Sunday, January 01, 2012

The Fattest Years of Our Lives

Dear Fat,

When I used to come home to TO from college, it would amaze me how nothing had changed.  The streets looked the same.  The people had the same bored look on their faces.  The air had the same damp earthy smell at night.

On Thanksgiving, I talked to a family friend, a girl I first met back in Minnesota when she was 2.  Her mother is probably my mother's best friend, and they had moved out here to Westlake about half a year before we moved as well.  More or less, I have seen her grow up--she's almost like another sibling to me.  Anyway, she just started her first year at Cal, and we were having a conversation (recently, we've been able to have actual conversations for a change) about what it feels like to come back home.  It's not so surprising that the city hasn't changed.  It seems stranger that our parents don't change.  We've learned so much in this time.  Why haven't they?  But that is the narrow-minded view.

For dinner on Christmas Eve, we went to the home of another of my mother's friends.  My mom has known two of the women there since they were little children back in China.  Their parents all worked at the same hospital, and back when communism was high, that meant that they also all lived within the same set of apartment complexes.  They played together; they biked to school; they studied.  Eventually, they all managed to immigrate here, what they considered the better life.  I can imagine, but I'll never really know, how much they had to learn to adapt to a world where they will always be considered foreigners.  And what was their driving force?  To live.  To live with financial security for themselves and their loved ones.  To live with independence and a bit of dignity.

Because of my parents' success, I have managed to meander my way through life without a very clear direction.  Now I look at my future with . . . indifference.   Not complete indifference.  I would like to help people most of all.  I would also like to have money.  Some part of me still believes that if you have the capacity, you should acquire as many skills as you can to be of most use to society.  I guess I just need to focus.

And lose more weight.

I.M.

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