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A pretentious humble


I stayed in a five-star hotel. Maybe not 5 stars but 4 to say the least. Very white of us living in an American hotel than in the actual village. I’m not complaining though, everything is just great. Service is amazing, sometimes I find myself embarrassed that the people would do all the stuff for me. The gyms great, very clean and a lot of equipment, anything you could ask for. The swimming pool is huge, they even have lanes. Around 7 o’clock I went to the gym (not usual but it was only because of my jet lag) and I saw couple people already training. They looked like some kind of swim team. Oh the breakfast, I don’t know how to even describe it. Gourmet. They have everything you want, all the American breakfast, and the traditional Chinese stuff. They got things from fried noodles to fried vegetables, congee, corn congee, hard boiled egg in tea, noodles, udon, more noodles, buns, a shit ton of buns, red pork bun, piggy head shaped buns, steam red
Bean bun, steamy creamy custard bun, smashed bean bun, barbecued bun, any buns you want in your belly, they got braised pork knuckles, all for breakfast. Not to say you get a nice view of a man-made waterfall out the huge window. Everyone in the room is so rich, so damn rich. It’s funny because if you see them in a different outfit you would never think they would be super rich, they all have designer clothes, Gucci shoes, bags all of that trendy stuff. I’m here in a red shirt from American eagles and a red pair of vans, but the way I dress helped me blend in I guess. Who would want to leave? It’s like a palace in here, but in all serious matter, who would want to go outside into the deep heavy smog? My family called this place a green industrial area, my ass. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to come out rude but really the place isn’t that “green”. You see all these luxury cars and they all look cool but there’s one problem, they’re covered in dust. All these tall skyscrapers it’s amazing to look at but the smog that covers it destroy the view. That made me question do people in China really think this place is really healthy? I mean my cousin has been coughing a lot and so has my dad, he sneezes every 2 minutes. Worries me a bit that my family is here.

So we hugged goodbye, it was awkward. Nobody really knew what to say, and the time was very rushed. The only people that I really wanted to say bye to where my cousins Iola and Handel, I talked to them the most during this crazy one and a quarter trip  to Guiyang. Everybody else, my aunts, uncles, and cousins didn’t really know how to say goodbye, I felt this sense that they wanted something from me before I go, or wanted to tell me something. It’s funny that the only way I felt they knew how to be a family was load my brother and me with money. Tons of money. I tried to refuse every single one but I couldn’t, they weren’t going to give up. But then they all gave it to my brother because apparently he thought it was the right thing to do. I understand that all those money was just a little gift to help us and to show us love. But honestly we didn’t need it, at least I didn’t. I felt the love already when I first saw all of them and that was enough, the time they spent with me and my brother was the best gift they could’ve given, somehow they still felt the need to give us money. Money, money, money, I’m a bit tired of seeing them now. I’m getting tired that every time I see my family they have to give us money, it’s a little appreciation they say, but why!? I don’t understand, they all have little kids to raise, even my little sister, he can keep those money and get enough to come to America, a way better place. I guess I’m just tired of seeing these type of materialistic relationships, tired. I’m on my way to see my mom sided family now, who I’m really close with and who I really feel like it’s family. It’s a two hour car ride so I have some time to think back.

