Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Asia Vacation 2015: Day 3

Onto Day 3. Wednesday, February 11th, was an interesting one. We were off to another ceremony (there are a lot of those around the holiday!), but this time we were visiting my grandfather on my father's side. I'm not sure what I expected, having been there before, but it was eye opening.

The first time we went over in 2009, it was just my grandfather, his son (my uncle) and daughter (my aunt). This time around, there were these little kids there! Not related to me whatsoever, they took to my sisters and I quickly. Or perhaps it was our cameras they took to since they just loved taking pictures.

Either way, we were enamored by them. But it only took some time and eavesdropping on the conversation from the adults to pick out the unfortunate upbringing of these little bundles of happiness.

There was this six-year-old girl, bright as the sun with such an enigmatic smile. It's hard to think that she had an abusive father. She and her mother left him, but those type of memories are something you can't ever run away from.

Then there was this little guy. Only three, he was quiet, shy, and polite, but loved to hold hands. And yet his father didn't want him. Rather he left him and his mother and took up a new wife and child. Replacing them like broken dishes.

Even my own aunt, had a disabled full grown son. He couldn't walk. Couldn't speak. Spending his days at home. He would never see the rest of his country. He would never see any other part of the world. He wouldn't even get to see a movie in a theater.

It's difficult after learning their stories not to notice the difficult cards life had dealt them. Tiny, skinny, with scabby feet, they didn't come from a wealthy family, but a hardworking one. And yet, a hardworking one may not be able to provide them with the opportunities to build a better future.

It's definitely something that hits close to home. As a child with a single immigrant parent, I knew it wasn't an easy task to make ends meet. Yet in a country of opportunity, there's always the chance to rise above. But in a country devastated by war, with the majority of families low income, the odds for them are stacked even higher.

These are things we already know, but not something we encounter on a everyday basis. So when you come across kids like these, you can't help but feel for them. You want to help, but sometimes help can only go so far.

It's encounters like these that really humble a person. I found myself that night counting my lucky stars that I was blessed with a loving family and a courageous mother who conquered land and sea to a place where we could grow to our full potential. Though we were not rich, we were rich in love, and memories.

That night at my grandpa's house on my mom's side, I took comfort that though I wasn't fortunate to see our extended family on a daily basis, I would take these few days to heart. It's in the limited time you have with people and even the day-to-day menial things that really are the best. Like roasting clams on the sidewalk and eating skewered shrimp. The small snippets in time where you are completely yourself and bare, enjoying the moment.


  1. A really touching post, Michelle. The kids' stories just break my heart (I'm a teacher, and I teach their ages). I'm glad they're in happier places now.

    1. Thanks Alex! Definitely is heartbreaking. And I applaud you for teaching. It was my teachers growing up that really shaped and contributed to the person I am today. I still remember all of them!

  2. Oh, I love this so much! It's so great that the kids are in a more stable environment now. You never know why you meet people or how they'll touch your life. :)

    1. Yes exactly! Sounds cheesy, but sometimes I really think things happen for a reason.

  3. A touching post. It's amazing how fast meeting situations like these shoves ones own life into a whole new perspective.