A desperate confession.
I’m 23, and have been working for one year. I have lived alone in another city and in another country before, for study and for work. But I have to break my parent’s heart to go travel, as long as my companion is not them.
If you do a search on this topic on some online forum of Taiwan, you will often find similar complaints.
OK case if I’m hanging out with a friend. Worse is that I’m travelling with my boyfriend.
Even if we’ve been together for 2 years, even if my parents have seen him and talked to him before.
My parent are just super-reluctant to the idea.
In some cases of Asian parent, they shout, they’re mad as hell and that becomes a family revolution.
In my household it is slightly better. They’re not screaming and kicking me out of the house, but you can just feel their emotion. That strong unhappiness, sadness, and worriedness, as if they are betrayed deeply and it’s the end of the world.
I tried to ignore that emotion permeated throughout our place, but it’s just impossible.
Here was our conversation.
Me: I’m going out with Pat (my boyfriend) for a 2-day trip next week.
I’m already at a loss. I don’t know why someone needs to ask why if I want to go on a trip.
Me: Because I feel like want to go travel and relax a bit, and so does he.
And now here’s silence with their serious-but-trying-to-act-like-nothing-happens face.
Mom: Just you two?
I’m wearing my “is there any problem?” face. Now silence again, but I can almost hear the sound of their heart sinking, and I have to keep myself from rolling my eyes.
Dad: Where are you going to sleep at night?
Me: I don’t know yet. We haven’t searched for a place. Probably just a hostel.
Silence again. I don’t understand why they always have to leave this awkward, suffocating silence in the room!
Dad: Hey! Why don’t you sleep at Mickey’s (a friend of mine) place? That will be a better idea than sleeping outside alone, right?
I couldn’t stand it anymore and left the living room after giving him a smile. I really wanted to shout at that time. The whole thing is just unbelievably awkward. How can he propose such a thing that doesn’t make any sense?
HOW AM I GOING TO SLEEP AT MY FRIEND’S HOME, WITH HER PARENT AND GRANDPARENT, AND WITH MY BOYFRIEND, when we are travelling and my friend’s working?
There are tons of more traditional family in Taiwan than mine. I heard stories of quarrelling with parents every day, because they aren’t allowed to be out after 7 p.m., have a boyfriend before 22, go travelling with friends, and many other ridiculous reasons.
I could say my parents are already quite open-minded, but I still have to face a situation like this constantly.
Communication is not the key, it just doesn’t work the way it should. I have been communicating with my parent for 20 years, and every time it fails.
Those were genuine, open-minded, sincere communication — we sat down and talked for hours, calmly, trying to figure out their concern and what made them unhappy, without being emotional and uncontrolled. There were no shouting or fighting.
But it never turned out in an ideal and happy way. They insisted on their idea, thinking travelling is dangerous, and I insisted on mine. Even if the communication went that calmly, I can still feel they’re hurt. They’re hurt because I’m going out to do a “dangerous” thing in their mind and keep them worried.
Every time we have to go through this “communication” process and end up their being hurt and me feeling hurt too because they’re hurt.
I love my parent and I love the moment when we’re travelling, talking to each other, watching TV, and doing activities at home.
But I just can’t change their mind about everything. That makes sense too because they have been the way they are for 40–50 years.
And I’m afraid it will be a constant dilemma that will never be solved in life. A burden that human being has to take, for the family’s sake.