Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Being away from my family makes me nostalgic, even for seemingly mundane holidays. Today is Father's Day in America and of course it makes me think about my Dad. He and I have a lot in common - not only our dark brown eyes or our mischievous streaks, but also our laid back personalities and occasional stubbornness. I'm happy to have inherited his zeal for life and his curiosity.

Some of my favorite memories with my Dad are when he would take me and my sister on bike rides, nature hikes, and splash in rain puddles when we were young.

I recall one evening when we failed to make it to the library. We had decided to go on a nature hike and ended up lost, although he would never admit it. It was slowly getting dark and we probably had gone off the path. Another evening we sat for what felt like hours visiting some of my grandparents' elderly friends. My Dad has always been compassionate and kind. He always remembers the oldest people and makes sure they feel appreciated.

He was monumental in getting our pets. He had a cat growing up, which he fondly named 'blue kitty'. He even decided blue kitty needed his whiskers trimmed and cut them all off. I'm sure the poor cat had trouble after that. While my mom was concerned about getting attached to a pet and having it pass on, he knew it would bring us happiness - even if he didn't particularly like or know much about dogs before. Our family dog appreciates her daily walks and he must as well if he is entertaining the idea of a second dog.

He was the dedicated father that took us to 'take your daughter to work day', which was popular in the 90's, and he proudly attended all of our father daughter dances. He taught me a lot about not taking things too serious and to be self respecting.

As I entered high school, he taught me patience with learning to drive a manual car. I recall thinking it was impossible and I would never master it, however I persevered through it and he was patient and always stayed positive. Later I was happy to dazzle people with my new skills and bumper to bumper parallel parking abilities on the first try. It was a simple task, but I felt the same pride as I did when he taught me to first ride a bike.

In college, after I won a free flight to anywhere in the US, he accompanied me to San Francisco for 10 wonderful days. I still remember exploring the city, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, and visiting John Steinbeck's old haunts further down the coast. I created a photo album from the Monterey sea glass for him filled with photos from our trip. There was also time when I was feeling slightly car sick as he sped around the coast on Highway 1, however I would never trade those memories for anything. It was such a nice trip and I think father daughter trips are essential - at least once in life. It is something I will forever treasure.

It's hard for my family to have me live so far away, especially when I miss out on family cookouts and other celebrations and family traditions. It's difficult to only be there in spirit.

I miss you and love you Dad! Thanks for being such a special person and the greatest Dad that I could ask for.

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