Things said. Things unsaid.

I called my mom the other day to wish her happy birthday.

She said it wasn’t her birthday yet.

I talked to my dad. It was the first time I’ve talked to him since arriving in London.

He asks me if it’s cold.

He asks me what I’ve been eating.

He asks me if I’ve lost weight.

I said I have.

He sounded heart-broken and told me to eat more.

I started tearing up.

He says he’s finally retiring (again). And that that day was his last day at work.

He asks me how my job situation’s going.

I told him I’m still struggling but very happy that I’ve had a very successful first real interview on Monday and that I’ve been invited to go back for a second interview.

He says that if things are too hard, I can just go back to school. Just talk to mom and they’ll help me (financially).

I said I do want to study. I’ve always been intending to pursue a further degree. I just don’t know what in.

He says, if you’re interested in writing, why don’t you go do English or English Literature or whatever?

I said it’s gonna be very costly, and what am I going to do with an MA in English? I don’t want to graduate and go back to square one again. With no clear direction and not knowing what I want to do.

What I didn’t say was, he’s retiring, and there’s no income in the entire household. I can’t be selfish and take a big chunk out of what he’s worked so hard to save over the years.

He then said something he’s never said before.

He said, it doesn’t matter whether you’ll graduate with a professional degree or career path or not. It matters what you like and that you’re interested in what you study.

I felt a tear drop from my eyes.

For so many years, I’ve been told to put profession, security and income over everything else.

Graduating from high school, I was told to go into medicine, law or business. I didn’t.

For years after uni., he told me of his friends’ kids who earn such and such doing accounting, who can find jobs easily doing programming, who earn big bucks in finance.

He didn’t mean it, but I always felt he mean to say I studied the “wrong” thing.

Now, he tells me everything doesn’t matter anymore, as long as I love and enjoy what I do.

I cried.

When I was in school in Thailand, and I saw my parents a year or two later, and realize how they’ve aged in such a short span of time. I silently cried.

I cried for the day I might lose them.

Now, I could hear the age in his voice and I know I won’t be seeing him anytime soon.

I dread the day my heart breaks when I see him again.

A few days later, through MSN, my brother asks me how much Centrum A to Z vitamins cost here.

I said I don’t know.

He says they cost HK$183 for 100 tablets in HK.

I said, ok, I’ll check if I come across them. I asked him how much they want me to buy and send if they’re cheap enough.

He says, no. They don’t want any.

Mom told him to tell me to buy some for myself.

5 thoughts on “Things said. Things unsaid.

  1. Since being across an ocean from my parents, I can relate. I have this fear that something bad will happen to my parents and I won’t be there in time. Or when I do come home, they’ll think I’ve changed too much, and vice versa. I’m paranoid about my parents getting older, and sometimes cry just because I’m a weirdo about worrying over things I can’t control. Do you talk to your parents on Skype? I’ve found that’s helped me immensely.

  2. You know what, thats bothered me too. I’m considering doing an externship in Germany but that would mean it would be another year till I’m home and I just have this terrible fear of being so far from my parents and g’ma… although I am in Cali now which is also far from my home in the East Coast. I want to travel but at the same time, I’m scared.

  3. Your Dad truly wants you to be happy, he is lovely :) I want you to be happy too, but I suggest you studied something more useful than English lit… I did that, the course was great, lots of fabulous books, drama, poetry, and then… CUSTOMER SERVICE for a few years… If I could start again I would study something much more concrete, like hotel management, or phisiotherapy, or plumbing…. ;)

  4. Sarah:
    Talk about worrying about things I can’t control…I bet we could sit around and have a mope-fest together! Ha!

    No, I don’t talk to them on Skype. In fact, I hardly ever talk to them. I’ve had this thing where I have to prove it to them that I can be successful here, and not be a failure, since they weren’t too supportive about me coming here in the first place.

    But of course that’s a stupid mentality…and yes, I’m terrified of them getting old.

    It’s funny coz when I’m with my family, I can’t stand them and wish to be away. But once I’m away, I miss having them around.

    I don’t know what your story is, but just from the look of it, I’ll say pop back home, see your family, then head out to Germany. Like you say, family is important, but I’d also think that there are some things you can only do once in your life.

    Yeah, I know what you mean. That’s why I resist doing English. It is indeed romantic and all being able to do what you love regardless of consequences, but at the end of the day, we all have to eat.

    And yes, I have thought about physiotherapy too! To me, it’s an ideal combination of sports science (sort of), nursing (sort of) and caring interaction with other human beings. :)

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