My parents met in the university through a mutual friend. My dad had just graduated from the Navy Academy and had started working as a merchant marine. My mom was becoming a medical doctor and doing her residency at the hospital. Both were living in Dalian, China at the time.
After a mutual friend introduced them, they dated for 2 years mostly on the weekends because they were very busy. After meeting each other’s parents and they decided to get married.
My mom had many men chasing after her but chose my dad because he didn’t have any bad habits like smoking, gambling, and drinking. He was well-educated with a master’s degree (which was rare in China at the time and why Chinese people obsess over education now because they saw how education could lift people out of poverty). And lastly, he wasn’t wasteful with his money, which was a value that appealed to my mom.
Their relationship was mostly long-distance even after they got married and had me. He was on the ocean for 6 months at a time and my mom would be busy working and teaching at the hospital. When I was three, my mom left to study in Manchester and Cambridge which made seeing each other even harder. Every few months, she would call home by spending a fistful of her hard-earned golden coins (8x£1) to make a one-minute long-distance phone from the UK to China just to hear our voices. This separation lasted for 3 years.
We were united around the time the Berlin Wall fell.
It was only then when we all truly started living together and seeing each other on a regular basis. Growing up with them, I came to understand how vastly different two people can view travel.
My mom views travel as a positive. To her, it’s exciting. It makes her feel alive. It is what makes living beautiful– to see the world, to explore new places, people, and cultures.
Just take a look at her. I think this picture says it all.
|A Photo Of My Mom|
My dad, on the other hand, has absolutely no desire to travel. He would always say “pay money to endure hardships.” To him, happiness is to sleep. It’s to lie in bed all day.
There is no right and wrong, just two different perspectives. They both worked really, really hard. My mom had 3 jobs at one time: scientist (9-5), hotel maid (weekends), and overnight caregiver (nights). My dad would collect coals that fell off trains along the railroad tracks after work. So I don’t think it’s a matter of being too tired to travel.
I was thinking about this recently because sometimes people would tell me Fairytrail is stupid. Why should I date someone farther away when there’s people to date near me? To me, that sounds like my dad. Why should I leave this bed of mine when I can be so comfortable AND save money?
Then there’s people like my mom. She sees the world as a gift and something to be experienced and appreciated. I am largely in this camp. When I meet incredible people and have amazing experiences, it makes me feel alive and in love with life. Sure, it’s more effort and cost more money, but isn’t that what makes life beautiful?
We are only on this planet for a while, so for me, I’m going to be kind to people around me and enjoy myself while I’m here. I’m going to appreciate those who love me and cherish all the fragile, beautiful moments that life brings me.
Written by Taige Zhang
Founder of Fairytrail