A jiayou weekend

Yesterday at work, even after a solid eight hours of sleep, I was still tired. Then it occurred to me that I’ve been running around non-stop since last Tuesday.

Last week, because of the holiday and the fact that my mother and brother would be in town on Friday, I went to the office Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Oh my God, three days in a row! So exhausting. Plus because I’d be at a family gathering all weekend, I had to get in krav maga and KO bag during the week. I was successful Tuesday and Wednesday, but by Thursday, the weird cold I’d been fighting all week (painful sinuses, post-nasal drip, and queasy stomach) came to a head, and I decided to skip. Luckily a good pal called so I had that excuse too. :) I did however work on my novel after two days off.

Friday morning I got up early to get in some day job work and more novel writing before meeting my brother for brunch. Afterward we walked out to the train station to pick up our mom who had come in from San Jose, where she was visiting my aunt and uncle (my mom lives in NJ).

I guess it’s been a while since she’s seen me and my brother together. It might have been as long as two years ago, at our grandmother’s funeral, although she’s seen us separately a few times since then. At the train station when she saw us, she gave us a big hug and said, “I’m so happy!” and got all teary. Awww. If MB were around and not away for work, she’d have probably lost her shit completely.

We grabbed a cab back to my place, and hung around until dinnertime. We were all sort of exhausted. For dinner we hoofed it out to Japantown (a lot of walking for my mom) and had Korean barbecue in celebration of my brother’s birthday. It was very tasty.

While my mom crashed at my place, my bro took off for a friend’s. I was a bit nervous, tell you the truth, of being alone with my mother, and thought she’d start bugging me about the usual stuff, but surprisingly she didn’t, or not as much as expected. I think she was distracted by being in a different place, traveling, and overall feeling tired. We found a Korean channel on our Roku box and watched several episodes of some silly Korean show.

The next day we were up early again. While waiting for my brother to come over, we watched one and a half episodes of The Amazing Race: China Rush. Why? My childhood friend Henry and his wife Jennifer are on it! Jia you, Henry and Jennifer!

After a birthday brunch with my bro, my mom and I were off to the train station again to head out to San Jose for my aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary party that night. But first we had the suckiest cab driver ever. He kept saying, “San Francisco is very difficult to drive!” and had to use his GPS to figure out how to get to the station. You’re cab driver and you don’t know where the fucking train station is? He took the route with the most traffic, both car and pedestrian – instead of the less populated Tenderloin – and let us out several blocks away, insisting it was a two-minute walk. It wasn’t. At least we made it on time and the train ride was nice and relaxing.

In San Jose, my cousin picked us up, we drove out to the airport to get another aunt and uncle who were flying in from Los Angeles, and just hung out at the house all afternoon before the party.

The party was perfectly lovely. Beautiful flowers and candles everywhere, great food, nice speeches, and dancing. Two downsides were that my brother and some of my cousins weren’t there – my brother because it was his birthday that day and he preferred to spend it with his friends, and my cousins because of various obligations – so I basically had no one to hang out with except my mom. I mean, there were other young people there, but they were from my uncle’s side of the family, who I don’t know at all.

The second downside was that I got sick from a glass of wine. That’s right, one glass of wine. First I got a headache, which isn’t unusual. I take a couple of aspirin and I’m fine. But I hadn’t brought my travel Advil, and no one had any. My headache got worse and worse. While everyone else was having fun, I just desperately wanted to go home.

We didn’t even leave that late, around 10. The drive back wasn’t long but it was very winding. I got all carsick but thought it would pass. It didn’t. I lay in bed, trying to sleep and willing myself not to barf. Then I suddenly felt like I would feel so much better if I did barf so I went to the bathroom and I did.

I was afraid it was going to be an all night thing, but it was just a few times. Then my headache lightened up and felt a hell of a lot better. I was even hungry the next morning. Dim sum tasted good.

While it’s good to see family, I was sorta bummed that I wouldn’t be able to write (or go to krav maga) all weekend. However, I also knew it would be a good time to keep my eyes and ears open for story material, and that’s what I got over dim sum. Some stuff I didn’t know:

  • My grandmother tried to give herself a miscarriage. She was only 17 when she got pregnant with my aunt (Puo-puo and my grandfather were already married of course) and she wasn’t ready for motherhood. My aunt said Puo-puo tried to give herself a miscarriage by riding a bike and probably other things as well.
  • My elder uncle was so sick as a baby, he had seizures for three days. It was the dead of winter when he was born, and according to my mom and aunt, that was how he got a fever. Plus later as a toddler, he fell out a second story window (I knew that story) and was hospitalized for months afterward.
  • During the Communist Revolution, not only was my grandfather imprisoned, his family’s possessions were taken away.
  • After six months of being imprisoned by the Communists, my grandfather escaped prison, only to be caught again immediately when he returned to the family compound.
  • The reason my grandfather didn’t want to return to China ever again was only partly because he hated the Communists. More so, he was afraid they wouldn’t let him leave. I had the same fear when I was there, though mine was unreasonable. I seriously thought they’d look at my passport, say, “You’re not really American,” and make me stay there forever.

After dim sum, we drove out to the cemetery where my grandparents are buried, and paid our respects. Back at the house, my aunt and uncle opened their gifts, and then it was time to leave.

Again, while I love my family, I was glad for some quiet time on the train. I pigged out on salt and vinegar chips (maybe I was a little hungover), and read my book. Back in the city, I caught a cab (with a driver who knew what the hell he was doing) and was home by 7 PM. I was pooped but so glad to be back at my own place, I had the energy to do two loads of laundry, unpack, and do a small amount of work on my novel. Conked out at 10:30.

Today is a work-from-home day and I’m relishing it. I have to go to krav maga at 5:30 but that still gives me several hours to catch up and sit around the house.


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