Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Phone Call that Started Everything

I love talking with my grandma. Three years ago, I thought I would call her just to say hello. Had never done that before. Was never even a family-type person. We haven’t stopped talking since. During our phone calls, she would tell me story after story from her past; I would listen – I mean, really listen – because my Chinese is rusty from leaving Hong Kong at the age of twelve. Her stories would transport me from my downtown Philadelphia loft and my over-extended life as an architect to the Chinese village where she was born, the budding city of Hong Kong where she survived a world war and raised eleven children, and her suburban home in Seattle where she lives now. When I said my aunts and uncles must be amazed by her stories, she said, "No one knows any of this. No one knows because no one ever asks." She told me I was silly for finding her special.