All I have left to do is to scan and send my certs off, and then I’ll be waiting for Gaba to let me know if they are going to hire me after all. I want to go to Japan to teach. I want to fly. I want to reach my dreams. This is the road I have chosen, this is the road I’m taking. Now that it’s so close, I’m terrified of it coming true. There’s so much left in this life, so much more things to do…
My parents were lecturing me yesterday on my life. Me and my brother both, but especially me because I think I’m a big disappointment to them. In the past five years I’ve held at least 3 jobs, and now I’m currently jobless. To them, I’m unstable; I’m heading down the same path my father and two of his brothers have taken, that of being unemployed for the sake of principles. He doesn’t want me to float and struggle to survive as how he has had to. I think, to an extent, he feels obligated to my mother that I not end up the same way, that a woman has to support the family, or that I have to depend on someone else to survive.
“Your principles won’t mean anything when you need to eat,” he reminds me.
Not that I have any intention of letting myself get that far. Starving is painful, and it’s not something you subject to your family. It’s especially not something you do voluntarily (fasting is a completely different issue in this case). No, it comes down to the fact that he and my mother wish a stable job for myself, a job where I don’t have to worry about being fed with a roof over my head.
“Where will you be when you’re forty? After your time in Japan, then what? Don’t tell me you want to be like your father, nothing!” This was a term my father and mother both used to describe my dad, that he was nothing after all this time. He’s still struggling to make ends meet, still struggling to find a way to survive. My mom is paying off the bills that were incurred when my father went into business.
I told my mother the answers that she did not want to hear. That everything I was doing now was to prevent those from happening. But I did not tell her the true reason. Why do I want to travel? Why not just get a “stable” job and sit with a company for about 10 years or so? Make my way up the career ladder? What they want for me is what every parent of their generation wants for their children; they wanted their kids to earn enough money to have a nice roof over their heads, money for education, and money for a good car and the occasional holiday. Perfectly normal and sane dreams, except for one single fact.
This is not what I want.
I don’t want a safe life. That is not for me. I want a life where I can tell stories to my children, stories to my nephew and nieces, stories to tell the next generation. I don’t want a life where the past is forgotten, where the only time it is brought up is so that it can be used to put another person down. I don’t want a life where I would feel embarassed by my life’s choices. I don’t want a life where I censor myself simply because it’s not something that’s normally done.
That is not the life for me.
I have big dreams. Big in the sense that it is probably something my family, extended and close, have never really thought about. My grandparents have travelled around the four corners of the globe. They’ve been to Europe, China, the US and New Zealand. My godfather has gone beyond that. My eldest cousin and his wife have been to the UK. The rest of the family? Many are content to simply sit in Malaysia, or to travel to Singapore and Thailand when the church takes them. Or if the mood does so.
That is not what I want.
My grandmother, if nothing else, has a wanderlust. My grandfather was a railway master. They both loved to travel, to see new things, to explore places. My grandmother never complained about having to move house multiple times when she was younger. My grandfather enjoyed taking the few minutes walk down to the local coffee shop (kopitiam) to socialise with his friends. Whether my parents realised it or not, when they put me in my grandparents’ care, I became more like my grandparents than I did my parents.
But that’s a story for another time.