Monday, November 11, 2013

Saewhan Park/Oral History/Tue11

I have not had many opportunities to ask about lives of my father. I know he has always been around me and we talked a lot about a lot of things about my career and education. He has been my mentor and gave me advice whenever I had challenges and difficulties. I guess I was in the center of our talks and I don’t recall asking him about his life. Maybe it’s because I was too shy, but as I was supposed to conduct an interview for this writing assignment, I decided to go ask him about some questions I had never asked before.
One day, as our family sat around on a table for dinner, I started with a simple question.
“Dad, when did you decide to become a customs broker?”
My father has worked as a chairman of a customs company for more than 20 years. I knew that before he started his own business as a customs broker, he worked at the Incheon International Airport. Whenever someone arrives at the airport, one first checks their luggage. And then he/she goes through passport control. That’s where my father worked. He passed one of the highest competitive public sector exams and could get a job in the airport.
“I first worked there and checked passports of travelers from other countries,” said my father.
“And then I met your mother.”
It was since then my father decided to study more and pass an exam to receive a certificate, allowing him to start his own business as a stock broker.
“I thought I wanted to challenge myself to become a somebody. And now I have my own company.”
Then, I was curious how he studied for his exam. And then something came across my mind. I actually remember seeing him studying on a small table when I was a little kid!
“You were a little kid when I was preparing for my exam,” said he. “It was a risky decision since I quit my job to study. Your mother supported me and cheered me up to not give up.”

As I’m about to graduate from my university and planning to continue studying in graduate school, I thought for seconds how lucky I am. All this more than average living costs, my school’s tuition fees and clothes, iPad, and other digital devices I’m now enjoying came from my father’s hard work. I never had a chance to appreciate that. Great man, my father, and in the future I will be taking responsibility for my family as well.


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