Monday, June 2, 2014

Joy Luck

When you finish reading a book that you enjoyed, it's a bittersweet feeling for me. A part of me is has already moved on, with thoughts of what next i should read. and another part of me lingers. it does not want to leave these characters, experiences, and insights just yet. you feel like you've just met them and are starting to understand a bit of who they are; and it's already time to go. so before i depart from Waverly, Jing-Mei and all of the women in The Joy Luck Club, i want to present a few of the treasures i've gained from them.

"And then it occurs to me. They are frightened. In me, they see their own daughters, just as ignorant, just as unmindful of all the truths and hopes they have brought to America. They see daughters who grow impatient when their mothers talk in Chinese, who think they are stupid when they explain things in fractured English. They see that joy and luck do not mean the same to their daughters, that to these closed American-born minds 'joy luck' is not a word, it does not exist."

+one of the key things that i took away from this book is the distance i, so often, place between my mother and i. the older i got, the more i found my mother sharing her past with me. some were stories heard many times before, and others were unlocked to me for the very first time. i would say it's one of the perks of growing up. discovering the footprints of your mom, where her feet took her when she was once a young lady wandering this world. but we forget that the steps our mothers take were even more painful that ours were. weaving in and out of all of the stories in this book captured this truth. that our mothers, our fathers- the ones who came before us- are not as far away as we think they are.

+especially being a korean-american, i can relate so well to the daughters who chose to reject rather than receive the way our mothers or fathers may be. we criticize before we even give them a chance to explain their thoughts and intentions. and if we allow ourselves to pause, and listen i think we would gain so much more. we are always wondering why we act the way we do. why not ask the person who we resemble the most? why aren't we picking their brains to discover the root of their mannerisms, gestures, and words. we would learn so much more about ourselves with a lot less pain.

"I see my reflection. I cannot see my faults, but I know they are there. I gave my daughter these faults. The same eyes, the same cheeks, the same chin. Her character, it came from my circumstances."

the circumstances that my parents went through span two different continents. the circumstances that i go through, the ones they went through are from two different generations. two different cultures and languages. but let's not let these become walls and barriers to the life that we both share.