Saturday, March 18, 2006

Reunion

After more than 20 years, our family finally reunites and lives in, at least, the same country again.

My brother officially immigrated to the US this week. For a long time, he'd always wanted to come to the US but never been able to get a visa. Now, for the first time in over 20 years, he stepped foot on American soil and literally kissed the ground. Los Angeles is his new home now. The first thing he did was order French fries from McDonald's. Typical. (Disclaimer: yes, there are McDonald's in Hong Kong. But he ordered fries from a McDonald's in America! That's the kick.)

It's been a bittersweet journey, and an interesting odyssey. First, it was I who came to this country by myself. Then I brought my parents here, to retire. But for years now, our family remained separated -- first it was I who spent more than a decade by myself in the US. When my parents moved to California, it was my brother who was left behind. For over 20 years, my family scattered over two continents. And now, we're finally back together.

But it's not without sadness and regrets and a touch of nostalgia. The place we've called home, Hong Kong, is now only a place to visit, and my parents feel that they're already too old to make any future trips. America will be their place to rest in peace. For over 20 years, that beautiful city in the South China Sea continued to be our "home" because at least one member of the family still lived there. There was always a reason to return. Now, it's going be a place of our past, of memories. I was born and raised there, but to me, America is my home now, and has been for the past 22 years. For my brother, it's a new beginning, and a sad adieu to a place he's called home for over 40 years.

So, in a way, it's a strange thing that I was able to pay tribute to that fascinating city in my new book. It's fitting, and it's special to me.

I'm just glad that it doesn't take 20 hours and a passport to see my family again.

6 comments:

Dawno said...

That's wonderful, Ray, I'm very happy for you.

And glad to see a new post again!

Unique said...

A-ha!
That's terrific, Ray. Tell your brother, 'Welcome!'

Joanne D. Kiggins said...

TPB is special, Ray. Your feelings for home come through loud and clear in your book. Tell your brother hello and welcome from me.

And welcome back to you! We missed you.

Ray Wong said...

Thanks dawno, unique and Joanne. I can only imagine what is going through my brother's mind now -- something I went through many years ago. I'm very glad he's finally here, and I'm looking forward to being close(r) to my family again.

September said...

I know it must be bittersweet. I know it's beautiful. Family is special, having them close - even more so. Congratulations on being all together again.

Ray Wong said...

Yeah. He's adjusting. He's going to take more English courses (level 4 ELS -- equivalent to pre-college level). He'll be getting his driver's license later this month. He's going to look for a job, so if you know of any in the LA area (he's an electrician) let me know!