Across the Pacific

How can distance strengthen a relationship?

For years, the first thing I would say to my mom everyday is, “Mom, did you wake up yet?”The answer I would receive across the phone has always been a yes. Some days, I called her too early and she would respond with a muffled yes, clearly half asleep. Other times, when she’s really awake, I would first hear her taking a sip of her coffee, then a lazy, “yes.”I called her every night. Sometimes once. Sometimes more than once. Sometimes our conversations would last for an hour, sometimes for four hours. Sometimes my mom and I would talk about the quarrels I had with my friends, about the indecent school lunch, about how hard it is to learn to pronounce English words because it’s so different from Chinese, about what I cooked for dinner and how I would cook dinner for her when she comes to the United States. We would also talk about her day - mostly what she ate in the morning and what she was going to do later in the day. Our conversation usually ends when I have to go to bed.

Those are the times when we each have so much to say to one another that we wished the Pacific Ocean wasn’t between us. Other times, we didn’t really talk. We would just have silence for hours, doing our own thing. When I’m cooking dinner for the family, I...

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