Part 3: From Heaven to Hell

In my memory, I had an almost perfect childhood.  I had parents and a large extended family who loved me a lot.  We didn’t have a lot of money, but my parents invested in gadgets that helped preserve very precious memories of my growing up. When I was learning to talk, my parents often recorded me on cassette.  Then when I got a little older, between the ages 3 and 5, my parents spent many weekends dressing me up and putting me in front of their camcorder.  I would sing and dance around to music like no one was watching.  Those were perhaps the happiest times of my life.

While I was in elementary school, my parents put me into different after-school classes  – Mandarin, dancing, math, piano, swimming, painting, to name a few.  Like most parents, they worked hard to make a living and to invest in my education.  They believed that it was important for me to become a well-rounded person. Despite how much I hated going to some of those classes, I was still a relatively happy girl who had a happy family.  And that was pretty much the only thing important to me.

Then it happened.

At the time, I was too young to understand what it was all about.  All I knew was that someone unrelated to us had gambled away a certain amount of money that was borrowed from us, more specifically my father.  My mother was completely unaware until it was too late. Naturally, my mother was livid when she eventually found out. This person, whom my parents trusted, had gambled his life away and took our money with him.  My parents had just bought the house and did not have the extra money to spare.  Despite their efforts to hunt down this person, it was too late and he had already vanished from our lives.  It was then that everything in my life changed.

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