The Lunar New Years technically marks my one year anniversary since I’ve moved up to Seattle. This time last year, my mom, brother, and sister-in-law drove up from California and moved all my worldly possession into Won’s house. I dropped my family off at the airport while I stayed behind. My brother’s Facebook status read, “a new chapter….”
It’s New Year so my Facebook is flooded with pictures of everyone in beautiful ao dais at whatever New Years festival they’re attending, or at family dinners, or even just at home with some cherry blossoms. It reminds me of all the years my parents used to take me to the New Years festival and I would wander off with my friends, only to meet up my parents for lunch and again when it was time to go home. Eventually I was old enough to drive and I was the one taking my parents and treating them to lunch. Every year we would see all our friends and acquaintances we hadn’t seen over the year. The saddest year was the year after my dad passed away. I stood at the bus stop just watching the bus pull away, remembering the year prior to that when my dad was too tired to stay for a few more hours but my mom wanted to stay to watch the concert. I offered to drive Dad back home and come back to pick up Mom later but he insisted on just taking the bus home. So I walked him to the bus stop, waited for him to get on and waved at him as the bus pulled away. The next few years it was just my mom and I. And this year.. it’s just me… at home alone.. in a different state.
I remember when I was 8, I asked my mom if she loved new year. I didn’t mean anything by my question, I was just asking to get the normal Happy New Year response that I got from everyone. Instead, my mom hugged me and choked back. She was actually very sad around New Year. She missed her own mom who was back in Vietnam with all her siblings. Mom said she celebrated New Years here with us but the truth was she very sad. I never understood it, everyone is happy on New Years. This year as I write xanga at 2AM while wiping away my own tears, I completely understand her. Won only heard me tonight, he doesn’t know I’ve been crying for a few days now. I wonder if my mom has been crying to sleep too.
It’s been a year for me in Seattle but I still haven’t found my place. I’ve lived with in-laws for a year but I still feel uneasy when they’re around just as I’m sure they don’t feel at ease with me around. I told myself and everyone that it will take time but I haven’t felt any different. I haven’t made a single new friend since I’ve been here. I’ve learned to be comfortable eating by myself at sit-down restaurants. Or I just stay home when I don’t NEED to leave the house for work. My husband is adoring and loving as ever. But he is only human with only 24 hours in his day like the rest of us. Between physically being at work for 9 hours a day, then school for an additional 3 hours, plus 2 hours commute time, and flipping between lifting at the gym and jiu jitsu practice every other day, I’m happy he even takes a few minutes out of his morning to give me kisses and a few minutes out of his night to cuddle me before he completely knocks out from exhaustion. We keep it chill on his off days but even when he makes it a priority to spend a day or a few hours with me going out I always feel like we’re fighting for time because he has emails to answer or case studies to work on when we get home. I don’t resent his lack of time and I try to be as understanding as possible about all his commitments. I don’t want him to feel guilty about leaving me alone or worrying about me. I want him to succeed, I know he works this hard for me. I can’t help but feel like a burden. He promises that I’m not but that is just how I feel. Like I am just another problem for him to think about on top of everything else because I can hardly take care of myself.
He heard my crying tonight, which I know really upset him.There is no magical solution, nothing he can do to fix “it” no matter how many times he asks. He offered to take me out tomorrow to do whatever I want on the holiest of holy days…the superbowl, in which his die hard home team is in the super bowl for the 2nd time ever in the history of football. Even if there was somewhere I wanted to go, I would never ask. I know I take enough from him, I’m not going to take away the little joys in his life.
I’m going to try and go to Vietnamese church tomorrow. I know I’ve lost touch with God ever since my dad passed away but maybe now it’s time to try to reconnect again. Maybe it’ll be good for my soul to be around Vietnamese people celebrating the New Year. Maybe I can pick up some traditional food goodies I’ve been craving this past week. I used to look down on those cheap simple foods and never cared for them. My mom used to hand make the traditional Banh Tet and Gio Thu and I never bothered to eat any, in fact I was annoyed and embarrassed she would spend DAYS cooking them to give out as gifts to all her friends. But this year is quite different, I find myself wishing I was sitting at a Vietnamese family dinner with all the traditional entrees and treats, even if it’s not with my own family, even if it were at a restaurant and I was paying people to make me the food and they weren’t just making it because they loved me.
It’s a little scary knowing in a few months, this big baby is going to have a real little baby to care for. I didn’t have much feelings about being a mom before, because I always knew I would be a good one, but tonight I feel unprepared. I have so much growing up to do myself.