From an early age, I was forced to explore my passions independently as my mother was never satisfied with anything I wanted to pursue. I had always wanted to enroll into taekwondo, but my mom thought it was not suitable for a girl of my age, so she chose ballet for me instead. I had always enjoyed watching other kids play soccer, so I wanted to experience the team. However, my mom thought that it was too rough of a sport for a girl and chose swim for me instead. I had always wanted to play an instrument and cello was what caught my ear with its soothing deep melody. However, my mom deemed the position in which we play the instrument as "unladylike." Utterly absorbed in her traditional values, my mom refused to let me pursue my own interests.
The one thing she forced me into that grew into a passion was swimming. But even as I started, it was hard to continue because all she ever did was bark at me to swim laps, even though she did not know how to swim herself. However, I pushed through years of criticism and started coaching kids as a job experience. I am careful when instructing the kids at swim because I want them to come to lessons, ready and eager to enjoy swim, not dread it.
After years of her disapproving of my interests, her objections only made me want to pursue more. Every time I'd learn a new interest, my grandpa was supportive. I wasn't the best ballet dancer since I had no balance, but he was patient and held my hand as I walked the beam. I wasn't the fastest swimmer and had just learned how, but he offered to help me float even though he couldn't swim. I wasn't the strongest kicker on the field, but he'd take me out to the park to kick around a beach ball. Sometimes, I'd play nonsense on the piano because I was bored, but he'd still praise me, whereas my mom only scolded my incompetency with frustration. She could never let herself allow me to be happy with my own interests.
My grandpa plays a significant role in my life. He stands as a role model and his life motivates me to achieve my aspirations. Despite our language barrier, I have the strongest connection with him. Ever since I was little, my grandparents were the ones who watched over me rather than my parents. I am glad I got to make so many memories with my grandpa. For as long as I can remember, I'd always pull him to take me on this 2-mile walk to the mall, and since he has never seen an escalator before, we'd go up and down for hours. Then, on the way back, I'd always get tired, and he'd carry me all the way home. When I got through middle school, he was so happy for me for it was rare back in his hometown for kids to even make it to middle school. When I got into college, he cried with joy even though he had no clue where and what University of Michigan or Emory was. When I graduated from high school, he asked me to use my phone and wanted to call every one of his friends even though he couldn't remember most of their numbers.
When I was in 8th grade, he started fainting spontaneously and was hospitalized frequently. The scariest times were when the doctors notified us that he had to have surgery. Helplessly, I waited for further notice from the doctors who worked hard to heal him. Even though I was not a particularly religious person, I always prayed for a smooth operation. After all that he has done for me, I could only wish for him to get better. These doctors saved my grandpa's life countless times and granted him more time with our family. My grandpa sees so much substance in creativity and love and values it much more than money or any material. Seeing this positivity radiate from my hapless grandpa motivates me. His strength through every surgery inspires me. Thanks to him, I was able to explore my interests and be inspired to reach for success.