I’m not a sentimental person. Certainly after the great move of 2015, my attachment for material things have reached a new low. Yet when it came to Chinese New Years, I had a strong desire to fly home and spend it with family – not really what people expect of me, apparently.
It’s not like our family REALLY gets into it. We gather, we feast, there’s a few red pockets exchanged, and we feast some more… But apart from that we don’t follow too many traditions. We drive to the temple and pray to our ancestors, that’s about it.
The time we spend together is mostly for discussing what we’re going to eat; eating and exclaiming how delicious this food is; complaining how very over-stuffed we are; and of course, excitedly brainstorming what we’re eating next. We’re not the deep and meaningful type to discuss very heavy things. Not exactly conservative, yet quite reserved in a very Asian way. We have mutual understandings as to how far conversations go – when someone goes silent, it’s time to change topics.
I’ve always wondered how much my parents understood who I am as a person. They know I’m stubborn. They think I’m ‘witty’. Mum thinks I’m too clever for my own good and dad would rather not know too much. Yet being so far away and having been apart for so long, what they know, is only from what I tell them. So I guess it’s up to me to decide – and sometimes I question, is it enough? Should I lead them deeper into the labyrinth of Emi?
Three more days till I leave again. Someone wise reminded me to treasure each moment with them and spend it like it may be the last time. Somehow, being here, sharing the food, feeling their energy and giving them mine… I realise these, are the precious moments I came back for. Ordinary, plain days spent in each other’s company. Not for any other purpose but to spend time together.
Turns out, I’m deeply attached to my family. It surprised me how tough it is to admit that to myself. I guess I’ve always distanced myself emotionally because I knew they’re not physically close. Yet I can admit it now, they are very important to me.
I’m so very grateful to be back with them for New Years. I am now recharged and grounded to start a wonderful new year with strength, confidence, and an abundance of love for all that surround me. May there be beauty in our eyes, kindness in our actions and peace in our hearts. May there be luck, success, prosperity and happiness all round.
So much love for you all.
Auckland. I spent a mere 6 years here in my youth – that’s only one fifth of my life as of this moment. A lot of old family friends, “aunties and uncles”, as well as childhood friends’ parents, are here. These are the “grown ups” who have known me as a child, a teen. Every time I visit Auckland they welcome me so warmly with so much love it makes me realise why I still feel insecure and alone in the place that I call “home”.
Sydney. The place where I have spent most of my life living in. The place where I have learnt the most about myself, have grown, gotten educated, and learnt to take care of myself. I have met so many wonderful people here who are so dear to me. It’s hard to imagine living away from Sydney because of the life I have built for myself here. I love what this city has to offer – the beauty, the opportunities, the things to learn/see/experience, the people to meet, the food to eat…
But what it lacks for me, is family. Christmas, Chinese New Years, even birthdays… Always make me feel extra alone, small, and vulnerable. The more I “grow up” the more I see how important family is and how much I crave the warmth of one. I’ve always always appreciated the parents of my ex-boyfriends who welcomed me into their family… It meant so much to me, and I don’t think I ever expressed my gratitude… (If you’re reading, please thank your mums and dads for me). I also am really grateful for the friends who have taken me in during those lonely festivities (you know you are family to me).
You may ask – why don’t you go back to your family then Emi? Oh I do want to… But Taiwan is just not a place I want to live/work in. As much as I love Taiwan and its people… I need the variety that Sydney offers. Culture, language, values… I can’t go back.
A sense of belonging. If I have a family of my own here in Sydney, will I feel like I belong? Or will I feel more alone? As much as people complain about in-laws, I think I look forward to having someone else to call mum and dad. I know it will never be the same as your own parents, but if I should be so lucky to live close to them, I will put in the effort… to make them feel like family.
Seeing your childhood friends with their new babies and their new homes really does make you think a lot. I know people worry… But no, no regrets. I am where I am in life because of what I needed to learn. I can only trust that the angels will look after me, as I walk on, brave as can be, all by myself…
A conscious decision was made for me to postpone my Taiwan visit till later this year. I chose to stay in Sydney by myself for the first time in years during Chinese New Years. It is to me, like Christmas is to most Aussies – a celebration of what is the most solid and precious in life – family.
I guess I failed to recognise how the past few Chinese New Years have impacted my values and my priorities. I only just realised how much I really miss the way my parents always manage to find beautiful (relatively) healthy food that was made with love. I miss our perhaps unusual dinner conversations. I miss dad talking about whatever fascination he is into. I miss everyone’s laughs… I miss the positive energy that we embrace when we are all gathered in one place. Silent appreciation linger even when we’re in food coma.
No use getting overly sentimental… More effort into the future :)
Happy Year of the Horse! May we all have the courage to make mistakes that grow wisdom; have appreciation for those that bring joy to our hearts; and gain clarity in seeing our true selves so we can fulfil this precious life we only get to live once.