Sunday 8 April 2001, High School Year 1, Shijiazhuang, China

I confessed to my parents that I no longer had the will to fight.

I wished I never pointed out the mistake in the Middle School Graduation Exam result and had stayed at my old school instead. If it was just the demanding schedule of the “Olympic Class”, I might still be able to cope, but my classmates’ comments and the laughter earlier this week was the final straw on the camel’s back. As beneficial as they are when I look back at them now, they were unbearable at the time. Every morning, on my way to the school, each step would feel heavier than the last till I could hardly move at all by the time I was near the classroom door.

My parents listened and then simply said, they understood and they would see what they could do. And that was the first step in my journey to the west. I always wondered where I would be today shall my parents not have the willingness to let me make that decision or the decisiveness to put all their past saving and future earnings behind it. My best guess is I would have gone to a 3rd Tier university in China, played a ton of computer games throughout my time there and immediately became unemployed upon graduation. For this and everything else they did for me, I owe everything to my parents.

I have no doubt if my parents decide to share their experience, it would have much wider applicability. After all, they started with absolutely nothing while my journey from this point on would become increasingly expensive. I will keep persuading them on the matter. In the meantime, if you find the route of studying abroad available to you, congratulations, you have done well in the birth lottery. Although it still won’t be easy and nothing is guaranteed, at least you have a better chance statistically. Otherwise, still work hard in whatever you do so that you can let your children have the chance and they can assign all the credit to you some time down the road.

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