Part I: My parents

Parents are funny at times.

Especially mine.

I guess, it would’ve been funnier if I wasn’t my parents’s daughter.

But I am.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents to death, but they have issues on distancing themselves from their 24-years old daughter. At times, they can drive me totally nuts, most especially my dad — who still thinks I’m 8-years old.

For example, when I first came to Taiwan, my dad requested that I email them everyday, or at least on weekdays when I have Internet access.

Isn’t it funny that for Chinese families, a “request” is never just a “request?”

Whenever I hear the word, “request,” it actually means “there-will-be-hell-to-pay-if-you-don’t-do-what-we-say.” Is it the same in your family? So once dad makes a “request,” no way can I ever say no?

Of course not!

Saying no opens up a barrage of questions (e.g., “Why not?” “What’s wrong with sending an email everyday?” “Is this how you treat your parents?!”). Worse, they’ll use the guilt card (e.g., “You’re a bad daughter.”). There’s no way I can avoid a three-hour sermon and the threat of disinheritance if I refuse the request.

So believe it or not, for peace and harmony of the family, I email my parents everyday.


I remember there was one time during my first year here, I did miss an email. I think the server was down and I didn’t have my phone. But for whatever reason, I missed an email.

That night, I got my mom’s call. My parents almost never call. They think long-distance calls are way too expensive, and try to save money whenever they can, regardless of the fact that they can easily afford it. Not that it’s wrong, but this is how a lot of conservative Chinese people are. I guess, I’m more Westernized than my parents.


“Are you okay? Is everything alright?! Are you sick? What happened?” my mom’s worried voice traveled across the miles.

It sounded as is I was on my deathbed.

Great. I felt like a bug.

I unnecessarily worried the mother to death. This was the mom who bore me and loved me unconditionally, and this is how I repay the favor. After that, I strove never to miss an email again.

It’s over two years since I started my email routine. I tell you, my parents print each and every single one of my email. They have a huge binder containing all my emails. I can actually publish a book now.

Okay, okay. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate my parents. I know my parents love me, and I love my parents too. But considering that I’m already 24-years old, that’s a a whole lot of concern for my health and well-being.

Hence, the daily emails.

And mind you, my emails are not just super-short emails that read, “I’m fine. I’m alive. Don’t worry.” Regular emails average about a page long, and especially during my first year, if I merely write just a few paragraphs, my parents would immediately email back the next day, and let me paraphrase that:

Dear XXXX,

We feel that you’re stressed out or that there’s something wrong with you there in Taipei. Is everything the matter? If there is, feel free to tell us. You know that we love you.


Mom and Dad

Great, the reason why I would write short emails was simply because I’m tired of blabbering about nothing (There’s really nothing special to write about if you wrote a page-worth of email daily) or that I’m plain lazy. And my parents think that my feelings are in jeopardy or something’s not right.

Now, I feel guilty again.


Like I said, I love my parents. But they can be so overprotective of me most of the time. I’ve lived a very sheltered life, and even now that I’m in a foreign country, they still think that I’m a baby. Tell me, how can you prove otherwise?

Sigh. There’s going to be a LOT of adjusting to do once I relocate back to Manila for good.

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