Relatives

Remember the picture of great-grandmother? And remember how there is no picture of great-grandfather? They claim that he never came back to China after he left so they have no picture of him. Our great-grandfather was the son who became a success and never looked back. The story goes that he had a brother who was the dutiful son and who stayed home to look after the family, including his brother’s wife. His descendants ended up inheriting the ancestral home. You can see it behind us on the left picture. The men standing with me and Sheila are the grandsons of our great-grandfather’s brother. They have kept the family home intact, built their own brick homes around it, and preserved its original structure and style. They gave us a short history of our family (as much as we could understand them) and knew our fathers’ names, even knowing that the eldest (our dad) is now living in America.

One thing is for sure, they know more about us than we know about them! The baby in the picture is the latest addition to their brood. He is a cute one! He represents the continuation of the family line on their side, the same way we continue ours in other parts of the world outside of China. They suggested that we bring back a photo album the next time we come to visit them so they will be updated on our lives abroad. They had invited us to stay for lunch and stay for the night, but we had a taxi waiting to take us back to Xiamen. It was a very brief visit, but a meaningful one for Terence, Sheila, and me. Our uncles certainly treated us like family, and even though it was the first time we met them, it certainly felt like we were family.

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