On the way to find the flowers, my aunt and uncle opened up about a lot of topics in the car. They indicated that they viewed me as a young adult now, able to comprehend the advice and stories they could tell me. This reminded me of my experience in the summer that just passed, when I visited 四川 (Sichuan, China) and my 四姨妈 and 三姨妈 (my mom’s older sisters) shared stories with me that I had never heard before about my family and past events because they had deemed me mature enough to understand now. I feel honored that my relatives can see that I am maturing, because even though I feel as if I’ve grown and changed much in the past few years, with maturity beyond my age, I understand that my self-view can be distorted, as tends to happen to many teens. In China I learned many juicy details about my own parents’ marriage and experiences before immigration to the U.S., and surprisingly my aunts even asked for my humble advice and viewpoint on my cousin and her boyfriend. They thought it was really interesting to hear my from my perspective since although we’re so closely related and look so similar, we lead drastically different lives. Anyway, on the car my aunt and uncle gave me juicy details about their marriage, and it turns out they only dated for a week before deciding to get married! I was so surprised that this kind of situation actually happened in real life, since it seems like the plot taken straight out of a cheesy Korean drama that I would watch. But I realized if this kind of marriage could have happened to anyone I know, it would definitely be my aunt and uncle because they’re always so 潇洒 and 说走就走-minded, making last-minute improvisational plans all the time. Their lifestyle contrasts greatly with my parents’, partly because they do not have children, so they aren’t bound by the burden we give our parents. Sometimes I feel guilty for chaining my parents down, since my mom loved to travel and explore in her youth, which is a characteristic I’ve learned from her, but is now forced to stay at home with a routine lifestyle because my brother and I need to go to school. I take this guilt and channel it as motivation though, because if I work hard, soon one day I’ll be able to support my parents and attempt to repay all that they’ve done and sacrificed for me and my brother. I always feel extremely privileged to have my aunt and uncle by my side, because they teach me about the world outside of middle-class-suburban-high-school families, and I’ve learned to embrace spontaneity thanks to them (this whole trip was on a whim!). I think I don’t express it well or clearly, but I truly am thankful for everything everyone around me does, especially my elders.
My aunt and uncle explained to me that they haven’t always been so spontaneous, but they’ve learned to take the risks over the years. After all, they started out as intelligent electrical engineers with a couple masters degrees under their belts just like my parents did, but now they’re business-people.
This car ride was meaningful, inciting a re-discovery of my past and history, a reflection of my privileges, and the continued refining of plans for the future, one year from now, ten years from now, fifty years from now.