on about the story that I’ve heard a million times: the story of how he came to the USA from the Philippines to find work and a home for his future family.
After my parents met and fell in love in their high school in the Philippines, they soon married and dreamed of raising children in an environment that provided new opportunities. Although my father had already received his MD in the Philippines and could have settled down as a doctor, he stepped down and started his education all over again in the USA. With his limited English-speaking ability and complete change in culture, he courageously stepped into this new and scary world of opportunity.
Often, I am reminded of the opportunities that he opened not just for him, but for me as well. The only reason I could participate in an arts scholarship audition was because of the piano lessons that he started paying for and driving me to over a decade ago. Every night, he will come home from work and still cook dinner for the family. The clothes I am wearing right now and the computer I use to write this essay came from his hard work.
I have come to realize that the true meaning of a home is a family that cares for you and is a place of comfort. My dad realized this early on and didn’t want his family to grow in a place where it couldn’t thrive, so he moved to a smaller and better environment. The beauty of a home is not in the extravagance of an expensive house, but in the love that is nurtured in the hearts of all who inhabit it. It comes from the hard work that it took to support it. It welcomes all who need welcoming. Most of all, home is knowing that people love you enough to make sacrifices for you and that you would do the same.
In L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy Gale realizes the importance of a home as well. While her companions wanted important things like a heart, a brain, and courage, Dorothy’s simple wish was to return home. It’s scary to be away from those you love. In just a few months, I will be leaving to study at a university away from home to start my own journey. I can only hope to make decisions as wise as my father’s to create a home as beautiful as the one my parents so lovingly made and also to give back to my parents who have worked so hard to get me to where I am today.