Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Chinese People Are Leaving

The Chinese People Are Leaving

I didn't really know them well.
But they seemed alright enough to me.
They lived just across the way.

We shared some interesting moments.
The night of the tornado they discovered that the carpet layers had sealed up their crawlspace.
They were headed to our place for shelter when another neighbor offered shelter too.

Like any traditional Chinese family they tried to stay close.
The eldest daughter had moved out and I guess shacked up with an American.
She became pregnant, but they never married.
They had the most beautiful little Amerasian baby.
The little baby is now a little toddler romping around.

The younger daughter graduated from High School last year.
She was quite popular and had a nice little graduation party.
She is quite heavily into smoking the Mary Jane - or so I've been told
by someone who shouldn't know these things, but does.

The elder father never spoke a word of English - except maybe Thanks - in my presence.
I believe he thanked me the day I helped him change his tire.
It was very cold, and in the snow we worked together - Chinese and American.
To get his family back on the road.

He was always kind of fun to watch in the summer time.
He has an electric lawn mower.
He would go out and try to mow his lawn when his lawn was still wet from the rain.
I saw him do this over and over again.
I kind of thought it was funny that he didn't seem to get it.

Sometimes I'd go out and mow my lawn in front of him.
There I was the big American with a gas mower (thanks to Dave of the 11th hour)
With no trouble at all while he was there trying to get his mower to work.

My secret is how high I set the mower - and years of experience mowing.
But I didn't believe he knew any English so I never really went over to give him tips.

The mother worked at the Mall I believe - in a restaurant.
She spoke English quite well. She told me she was from Taiwan.
Native Taiwanese - not so much Chinese.

She wanted my daughter to baby set her little baby grand daughter.
But it never seemed to work out.
She brought us hamburgers at least once from a cookout - nice lady.

She told me she didn't like the Chinese food at Buffet City, or several of the other Chinese restaurants in town because they added way too much sugar.
Everything there is too sweet - this is not authentic Chinese cooking - she told me.

They dug up nearly their entire backyard, and side yard too.
They planted these incredible gardens. Such dedication.
The mother showed me her gardens with pride.
She was also a chain smoker.

I photographed their daughter's graduation ceremony.
The mother was very proud, but she was honest about how teenagers do what they want.
She was a bit disappointed that her eldest daughter didn't go directly to college.

I don't know if her youngest is in college - maybe.

For the last several days they've been packing a large moving van.
The younger daughter and her boyfriend. The older daughter and her boyfriend and father of their little child (I believe they have two now).

They are Chinese in the sense they are pitching in together as a close family.
They will move together and stay together as a Chinese family would.

But the girls are completely Americanized - rebellious and American.

And off they will move to Florida.

Sunny Florida where it is warm, where there are jobs.

I believe they'll be moved out by the end of the weekend - maybe even tomorrow morning.
They must have decided to let their lease run out at the end of April.

I never really knew them, but I did like them.
You will be missed Chinese Family!

Best of Luck!
And may you experience no more snow, and no more tornadoes.
May your daughters mature, and turn out as you have dreamed.

And watch out for the hurricanes!

Oh yes, and make sure to raise the wheel height on your lawn mower so you can mow when the grass is a bit wet - that's a modern American secret.


ANNA-LYS said...

What a wonderful love-letter to a neighbour! <3

JeromeProphet said...

It's so nice to hear from you Anna-Lys. Thank you for commenting on my posts.

Hope you start posting again soon.


email jp






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