A Little is a Lot
The other day, I was musing over the stark contrast over the two sides of my family. On one side, I can return home and be treated like a king. I can have my slippers at my bedside, breakfast brought to me, someone to wash my face when I get up, not wash my own clothing, can order foot anytime I want and even if I really wanted to have my ass wiped for me after taking a crap. However, looking on the other side of my family, it is a major contrast… where my aunt at is working for just enough money for flat-rental and enough to cover for food. At the end of the month, savings = $0 unless it is a lucky month or they picked up some weekly sales. Their lifestyle is unhealthy, often eating fast-foods because it is cheap and easy. I saw my aunt last year when I went to visit her and boy did she ever gain weight. After my grandmother passed away a few years, there were no longer good healthy meals or broth to drink. Almost everyone in that household gained weight from poor eating habits and stress. One side is living in subsidized government housing and the other half is living in multi-…. well nevermind, you get the idea.
A few months ago, we were told my Grandfather (maternal) had been diagnosed with intestinal cancer and some other small illnesses. Given that he will be turning 90 this year, he honestly couldn’t care less and didn’t worry too much about it. He felt he lived his life, but of course my aunts would want to seek medical assistance for him. After several months of tests, surgeries, and days in the hospital, I am happy to say he’s about to return home healthy! However, because private hospitals were the only chance of him surviving, it also meant my aunt had to pay for all the medical expenses. Given my aunt normally makes just enough to cover for rental and food, she had to do major modification to finances just to make ends meet. I thought to myself the other day how brave and selfless she is and it moved me. Of course not only that, but also since he is my grandfather, the little bit I could do for him (since they’re 13,000 km’s away) is to provide some financial assistance. The money was to be sent in the form of an encouragement for him to stay strong and healthy and to give him food to buy some good food/herbs to strengthen his body and whatever left to be a “treat” to spend on whatever he likes. I sent him a few thousand dollars which to me, I could say is a lot or a little. To my dad’s side however, the minuscule amount of money I sent would be a joke, however, my mom called my aunt the other day and she was so thankful as she’d now be able to cover the hospital fees for quite a while (backdated).
I started thinking how “little” something could be to someone but “how much” something could be to another. I am not very rich myself (family is another thing) and all the money I could shell out was sent, what I hardly considered a fortune, but them, it was like I just sent them a winning lottery ticket. What I can say though is the amount of happiness I felt when she sent her words of gratitude just took my breath away. Although I recognize that sending money is not really the best way to show care for my grandfather, it is all I can do for now until I return to Hong Kong later this year. I also told me mom that we’d hold a “big 90th birthday” celebration for him – because surely, it is not everyday that families are able to celebrate a 90th birthday together. To think of how little my mom’s side can live on while looking at the way my dad’s side spends money and the wealth we’re submerged in really makes makes my head spin! I think about some of the meals we eat and realize the money we spent could likely be an entire family’s monthly meal on my mom’s side. Oh, how life is unfair sometimes.
Today I was called on an emergency by one of my uncles to help one of his nieces. We’re “relatives” so technically, the girl I was helping isn’t really a cousin – but certainly, in Chinese culture I would definitely consider her “one of my own” – especially because we did spend time together as kids when they lived in Canada. Nevertheless, I felt very happy today because of the gratitude she showed. She insisted on paying me for my services to help her fix her computer (well and I had to travel about 100 km’s) but she did treat me to lunch. I should mention it isn’t one of those “cheapie” Japanese restaurants, it was a nice upscale REAL Japanese restaurant… not all-you-can-eat, but the ones that cost an arm and a leg for each item, lol. Whenever I eat out with people, I still look for the “worth” of an item and do not order frivolously just because I’m not paying. She found it awkward I ate only a sashimi bento. Nevertheless, the sashimi was amazing and seriously, I think I’m addicted to it, hahaha. But anyways,back to the point was that coming from a rich family, she ordered food likes nuts (even though she couldn’t finish it) and chose an expensive place to eat, where as I, would’ve chosen a more modest place!
I think today, we were both very happy. She showed so much gratitude and appreciation and kept on thanking me throughout the day for helping her with her computer problems. Although it was a pretty expensive drive to her place and effectively killed the time I had off today, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. Although I am not a doctor keeping people alive everyday or in a very prestigious job, I feel overly excited when people take the time to show genuine appreciation. I am turning older in a few days and that’s gotten me very down… but the past few days of doing “good deeds” have really lifted up my spirits. I truly want to believe that building good karma will help me along life, staying happy, mentally healthy and help develop my love-life. Does being a good person really result in good fortunes happening? Well, we’ll find out to see if I can really move the girl of my dreams one day… someday soon hopefully!
Good night everyone, hope today was as good for everyone as it was for me! Better yet, I have tomorrow off, so time to sleep in!
Posted on March 21, 2010, in Personal and tagged Blog, Chinese, Family, Family Life, Friends, Friendship, Grandfather, Hong Kong, Japanese Food, My Life, People, Personal, Relationship, Sashimi, Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.