If you do not know the correlation between the two numbers above, cherish that ignorance.
Sometimes these numbers vary depending on the time of the year, but they all come automatically into my head.
They represent, only visually, the distance between me and my beloved family. Don’t be fooled, because they don’t actually tell you much about the feelings of finally realizing every fleeting moment that I am actively away from my family. It is exciting, sad, joyful, relieving…it is complicated and cannot be condensed or summarized.
Today is the most important reunion celebration back home, but we are exactly 13 hours and 12,576 kilometers apart. A tremendous thank you to the powerful 4th generation wireless network, so I could at least pretend to be celebrating with my family.
5:50am, the world on the East Coast is mostly asleep, but I run out into the hallway to pick up my sister’s video call.
“Hello? Can you hear me?”
“AHH SHE PICKED IT UP. SAY HI! HAPPY NEW YEAR WOOHOO!”
The joyous noise from the other side of the screen compares to my almost-soundless side at 6am is always overwhelming. The jumping electrical dots on the screen penetrate through my mind and magnifies the distance between me and my family. Screenshots of my drowsy eyes and their bright-dazzling smiles become our annual family photo on the Lunar New Year’s Eve. A bunch of silliness and a light touch of melancholy. My grandma couldn’t hear me so well, and I joking ask for my red envelopes know that they only wish I was there with them. The call ends abruptly because they need to start the first dinner of the year. Silence returns to my room and the day is just slowly waking up. No matter how many years gone by, it never gets easier but only becomes more routine-like. I used to not dare telling them I miss them on the New Year, because, well , some kind of teenage timid and stubbornness.
Of course, it is not all regrets. I have found many other families scattered around this wide wild world. The only difference is that I cherish my new families knowing the strength of kindness, and I stutter when I want to profess love and gratitude to My Family. How ironic.
I couldn’t say this enough, shyly, loudly, whichever touches your heart.
I love you. May joy and health fills our year!