god of beginnings

My dad, who has been hosting on Airbnb for several months, asked me to make some paper cranes as gifts for honeymooning guests. Miraculously, I didn’t feel weird about it, despite the strong connection between these cranes and my mother. I placed a pink crane (her favorite color) in front of her photo and burned some incense, and I carried on without resentment. This feels like the beginning of the nebulous future I was waiting for.

I keep thinking of the phrase “god of beginnings” as I pat the little ears of a Ganesha figurine, the favor from my cousin’s recent wedding in San Rafael and now one of my most prized possessions. It’s perfect.

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The wedding was a glorious mishmash of Chinese and Indian culture (and square dancing), and the poet in me can’t get over how momentous the occasion felt. I’ve spent the last several months feeling generally and increasingly disappointed in the human world–how quickly we give in to fear and hate, how carelessly we destroy everything that is good and holy. But this union of two first generation immigrants from (seemingly?) strikingly different cultures makes me think maybe we humans aren’t so broken. Not yet. For it to happen within my family makes it that much more incredible and also that much more tangible. I dream of a day when love like this doesn’t surprise me anymore, when I don’t feel the need to giddily point out interracial couples to whomever has the misfortune of walking with me.

For me, there was the added wonder of meeting so many family members I never knew existed, a whole network of distant cousins around the country. I realize now that I have been missing a sense of home ever since my mother died, and for years I tried to convince myself it wasn’t something I wanted, turned away from it when offered. But yesterday, despite not really knowing people and feeling kind of awkward, I sort of felt a tiny hint of home for the first time in a really long time. It was nice to hear the aunties reminisce about my fat infant cheeks, to hear near-strangers refer to me as a little sister in the typical Chinese way, to talk to Cousin Carlos about Tupac and Shaggy and poetry (even if he was just humoring me). It was nice to see that my cousins were normal people straddling cultures like me. I’m so happy, and I don’t remember the last time I said that without irony. This happiness, too, feels like a beginning.

I am so grateful to my late mother for keeping in touch with people so well, for the distant aunt who flew across the country for the memorial service and still keeps us in her thoughts. Without them, I never would have had this experience, and the tenuousness of my connection makes it all the more precious.

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