Personal Perspective: Angela Liu

When I was little, I thought my parents had the answers to all of my questions, like most kids do. As I’ve grown up, while I have learned that my parents do not, in fact, know everything, my respect and admiration for them has not changed. I know, it sounds like I’m just saying this to kiss-up to my parents, and you might be thinking I chose to write about them only because I had no other ideas of what to talk about in this article that’s supposed to be about me. But if you know me, you know that I am, and pretty much always have been, very close to my parents, something I admit to basically anyone. As I’ve grown up, I’ve noticed that my peers have slowly transitioned from jumping at the chance to brag about their parents to complaining about them and frequently getting annoyed with the restrictions they place on their freedoms. But for some reason, my feelings about my parents never quite changed from what they were when I was a little girl, as I still value them as much as I did then and continue to see them as the people I am closest to.
Perhaps the fact that I never had any siblings to share my childhood experiences with contributed to my close relationship with my parents, to whom my friends and I often fondly refer as Joan and Peter. When I was little, if I wasn’t dressing up and playing pretend in my backyard by myself or with my friends, I was with my parents. Going on annual summer vacations has been one of our traditions since I was about six, and those trips to places all around the world have also contributed to our closeness because we have experienced the world together. I am constantly asked if I like being an only child, and my response has always been “yes and no.” When I was younger I always wished I had an older sister, or someone who could teach me about fashion and boys and who could always give me sisterly advice. In more recent years, if I am longing for a sibling, I usually imagine having a little brother or sister since I love little kids. But, I think having just my parents in my immediate family is the main reason why I am so close to  them, and now that I know what having that close relationship is like, the thought of not having it seems unbearable, not to mention unimaginable, after being their daughter for over 17 years.
Being close to my parents translates to countless hours spent simply talking with them since I was little, allowing me to learn about an endless number of things. From many long and enjoyable conversations with my dad, I have learned about politics and lies, the society I live in and its unspoken rules, manners and etiquette and different practices and lifestyles of people around the globe, especially those in China, where my parents came from after they graduated from college. My mom, who happens to be the person I look up to most in this world, has helped me find my sense of style and taught me about different science topics for as long as I can remember, and she has modeled how to be a strong, smart and kind woman for me to mimic in hopes of one day being as admired and hardworking as she is. 
I am enormously grateful for my parents’ knowledge and the fact that they continue to share it with me, as I feel that them doing so has made me into a more compassionate, understanding person who can see the world from multiple perspectives. When I was little, my world extended only as far as the borders of San Diego, and now, thanks to my parents, I am able to appreciate my world by comparing it to the lives of many others. Even listening to my parents tell stories about their childhoods — which were very different from mine and not even that tough compared to what many children in China currently go through each day — and the experiences that brought them here to the U.S. with their highly successful careers has allowed me to recognize how fortunate I am and appreciate them even more for all that they have done for me so I am able to pursue my dreams. 
And just to clarify, I appreciate my parents not because their world revolves around me (although I know and am thankful for all the time and energy they spend on helping me succeed); I appreciate them for continuing to pursue their own dreams and inspiring me to work as hard as they do to get what I want in life. I look up to them because I know they overcame  dozens of challenges to achieve their goals, and they have always encouraged me to do the same. They taught me that nothing will be handed to me and that there are no guarantees; they encouraged me to dream big, and they never discouraged me from going after what I want, even if it was something I knew they might have doubts about. While my dreams for my future have changed since I was little, my parents’ support of them has remained constant, and I credit that support and encouragement for my confidence in what I am interested in and my ardor in pursuing it.
In a couple of months when I will head into the last year of living under my parents’ roof before graduating and leaving for college, knowing that I have and always will have my close bond with my parents comforts me a great deal. It may seem like this article is more about my mom and dad than it is about me, but their background, knowledge and unconditional love and support have made me who I am today, and I know I would be completely different if I didn’t have them by my side. They are the people I am most grateful for, and if I’m writing about myself, crediting both of them for helping me grow into who I am is something I know I cannot omit.


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