Generally speaking I’m a happy person. Not many things in life can upset me. In other words, I consider myself as a glass half full kind of person. It doesn’t take long time for me to bounce back from bad news or negative comments.
However, there is one exception. On this day, I’m not as delightful as I have hoped. On this day, I put a smile on my face but deep down my heart I’m sad and completely bewildered.
This day is today, and today is the Chinese New Year Day.
Living abroad and being thousands of miles away from my parents and sister, I’m afraid of celebrating any family-oriented holidays, especially those traditional ones that I grew up with.
I miss home badly on these holidays and oddly enough, it has nothing to do with my life in Canada. For the most part, I feel there are two worlds unfolding in parallel, one is Beijing and the other one is Toronto. There is no overlapping, and there will never be, because everything seems vastly different, including culture, language, distance, food, the way people behave, the attitude that people possesses, etc.. Don’t get me wrong, I do love both countries, and I do love my families in both countries.
Yes, with the globalization and digitalization one can talk to his / her parents at the other side of the globe just by clicking the little icon on the phone.
The parents are just one click away, but that click represents 14 hour flight and 13 hour time difference. In one minute you can see them moving around, talking to you with big smiles on the phone; in another minute, as soon as the phone being hung up, all you can see is a pitch black iPhone screen, without emotions and attachment.
I decided to work from home today, to give myself some space to breath, to reflect and most importantly not to respond to everyone that will greet me with a kind “happy new year”.
I told myself how I could be possibly happy if I’m not with my family back in Beijing on the biggest festival in the year.
So, I hid up, curled up and embraced the first day of the Year of Pig with myself.
Self-pity is a pity in itself.
It’s not only that, but also it makes me to be a different and an indifferent person. The hubby came back from his business trip after a 6 hour drive and handed me a red envelop with a warm “Xin Nian Kuai Le / happy new year” greeting, yes, in Chinese too with that cute caucasian accent.
How did I respond? Not even a slightly sense of excitement and warmth. I was in that deep sorrow for the entire day, and it’s so deep that I didn’t even realize my grumpiness and my deflating tone.
Just before I was ready to blow off the candles and close off the day, I suddenly realized how wrong I was, about what the Chinese New Year means.
Yes it’s a festival; it’s important; it’s a big deal. And yes, families are supposed to be united to share laughs and moments, but if for whatever reason we cannot do it at this right moment, we can always find another time to celebrate, and as far as love and bonding concerned, nothing will separate parents with their children, not time, not distance.
I took another look at the family pictures on my phone, and feel peace again. All things considered, I should be so grateful that my parents are still healthy and are still my best friends, and that my sister’s family is as good as ever.
Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.
~~ Oprah Winfrey
Peace out 2018; hello 2019! ❤️❤️