This summer, during the few months before my departure, I went back home to Greendale. Sterling, my older brother, his departure to Singapore overshadowed my return home. You see, my parents run a restaurant. To keep up with the pace of that line of work, their minds run in the intimidate, the now, the moment.
For a week straight, when my parents came home from work, they hounded him on his trip to Singapore. They hoovered over what he packed, how he packed, how he dressed, how he spent his last days at home.
Then he was gone. And they spent their mornings sipping coffee like I had remembered.
But that ended soon.
Now, I still had a month before I had to leave for Beijing. My second oldest brother, Jordan, he’s opening up a shop near our house. He rented a piece of run down once-a-Mexican-Restaurant property, and is turning now it into a gaming lounge. It’s quite a change for a building, my parents know, and a gaming lounge sounds far-fetched. So, I had a month of listening to my parents chew my brother’s ear off.
To escape the chatter at home, I decided to visit some old faces. I got in contact with my old high school teachers, high school friends, and family. They remembered me. Many of my conversations contain a line like this:
“You are doing great things. You’re even going abroad. I can’t imagine ever having the chance or ability to do something like that.”
These were top performing students, holding two jobs and keeping up with their extracurriculars. These were dreamers that had ideas zipping through their minds nonstop. I see them as me. And I wish our high school had prepared us better. Getting in touch with them made me even more determine to make something work out in Beijing, and bring a piece of it to them. Maybe I am trying to prove that it’s not just me, but we that can do more that our given circumstances.
I had quite a few encounters like this. I think it was rather successful means to escape the wrath of my parents. Then the night came before my departure.
My parents overdrive mode turned on. I had neatly packed two suitcases, a carry-on and a backpack. I had things organized in a particular way, winter clothes in one side, toiletries on the other, books on the side.
Then my parents began the grilling process once more. A string of questions: Did you bring soap? Did you bring a towel? Did you bring shoes? What about socks, you have enough socks? All the while unpacking my suitcases.
“Stop, stop, stop, it’s okay. I got it,” I said.
No response, just questions.
“Mom, Dad it’s okay, I got it.”
Another list of questions.
“If I need anything I get buy it there.”
“No, no, no, if you buy things in China they’re too expensive. And you have to buy the more expensive one, or else who knows what kind of fake chemicals they put into things there. You might as well take extra things if they fit,” said my mom as she stuffed in a pillow, blanket and bed sheets.
They weren’t going to stop.
Everything that was neat was no more. It was passed midnight. A disgruntled frown emerged onto my face. But I knew my parents were doing it out of love and care. So I let them run the security check through my luggage, and I passed out on my bed.