Shantou (1): old places

19 Jun

My mum found all the locations she set out to find – the street where she was born (see second picture below), the park-cum-army-fort where her brothers used to swim by the sea, the church where her mother worked, a park she played in.

She chattered with our driver, and I sank back, letting her do the talking – here she is in her element and understands frankness and politeness in equal measure. I remember all the times she travelled with us to all the places we wanted to go to without complaint, and I’d get peeved at her for all kinds of silly reasons – for not showing interest or having an opinion, for nagging us about safety, or holding any ang moh at arm’s length with great suspicion. We were so easily intrigued and excited about things and didn’t understand why she wasn’t.

Now I am in her shoes. I will never love China, but am enjoying myself here, quite simply by seeing it through her eyes. I wonder if I’ll feel the same way if I have a daughter and take her out of the country for the first time. I am reminded (in a nice way) of my mother’s strengths/my weaknesses – bargaining, taking charge of situations, being efficient and organised.


One Response to “Shantou (1): old places”

  1. mamz August 25, 2010 at 8:41 am #

    I love this post! Somewhat related: I tried digging into my family’s history some time back but my parents are useless as they remember nothing. Infuriating! Love that your mom did some digging for herself 🙂

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