I’ve been living abroad for the last 7 years. I’ve been travelling extensively, I’ve been stuck in tricky situation and I’ve lost my credit card at least twice. However, my dad normally never worries about me. Like, really. I go home to see my family once a year and then we catch up.
It is not the same with mom. Not at all. Mom and I are on the phone at least once a week and we email each other quite often. But dad.. well dad. Is just dad. He knows what he has to know via mom. So he never calls me. And rarely emails. Unless something really bad has happened.
Obviously, I freak out at those occasions. Like once, during my first work trip to China. I was in Beijing doing an interview when my mobile buzzed, and when I picked up it was dad!
-What’s wrong?! I exclaimed.
-Are you safe? He replied.
-Of course I am dad, I am actually in the middle of something… and why are u asking if I am safe?
-Well I read about a typhoon in China!
-But dad, I am in Beijing. The typhoon is in south China!
-Well you never know!
No, I guess you never know.
Just the other day, something similar occurred. I was typing away on my computer when my mobile phone rang and I saw it was dad.
-Has someone died? (I couldn't help myself. It was my instant reaction when I picked up the phone!)
-No, but I have something important to discuss with you. One of my clients is heading to Shanghai and I told him you live there and that you work for the Swedish Chamber of Commerce. So he really wants to meet you!
-Dad, I live in SUZHOU, and I DON’T work for the Swedish Chamber of Commerce. I went to ONE of their seminars.
-But you have contacts there, right?
-Well it doesn’t matter! You’ve been to their seminar, you know the drill! I am sure he’ll be interested to meet you anyways! You can tell him about doing business in China!
-But I don’t do business in China!
-But you can speak Chinese!
-Yes, but that has nothing to do with doing business in China?
-Well, let him just take you out for dinner! I am sure it can be useful.
-Okay dad, but you know I have moved from Shanghai to Suzhou.
-Where’s Suzhou? Can you take a bus or a taxi to Shanghai?
-It’s a two hour trip by car from Suzhou to Shanghai. I guess I can take a train…
-Excellent! Yes! You take that train! I will give him your number okay?
Like I said. My dad never calls me unless he has something really important to say.
Me, mom and dad at a karaoke bar in Shanghai.