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Without My Father

Appreciate whomever you’re closest to in your family.

I know what’s been going on with my family through my father. It’s a trial for me to be at home with my family but I am always eager to know news. I write Skype messages to my father twice a day most days and I talk to him on Skype occasionally (we always speak for an hour or so when we do speak).

Currently, my father is the most mentally sound individual in my family living in Boston. He also knows about paying the monthly bills, how to deal with income tax and bank matters and how to manage the family’s assets whereas my mother and her side of the family isn’t really familiar with how to manage and organize their expenses. Anger management issues reign in some relatives’ homes and psychological problems as well. My father’s side of the family had little to do with me because they perceive me as a foreigner, because I have never been gung-ho about my Chinese heritage. Without my father bringing me to visit them, I would have nothing to do with them. Every relative doesn’t know what to do with or say to me because they perceive me as being too different for them to talk to. I find this to be a sad perception. Why feel that you can’t communicate with someone because the person doesn’t think the same way about their ethnic identity?

I speak very little to my brother because I don’t agree with his lifestyle. I hardly speak to my mother because of her temper and her belief that her life is harder than everyone else’s in the world (okay, it’s fine to think like this but it’s not okay to resent others and to take depression out on others). Without my father, I would feel like I have no family at all. When I visit home, only my father had anything to do with me. Relatives of both sides of the family find no reason to connect with me because I don’t speak Cantonese (though many relatives speak English) or because I’m not successful in their eyes. I was told why I even went to university when, at twenty-nine, I still didn’t have a ‘real’ job (it’s sad that teaching English and English proficiency exam preparation and having good knowledge of English grammar is seen as not a ‘real’ career and they say it’s not a career because not much money is made from doing it).

I still don’t understand why their ideas were reasons to shun me. Frankly, I hope my father stays around for a while. It’s not because I care to connect with my relatives (who think I am not anyone so why would I want to be near that?) but it’s because I want to have a familial connection. I feel less like a drifter, less alone knowing I am still connected to my father. he’s keeping my family and my mother’s side intact. Without him, chaos would ensue. He takes everyone’s complaints and connects the family with the outside world and he takes all of the criticism and insults that the family expresses. My father is many of the family’s lifeline. He’s my encouragement. He likes having conversations with me best since he finds me the most interesting to talk to.

For now, I am okay.

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