Not long ago, I discovered my dad's favourite hobby. He enjoys collecting traditional tea pots and tea trays because it's part of his heritage. It calms him and creates a family sharing time.
Why would a family want to share something that tastes so bitter?
Before coming to Canada seven years ago when I was 10, my dad seemed like a fragile rose in a walled garden. No matter how beautiful the surroundings, he was the only thing that appealed to me but I couldn't get over that wall. And what if I had? A rose is only good to look at; the petals are so fragile that if touched, the rose will fall apart. The thorns will prick you and you will bleed.
Having time with family members in China was very difficult. I had little contact with my dad because he was always busy keeping up with China's busy lifestyle and trying to make the best decisions for my future. Our lack of communication led me to misunderstand him. Sometimes I would wonder if he was actually my dad.
As I matured, I realized he wasn't trying to be far away from me; rather, he was trying to give me space to develop. And I started to understand that as a doctor, he was a perfectionist in his service of others.
Things were different for my family when we came to Canada. Here, people are not often forced to make decisions they don't like. They have more freedom and space for self development.
People often become prejudiced when comparing two societies. This can often happen when the values of the two societies conflict. In China's harsh and uncaring environment, people are forced to do things that dishonour their hearts to survive.
People shouldn't judge without understanding but they do it on the news every day. They criticize the unfairness of the Chinese government and disapprove of the way people there make money. If there is no political, social and economical force, the people there would have no reason to do the things they do.
Before judging, they should understand. But understanding takes communication, empathy and time.
Drinking tea with my dad helped me understand him more, even though drinking tea in China is a ritual that requires few words. People pay attention to the taste, the smell and the peacefulness of the tea.
Tea seems magical to me. Even though we say little, the silence is deep and comforting. When tea warms me, it feels as though the warmth comes from my dad. These small but significant things bring my dad and me together.
Like tea, life can be bitter but people always try to find its sweetness. In China, I was forced to find my own ways to reach the sweetness in life. Here in Canada, I found the opportunity to find a guide who will always help me when I am lost. I found my dad.
ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
The article on this page and the pieces published the last two weeks were written by Tri-City young people who are part of the Tri-Cities Arts Door Project. Arts Door is a youth-led, adult-supported, community asset-mapping project with two main objectives: creating a youth-focused on-line map of arts and culture businesses and organizations in the Tri-Cities, and conducting a survey that measures the "cultural competence" of the Tri-Cities Arts and Culture industry. The Tri-Cities Arts Door Youth Leadership Team is made up of 14 youth between 13 and 17 years of age, coming from 10 different countries. The Arts Door project is delivered by SUCCESS in partnership with BC Healthy Communities and is funded by the provincial government's Welcoming and Inclusive Communities initiative.