The Chinese Way

Part of growing up is learning to be apart. I haven’t been home in over a week and it’s taken a toll on my family members, most especially my siblings. We are a close knit bunch of separatists. While growing up, we were all in boarding school such that the only time we have ever been together at home is as recent as 2014. 2014 marked the year when all my parents’ children all lived under the same roof for the whole year without being apart and as we slowly enjoyed the togetherness, we are now all old enough to leave the coop.

I’ve been away from home a week now I get calls from my siblings, which didn’t happen before, because we were never around each other to have a decent conversation. We don’t know how to be siblings other than to be siblings. Our relationships are like strange tides, we know how to be siblings yet we choose our own solace. We know how to be siblings by being apart. But 2014 changed all that. We became one instead of five. We enjoyed our silence and presence which we had never been and we enjoyed it. We learnt how to become one instead of individuals and one week away from home has shown that we are still enjoying that being we now don’t know how to be apart. 

On site today, I met some Chinese contractors. They were so far away from home and yet they felt right at home. They had turned the site into their home and they had installed some cultural ornaments all over the place. It looked amazing. They were growing their own vegetables, they had made their own furniture, they had a fruit garden, they were right at home. They even cooked for themselves. While they worked and went about their things on site, one of them would walk away and go water the plants, weed the garden, do, little mulching and planting. They even had seedling beds for carrots and onions. 

Amazed at how simple the things that made them feel at home, I was inspired to start doing the same thing. I want to start my own little vegetable garden, I want to design and build my own furniture. I want to make my space my home. Maybe I can learn the Chinese way. Maybe I should learn the Chinese way. 

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