Let’s take a break from traveling and talk about something else…
2017 was my first time traveling to China since 2005 and upon arriving, it seemed my relatives had prepared my return by digging up all those old pictures of me as a child. “Wait a minute,” I remember asking my aunt (mom’s sister) when she posted a picture of me in a group chat, “didn’t my mom transported those pictures to the U.S already?” There’s a large box full of old pictures in my basement. Well, apparent not.
When I met with my cousin (from dad’s side) and her family for the first time, they invited me to their apartment after dinner and almost immediately, my cousin’s mother began searching through her photo albums (those large brick-size albums that used to exist in the 90’s). Meanwhile, her slightly drunken father (he’s a fan of wine) went to the living room and inserted a DVD. (I think I told this story before.) He said, “Do you want to see your father?”
“Sure, why not?” I replied casually. My father passed away when I was five-year-old. I remember what he looked like from my memories of him and from looking at pictures but other than that, I have no recollection of his laugh, his voice, or anything else of him.
The DVD was of my cousin’s parents’ wedding. It was a very expensive production back then with those large and heavy camcorders but unlike my parents, her parents’ families could afford such production. Through watching the DVD, I got to fill in some blanks in my mind – my dad’s smile, voice, and how he moved.
After a while, my cousin and her mother got bored of watching the footage. “My father shows this to almost all our first-time guests.” My cousin later told me. She and her mother continued sorting through old photos and quietly, I got up and joined them.
It turned out they had a stack of photos with me in it. I suddenly felt so embarrassed looking at my younger self and wondered what happened to the girl who showed emotions in the photos and how she became someone who went from standing in front of the camera to standing behind it.
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