Friday, July 20, 2012

The Gift

This crazy whirlwind trip I'm taking is a graduation gift from my mom. I am not completely sure gift is the right word for it.
My mom knows that I've wanted to go to China. I've always wanted to go... I just wasn't quite sure that her taking me would be part of the plan. She said she wanted one last great adventure for me, before I start working. I reluctantly said yes; as most of you know, past trips were nothing short of disastrous, always leaving our relationship permanently scarred. We were actually getting along before she asked me about this trip. It sounded amazing from my perspective, but having her accompany me, made me feel like I'd just be dragging her around Asia.
How do you say no to the trip of a lifetime? I'd be able to knock something off my bucket list, visit a good friend, and buy my favorite face wash in bulk.
This left a lot of my friends saying, "Are you crazy?" or "are you going to be okay?"
But as some reminded me, my mom isn't exactly young anymore. Who knows? This really could be our last grand adventure together.

So I said yes.

Then she said, well if we're going to Asia, "we might as well stop by the Philippines and see the family."
And knowing how exhausted I'd be by the time we got there, how could I possibly say no?
So I said yes. Yes to 7 days on a boat. Yes to 4 countries in Asia. Yes to 8 separate flights.

All with my mother.

Is This Your Shirt?

My mom often has this habit of just wearing whatever she finds in and around the house. Clothes, shoes, whatever it is, she figures it's placement on her property makes it part of her domain.

So she wakes up and turns to me, pointing at the shirt she's wearing. She says, "is this shirt yours?"

"No," I answer.

"Is it your brother's?"


"Oh. I don't know whose shirt this is. But it's really soft," she murmurs as she falls back asleep.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tour of Asia

We're getting ready to leave for the airport now.  I'll try and blog when I can.  :)

I Made You Dinner

My family comes from a culture where food is a dominating love language. People feed you to show you that the care deeply for you; to reciprocate, you eat the food.
I have been a vegetarian for almost 16 years now. My "diet" has caused a lot of controversy between my mother and me. She is an amazing cook, but her repertoire is highly meat-based, so telling her that I won't eat meat was akin to stabbing her in the back. At the beginning, she was extremely resistant to my choice of lifestyle, insisting that this was how my teenage rebellion manifested itself, or that perhaps it was just a fad. Clinging to her animal-heavy upbringing, she also posited that a life without meat couldn't possible be healthy.  We struggled for so long that even just a few years ago, she could be heard saying "Oh, you're still going to do that?" with more than a hint of disappointment in her voice.

Year after year, I would come home with lab results that proved that my cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels were normal.  She was surprised every time, especially after realizing that her own lab results were less than stellar.  Doctors started telling her she needed to start eating a diet more like mine.
About a year ago, I came home to my mom excitedly proclaiming, "Come eat! I made you dinner!"
You have to understand, that for almost 16 years, I've had to fend for myself. I've learned how to cook for myself, where to find the best produce, and attempted to even grow my own food.  So when my mother said, "Come eat! I made you dinner!" I looked over my shoulder to see if she was talking to someone behind me.
Both curious and afraid, I sat at the dinner table. She brought a large bowl from the kitchen and proudly placed it in front of me.
I peered in, to find a large pile of clean, chopped iceberg lettuce.

Just lettuce.

I looked back up at her excited face as she exclaimed, "I made you a salad!  I know you love salad."  Indeed. My mom has no idea how to properly feed a vegetarian, but God, I love her for trying.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

That's Just My Face

I love my Mom. Like really REALLY love her....perhaps more than anyone in this whole world. Above all, you have to know this one fact to understand how our relationship works.

My mom and I argue a lot. I could get into the details, but really, we fight mostly about nothing. We can never really just agree to disagree, and my mother definitely does not like to give advice that isn't taken.  Subsequently, she is probably as constantly frustrated by me as I am with her.

One day, I oh-so-foolishly tried to explain one of the reasons why I find it so difficult to have a conversation with anyone who looks at me the way she does. Her eyes convey a mixture of anger and disappointment, and she listens with pursed lips, like she's preparing a rebuttal no one could ever be prepared for.  This look makes me regret saying anything just as soon as I've said it. I've pretty much only seen her scowl at me and a select few people. This leads me to feel like she saves it just for me. 

And of course, telling her this only makes her give me a more intensified version of this look as she says "That's just my face. I look like this to everyone. You're just too sensitive."

Oh, how I wish I had a picture of this face, so you could see it.  Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to take one...