First of all, let me apologize for this late post. My laptop decided to be uncooperative yesterday and gave me the blue screen of death. I have no idea what I did, but it is working today, so cross my fingers that it will keep working… I started this post yesterday on my phone and will definitely post one now, and one later in the evening :)
Anyway- Describe my relationship with my parents:
My parents. My Asian parents are not the traditional Asian parents that y’all see on TV or read about in books. Yes I’ve gotten beaten and yelled at as a child, but I have never been compared to or been put up to a standard. See, the thing is, I never got good grades. My grades were mostly Bs, Cs, Ds and Fs. My sister on the other hand, got 100RMB every time she received an A- you can imagine how much money she had at the end of each semester. But my parents never, ever compared me to my sister. They let me do my own thing at my own pace. I think that is why my relationship with my parents is as good as it can get.
When I was actually living at home during high school and my gap year, I was not really close to my parents at all. I mean sure they knew about my shitty grades and where I was applying to for university (although I think they lost count), but we never really talked about life. I remember during dinners at home, where all four of us would sit around the dinner table, my dad would ask us “So, what did you do today?” My sister would start recounting her day and what she learned, but when it came to me, I would merely say “nothing”. I guess I just felt like nothing exciting really happened in my life- but if I could go back, I would appreciate life so much more and be blabbering like my sister as well.
I knew one thing for sure, though- my parents were, and still are, behind me every step of the way when I was/am chasing my ridiculous ‘dreams’. They never said ‘no’ when it actually mattered (I wanted to learn a Chinese instrument called Er Hu when I was in third grade and as much as I pleaded, my mum said no. I am glad she did because it would have been wasted money as nobody really plays it nowadays).
My dreams didn’t come cheap, I tell you. They ranged from wanting to play the clarinet and taking lessons to traveling all around the world with the varsity softball team or to different band events. Thinking about it now, I realize how much they invest in me to let me really have whatever I want. I’ve never owned a play station or a game boy- I didn’t get a cellphone until I was 13, but up to this point in life, I have actually gotten everything I wanted.
When I was applying for university, I chose 14 schools; the cheapest application fees were 50usd, and every time I asked for my dad’s credit card, he never asked what it was for, but just handed it to me. Let me tell you, at that time, we weren’t doing very well financially, but he never once complained, even when I received rejection letters. The relationship I have with my dad is an odd one. We are close when it comes to health issues (he is really into Traditional Chinese Medicine) and he gives the best and most accurate advice when I am becoming sick (he also gives the best hugs and kisses and massages), but when it comes to the business world, I am still having trouble comprehending his complicated mindset. At 21 years old, my dad still lectures me. He lectures me about how I need to find out what I want to do with my life. He is very encouraging (I have a 12-hour layover in Dubai when I return to Shanghai, and his first words to me were “Xuan gets to explore another country! She is the luckiest!) and honestly does not take any bullshit. It is hard to describe how smart my dad is, because he really knows everything about everything in the world. That is why it is hard for me to connect with him on an intellectual level, but that is not for a lack of trying. I try to understand and ask him about his current projects, but I just can’t grasp it. It sucks because I really wish I could connect with him the way my sister connects with him, but I guess that will still take time and hopefully it will happen when I enter the working world. You know, unlike traditional Asian dads (and God knows my dad is the most traditional Asian I know), he is actually very open-minded when it comes to his kids making decisions about their lives. And I love that about him. I am so lucky to have parents who are willing to experience new things with their kids instead of resisting. But I know one thing for sure that I found out this summer, and it is that my dad is my absolute one and only hero. He is the person I strive to be like when I grow older.
My mum and I have this unspoken relationship where she understands me. Like literally. I don’t know how many times I’ve asked “how do you know that was what I was going to say??” and her response was “because I’m your mother”. For example just this summer, I was texting my mum and said “I know what I want for my birthday this year.” She immediately replied “what, a camera?” My jaw dropped to the ground and I was flabbergasted- I haven’t given any hints on what I wanted, and she completely read my mind. This is one relationship that I will never be able to find with anybody else, but my mum. Cuddling with my mum on her bed in Shanghai is one thing that I will always love to do, no matter how old I get. For some reason (I guess a lot of kids have this when they are younger), I didn’t like my friends to meet my mum when I was in elementary school. Bu when in university, when our relationship got so much closer, I was so proud to show of this wonderful woman who cares and would give up anything for me. Again before, when I was living with my mum, I would never open up to her regarding my emotions, friendship issues or even relationships. But now, I find it so much easier to talk to her about everything. I’ve called her twice when I was in Seychelles, just to cry my eyes out and tell her what a shitty time I was having. Honestly, just hearing her voice and listening to her soothing words puts me right into her arms. This unspoken relationship between my mum and I is something I cherish so incredibly much. I wish there are different ways that I can show her how much I appreciate what she has done for me so far by bringing her traveling all around the world; hopefully that will happen sooner than later. Last but not least, my mum makes the best food- Chinese, Italian, German, Desserts, Kueh’s- you name it and she can dish it out like no other. What’s even better is when I go home, I now accompany her to the wet markets and just pick out whatever I’d like and she buys it. Then we make it together at home and relish what we’ve made together in front of the TV. God I can’t wait until October 25!
Writing this blog and thinking about these little gestures that my parents do for me just makes me appreciate them that much more. I think no matter how old I get, I will always be their little baby. Love you Mami and Ba<3