On Friday I was speaking to a friend of mine from college and she mentioned how she actually likes to read my blog, and, hello, why have there been no updates? So this post is in honour of her.
Yes, I have been a bit slack with my blogging. What else is new? (At least my ability to use cliches hasn’t slackened off.) But this time, I have a very good reason. More about that in some other post.
So I turned
twenty thirty (freudian slip there) about a month ago. And tomorrow is my parents’ 31st wedding anniversary. Which means they had about four months of blissful married life before realising they were pregnant with me. Which suddenly makes me wonder – am I an accident!? The thought disturbs, intrigues and amuses me all at once. I wonder if I should ask them? Something like that needs to go into my future best-selling memoir, surely.
When I think of my parents and my childhood, it is often tinged with some angst and frustration. I am quick to remember how they always disapproved, how much pressure they put on me to do well at school, how they used to eavesdrop on my phone conversations, how they never listened to me, how they failed to say anything positive, etc.
Conveniently, I often forget how I would lie to them about where I was going, how I always answered back, how I never really listened to them, how I used to eavesdrop on their conversations, how I was always sulky and grumpy, how I never really said anything positive to them either, etc.
Which makes it sound like we didn’t have any good times.
But we did. We definitely did.
I remember how mum would make me a sumptuous afternoon tea after primary school every day – be it nuggets, a chicken pie or tuna and rice – while I watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. April was my hero, and I desperately wanted her video-calling gadget that looked like a turtle clam shell. Little did I know that twenty years on, it would become a reality in the form of the iPhone 4.
I remember how I used to watch out for dad as he walked towards our apartment building from the bus stop after work. I would rush to hide somewhere so that I could jump out and give him a hearty scare. Fortunately, we both found it funny. Or at least I assumed that dad did, since he never asked me to stop.
I remember how I always looked forward to mum’s home cooked dinners. I especially loved it when she made Cream of Mushroom Soup and pan fried sliced pieces of Spam to have with our rice. They were always a treat – both for her and for me, I suspect.
I remember how dad and I both had a thing for computers. In fact, I’m sure he instilled it in me. He gave me my first DOS when I was only nine or ten, and he taught me my very first DOS command: C:/ dir
I remember how mum and I watched McGyver and Mission Impossible on TV every week. Thursday nights, I think they were. We would always gasp in unison when the Mission Impossible person ripped off his or her fake mask. It was probably the best entertainment on TV back in the late 80s/early 90s.
I remember how there was always some Chinese TV serial that we were chasing. The plot was always predictable, but we could never get enough of them.
I remember how Sunday nights would be congee night. Dad would make a darn good chicken or beef congee, which we would crack an egg into and sprinkle shallots on. To this day, I still think my dad does the best congee ever.
I remember how mum would make soup every night for us to have before dinner. Soup that took hours to simmer. I loved her soups – she’d learnt them from my grandma. Mum would always ask me to help her flavour them just before we served up. I loved doing that – my one contribution.
I remember the three Chinese restaurants we pledged our loyalty to: the one in Chatswood that did a great deep-fried flounder, the one in Macquarie’s Grace Bros that did a good fried rice, and the one in Epping that perfected the seafood and tofu hot pot.
I remember our excitement when we bought our karaoke machine from Hong Kong when I was about eleven and how we would stay up with family friends on weekends singing “Love Me Tender,” “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” “Take Me Home, Country Road,” and all the best love songs of the 70s and 80s late into the night. Afterwards, I would fantasise about being one of the girls in the music videos, because they wore billowy dresses and could do a good cha cha.
When I think of my childhood and my parents, I know that we didn’t sit down and have many deep & meaningful chats. I know that we weren’t the best at communicating with each other. I know that we had our fair share of disagreements, fights and misunderstandings.
But I’m so thankful to them, and for the childhood they gave me.
I am so thankful for these memories and so thankful for those precious moments that we shared.
I am so thankful to my parents for giving me my first loves: food, TV and technology.
I am so thankful to them for getting together, for being together and for remaining together these thirty-one years. This is something that I shall never take for granted.
And I will always be thankful to them for making me when they did.
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