Tag Archives: Chinese parents

Perks and Perils

My mom texted for some advice during her preparation for her routine endoscopic procedure. My mom is the best kind of patient—she follows instructions to the letter, even when her personal medical counsel (a.k.a. me) advises otherwise. She had texted to ask if she could skip some of her cathartics because they had, well, been too cathartic. I told her it was okay to stop but she decided to only take half my advice and still take half of the prescribed medication for the next day. If I had a dollar for every time I have had to say to my mother, “Trust me. I’m a doctor” I would have as many dollar bills as a stripper during Spring Break. This is her follow-up text the next morning:

Finally! My turn to say...I told you so!!!

Finally! My turn to say…I told you so!!!

Love you Mom!

P.S. She got an A+ on her colonoscopy. #goodforanothertenyears

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I follow UberFacts on Twitter because, sometimes, I just want to enrich my knowledge of completely random but often hilarious subjects. This is what I got when I shared one of these facts with my mother:



Well, I am the one who brought it up. Lesson learned. Do not speak of things you know not do not ever want to know.

*I did not know how to make an “e” with an accent OR an umlaut for the “u”. Please feel free to educate me if you do!

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I Love My Mom

The second worst thing about the Missing Year (which was actually 17 months, to be exact) other than having to live through it, was watching my parents live through it. As mentioned previously, I was not only absent from my own life, but also from the lives of those I love. I am well aware how lucky I am to have parents who are spry and healthy at their age, but I regret causing them to age exponentially last year. After a previous episode many years ago, I vowed not to put them through that again. I failed.

I have said before that my mother has given me life more than once. Even though she didn’t completely understand what I was going through, didn’t always say the right thing (my last iPhone met its demise when I hurled it on the floor during one of our conversations—a move that is very uncharacteristic of me and also not so smart if you have hardwood floors), she has always made it clear that she is there for me, no matter what. There were many months when I didn’t want my parents to visit and sometimes did not even want to speak on the phone. I know this was hard on them, especially my mom, whom I often chat with on my commute to work when I am in my usual state of mind. She put her feelings aside and let me know that I should do what I needed to do, but that I could always pick up the phone and she would be there. Even as I started to function better “on the outside” (e.g. with strangers, at work), in the comfort of those closest to me, I regressed to being a sullen teen. I hated myself for not being able to act more mature, sitting there with a long face and monosyllabic answers. While it must have been hard, she comforted me by saying that I shouldn’t feel like I had to pretend around family, that I could be whoever I was at the moment and I was still loved.

From what my friends who are parents have explained, there is nothing worse than seeing their child in pain. Worse yet, to feel helpless in the face of pain that they cannot fix. I know I felt awful when I saw my mom crying and knew it was because of me.

So, as much as it has been a joy to me to feel better, it has made me especially happy to see my parents also get back to their normal lives as well. The spark in my mom’s eyes is also back; her posture, the expression on her face, lighter and relaxed. Again, I am so very, very grateful to be feeling like myself again. And so very grateful for the most supportive parents one could ask for.

My mom loves her some emoticons!

My mom loves her some emoticons!

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Best Medicine

Lost in Translation?

Lost in Translation?

This reminds me of the clothes my relatives used to send me from Taiwan when I was in grade school. My mother didn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to wear perfectly nice tees with pictures of cute animals. That were also emblazoned with pithy sayings such as “Love Me Beautiful Dog Friend” or “Tea Time is Nice for Rainbow Day.” This was way before hipster irony would make these even remotely cool.

Happy Friday! Or for fellow working-through-the-weekenders, Happy Hump Day!

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Tough Crowd

I recently taught my septugenarian parents how to text. I was ambivalent, but it has turned out to be great fun.  My father doesn’t quite get the concept, he tends to text long letters that start with “Dearest B,” and sign them at the end (umm, I know it’s from you, Dad!) but my mom has really taken to it. It’s been a win-win, because she feels hip and we have a way to keep in touch even when I am working a lot and have zero desire to talk on the phone. A recent gem:


Bradley Cooper should be thankful my mom is not an Academy member.

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Kick-Ass Oriental Lady

Top Chef spoiler alert. Though, if you have even six degrees of separation from any form of social media, this post is not a spoiler. But just in case you were busy and DVR’d last night’s finale…

I love Top Chef. I am inspired by how excited the chefs get about their food and their craft.  Also, I might have a mini-crush on Tom Colicchio. I really liked the last four standing, but sorry, Douggie and Gregory (who seem like genuinely nice folk and I would be super excited to eat their food), I was secretly hoping either Mei or Melissa would win. I love that one of the courses in Mei’s winning menu was congee. I also grew up eating congee (congee is Cantonese. In the Mandarin vernacular it is: xi fan; literal translation: thin/soupy rice). She made congee cool. People who have never heard of congee or hundred-year old duck eggs may now want to go try some. This NEVER would have happened a few decades ago when kids would stare at my pork rou sung (shredded pork “floss”, a common congee topping) and butter sandwiches. I am lucky to have eaten at ink., so I may have already had the privilege of eating Mei’s food. Sorry, if I didn’t notice you though, because I was too busy staring at your boss!

Both Melissa and Mei spoke during the season of the need they felt to prove the validity of their non-traditional careers to their traditional Chinese parents (with the exception of Melissa’s mom, who seems pretty darn cool). I consider myself very lucky that my parents have always been supportive, even when they doubted my choices. But it did remind me of when I told my dad I had decided to be an English major. He said: That’s good, baobei (“sweetheart” in Mandarin), but how are you going to eat? He wasn’t trying to be discouraging; he was just being practical, based on his experience as an immigrant who arrived here on a one-way ticket with a single suitcase. Ironically, when I surprised my parents, choosing on my own accord to go into one of the traditionally Chinese-parent-approved professions, my mother lamented: it’s such hard work and I’m worried you won’t be able get married or have children for a long time! As Mei and Melissa would probably agree, sometimes you just can’t win with Chinese parents. Or maybe, just parents in general. They want the best for you, but may not always agree on what is the best. But the best parents are those who respect your choices and stand by you anyway, even when the road may be long and/or less taken. The best part of last night’s show was when Mei, who was known for her stone-cold “Mei face” all season, broke down in a string of holy sh*ts! and tears when calling her mentor, Michael Voltaggio. Congratulations, Mei! Thanks for representing Oriental Ladies everywhere. I hope your parents are really, really proud.

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