Thursday, July 22, 2010

Memories 7: Grade 5 / age 10

As long as I can remember, every other year, my Popo (my dad's mom) has gone to China in December to visit her home in the village. The year I was in grade 5, she decided to take my aunt, her oldest child and myself, her oldest grandchild. My Popo doesn't really speak English and I was scared of going without my family, so my Dad decided to come too.

I got a Nintendo Game Boy for Christmas that year; I remember it clearly because my Mom and Dad gave it to me in the airport parking lot, just before we left. I’m really not much for video games, but when you are the only kid on a bus full of people speaking Chinese (which I don’t speak) there is a distinct need to entertain yourself.

While we were away, my Dad made me wear a whistle on a grungy old rope everywhere I went. If I didn’t have the whistle on, I couldn’t leave the room, even if we were just going downstairs for breakfast. I hated it, but at the same time I was infinitely thankful I never had to use it.

I remember one particular evening, my Dad decided to test me, he should have known that I am always eager to please and always followed instructions. He had to leave me in the hotel room alone for a few moments and he explained to me that if someone came to the door, I was to say “bin guo” (who is it?) and not open the door unless it was someone I knew.

When I heard a knock on the door, I obediently said “bin guo” – the knocking just got louder. After going through this about three times, I dragged the chair over to the door and looked through the little peep hole. All I saw was a thumb coming towards me, covering up the peep hole. I threw the chair out of the way, laughed and pulled the door wide open.

It was my Dad. Things could have gone so wrong if it wasn’t him, but somehow I knew it was. I knew he was testing me and although he gave me a bit of a lecture for opening the door, we laughed about it at the same time.

We went a lot of amazing places on that trip, and in particular I’d love to share photos from Thailand, but the album from my trip wasn’t in my memory box (that I finally dug out), so that will have to wait. Instead, I hope you enjoy this picture of me, at wildlife reserve in Malaysia. The deer was tame, primarily because everyone (myself included) fed them pieces of sugar cane that were sold at little kiosks. It probably wasn’t the healthiest diet for the deer, and I quickly figured out that they actually seemed to like eating the leaves better.

I’m so fortunate to have had the chance to travel internationally so young, although he won't remember much, if anything from the trip, I’m glad I have already had the chance to take the boy to China already.  I look forward to taking him again when he’s much older and much more aware of his surroundings and experiences. I have a hard time imagining that my childhood cultural experiences haven’t enhanced my ability to be open-minded and welcoming to all people, I hope those are traits that he inherits from me.

I’ve added photos to a few of my other posts in this series:
My Perm in Grade 2
A Flower Girl in Grade 3

This is post 7/15 and is part of Mommy's Piggy Tales
Make sure you check out all the other great posts here!


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