erin!

United States

叶安灵 // 16, 2022 // she-her-hers
hey hey

Message to Readers

This piece is my thank you for 70 followers. It means a lot to me, so I wanted to share more about myself as a display of gratitude.

Thank you for everything. In the past two months, I've written more and been more excited about different ideas than I have in a long, long time. Much love, Erin <3

seventy onward

August 31, 2020

FREE WRITING

22

My father was born in the year 1970, the first son to a geologist and paleontologist whose lives were filled with digging and being far from home. His earliest memory is a train ride from Beijing to Shanghai, being dropped off at his grandparents’ home for an extended stay.

I’ve seen pictures of him as a baby, round and full of light and joy. The year 1970 was not a time of wealth or happiness for the country at large, but for my father, it was a wonderful beginning to a fulfilling life.

70% was a test grade my mother often received on her English exams in high school. Smart without trying and a favorite student for that reason, she would sneak out at lunchtime and slip into the streets of the city. Beijing in the 70s was vibrant but quaint, the hole-in-wall noodle shops serving as sanctuaries for a teenage girl ditching class to have fun. She did not care to study when she knew she could fly by without any flapping from her wings.

My mother’s name means “tall sailboat” in Chinese because my grandparents had a dream that their children would make it to America. They knew that in the United States, the beautiful country, people had white, shiny smiles. They drank sugary sodas and had freedoms so liberating that the Chinese government kept them a secret from their citizens. If everybody knew about how great America was, everybody would want to be there. And so my grandparents predestined their first daughter at birth, giving her the strength to move across oceans and live her life far away from the northern capital.

I turned five years old in the same year that both of my grandfathers turned 70. My maternal grandfather always sends me handwritten cards that he scans and emails the night before. My paternal grandfather visits more often, and we enjoy practicing tai-chi in the backyard together. I am not like them. They have lived greater stories that I have. They placed their dreams into their children because they believed it was too late for them to fulfill their own. They take immense pride in having an American granddaughter, while I sometimes struggle with having Chinese grandfathers who seem so far away.

My mother speaks English now, and my father is still full of light and joy. Their stories began in the 70s and have since been translated into a foreign language. They have a daughter and a son, one who loves to write and the other passionate about building secret worlds in video games. In half a century, two families have merged and made a new generation. We can only be grateful.
 
*In Chinese, the word for "America" is equivalent to meaning "beautiful country"
* The northern capital 
is a nickname that refers to Beijing

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  • August 31, 2020 - 9:54pm (Now Viewing)

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7 Comments
  • outoftheblue

    gods this is just so beautifully written, as always. i've loved your writing style because of how honest and introspective it is- congrats on 70 followers, here's to many, many more! <3


    3 months ago
  • spurtsofdarkness

    this is so great, also imagine putting in so much time to write this beautiful post just to see you just gained another follower lmao anyways congrats! :)


    3 months ago
  • journal.scribbles

    Congrats on 70+!!! This is such a unique and cohesive piece. I love how you express the significance of the number 70 in your past.

    Replying (it’s been a few days, sorry!): Thank you so much for the kind comment- wait, I mean, grrrr! Mortal enemy, you! How dare you compliment my writing, you filthy orchestra kid! XD


    3 months ago
  • Rohan’s Defender

    Congratulations! This piece is so sweet and beautiful!


    3 months ago
  • Anne Blackwood

    Congrats on 70 followers! Your following has grown so quickly, and I feel like a proud cousin because of it. Here's to 70 more!


    3 months ago
  • inanutshell

    this piece has so many layers to it and is incredible, as usual. congrats on 70! you deserve every single one of the seventy & so much more. keep writing! :)


    3 months ago
  • sunny.v

    congrats on 70!! you, of course, deserve it--your writing style is so lovely and unabashed, and it inspires me to be more honest with myself than i tend to be. here's to so many more followers since you deserve them all!


    3 months ago