First night my brother and I arrived at GuiYang airport it was my dad, a cousin of mine, Handel (who’s also my cousin) and my little sister Angela who came to pick us up. As we walked out to where the people greet each other I spotted my dad right off the bat. It was weird, 7 years no see, everybody got so short. My dad spotted us right away too and he clapped in the air 2 times either for us to notice him or just out of pure excitement. I love my dad, I do, but it’s been so long that I haven’t seen him, almost half of my life I haven’t seen him, that’s pretty strange to think about. So my cousin drove us to the restaurant where all the family was at and I have to say an average American driver would not survive if they drive in China. It’s like New York City in the subways but with cars. We got to the restaurant and I hesitated to walk in, I didn’t know what to expect, or what they expected out of me. “AYY THEYRE HERE” “OH MY GOD LOOK AT YOU” “YOU GREW SO TALL”
I laughed after every sentence and said thank you.
“Do you remember me? I’m..”
“Oh hi” I laughed
“I remember when you were so young!”
“I barely have any memory”
“You gotta call me…”
“Okay”
“What do you call me??”
“Umm”
“I miss you so much you know that”
“Yeah! I miss… you too..!”
“You know who this is? Your sisters, that’s… thats… and that’s… you guys were all together when you guys were young!”
“Oh hi.. good to see you!”
“We’ve been waiting for you for so long!”
“Sorry.. haha the plane ride was long”
“Did you eat?”
“Oh I’m not…”
“Oh you got to eat”
“No thanks I’m not really…”
“Go tell the waiters to bring in some more food”
“No you gotta eat”
“Okay”
Let’s just say it was chaotic, people were drunk, a very strong smoke smell. Then I greeted Handel, Iola, and their dad who I met for the first time. They were the only calm ones and really the ones who I wanted to talk to. But I sat down pretty quietly, I wouldn’t initiate any conversations unless they talk to me. I just blamed a lot of my face expressions on jet lag. I mean it was part of the reason why I was so off that time. We didn’t eat, the restaurant closed and they weren’t serving food. My cousin drove me, my dad and my brother to the hotel first, Hyatt. The five star hotel I mentioned up top. 1000 and a little more RMB for one night, it sounds like a lot but I mean I guess it pretty good price when converted into dollars. We settled in our room and our dad came up with our cousin. We talked for 2 minutes and then, money. My dad tired to give us money. A good amount too. I wanted to refuse it but no matter what I try I have no influence on it.
then he gave it to my brother. I’m getting annoyed at my brother, have some balls and turn them down. We’ve accepted their love but money was not necessary. I guess whatever my family was saying was just to cruel to fight with. They would say “so you don’t think me as a family” if I don’t accept their money. Holy shit I’m STUCK. I know that they’re not super wealthy but they’re proving to me that they’re doing well, probably because my dad and my mom split and they just want to show me their side of family isn’t doing so bad against my mom. But I don’t need the money to see that, I hate the money, I hate it, never had I ever had to say that. But my dad trying to shove me with money, I don’t know. I want someone just come down and explain the right thing to do. Was there a right thing? Later that night it was 12 already, we drove to our cousin’s house. Just saying I have a lot of cousins, I can’t remember their names but if I have one specific I’d note him or her. But my cousin lived in a nice apartment, everyone was there. After a while of talking they were all enjoying their fun time. We sat in a circle and played this game where we randomly gets a card, the card has a specific value and there’d be a gift and who ever wants it would have to bet his card, who ever bet that has the highest value gets the gift. We laughed, had fun and got gifts. I had Ace, which was the highest value card there is, so if I wanted a gift I could’ve got it, but I didn’t bet anything. I walked out to the balcony and my aunt was sitting on one of those massage chairs, she was sitting up but her whole upper body was leaned over. She looked like she had passed away, I felt a bit fear because I thought of what if it was actually true. I went over and asked her if she was okay, she said yes. Right away she gripped my hand and wouldn’t let go, I didn’t hold on tight in the beginning but as she held on longer I did too. She was upset, I didn’t really know why. It was after five minutes of her talking and crying that I noticed the puke in the garbage can next to her, she drank too much, that’s why she was leaned forward like the way she was. She was she was upset because nobody went to her, specially her husband, my uncle, who she called a couple times but nobody did anything. I felt disgusted for a bit right there and then. All of us were partying having fun while we were literally 5 feet around the corner of someone who’s throwing up and wanted some help. Not just that it was a solid 15 minutes of just me and her alone before people came out and stayed with her. Sometimes a cousin would come out to answer a phone call and walk right back in, what the fuck, nobody cared? My aunt was telling me how she’s upset that her husband doesn’t really care about her. I could feel her loneliness. She started talking about marring into the Ao family and how she wants to be part of this family so bad. I really wanted to tell her, why the fuck you care about being part of the family? Who wants the last name Ao anyways? It belongs to the periodic table. Just be happy with yourself and be with who makes you happy, that’s all you gotta do. I didn’t say it because there were my cousins there and I didn’t want to disrespect them. I don’t know. It just made me think that, are they really happy? There was so much more that I saw and a lot of seems like they were just pretending. Why pretend? They’re caught in this trap called bloodline. I don’t really understand the importance of bloodline, but is it more important than happiness? It seems like my dad sides family take the word respect to such an extent that it can override their joy. Why?

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