For the last month, I’ve been across the world visiting family for Lunar New Years for the first time. I thought it was going to be a happy time, a time where we would all bond over the fact that my mother hadn’t been home in over ten years. Turns out, the visit was nothing like what I expected, or wanted.
My grandmother would go on about how people in the family betrayed each other. She would rant and even cry over the past that she never truly let go of. She would try to make me understand why this unspoken tension was still hovering in the air, but I wouldn’t comprehend.
My uncle would attempt on going on with his life, happy to see his little niece, as if nothing was going on around the house. He would smile and smoke, and laugh as if everything was fine. Whenever I said something about the unspoken of tension, he would shrug it off like an argument everyone would one day forget or laugh about.
No one else in the family, except my grandmother, spoke of what was wrong. I didn’t understand. I only got chunks of 1 out of every 5 stories there were. Nothing made sense to me, and it didn’t help that they spoke in a language I was not fluent in myself. I wished for someone who spoke fluent English to tell me what was really going on, but there was no such person.
At the end of the month, I still didn’t know what was happening in that foreign household. Hundreds of arguments had broke out, dozens of screaming matches and multiple physical threats later, I only had one conclusion.
My foreign family, across the world, resembled a worse version of my family back home. It was broken. And there was no sense of hope that it’d be pieced back together anytime in the later future.