I haven’t traveled to the Netherlands now for almost 3 years, hindered by 1) insane flight ticket prices 2) two or three weeks of quarantine 3) insecurity of whether I can make it back to China if I get covid abroad.
Compared to if I’d be living in the Netherlands, of course this influences my relationship with my parents.
We call every week. And calls are useful, but they’re not like a long walk in a forest (which our hometown borders). But sometimes, maybe once in every ten calls, both of us have the time to really connect. When none of us has to go somewhere, or has a rumbling stomach and a warm plate of food in front of them to rush the conversation — but instead really has the time and the mental state to talk.
I’ve also noticed that this only happens through audio calling, never on a video call. I can just look out of the window but my mind drifts away, even if my parents are only present with their voice (or probably, because of that). And then we catch up on how we really think or feel about life, how our feelings about the past or present have changed. And every time we do, I feel as if we’re jumping in time, several months each time.
I think when you’re in your late 20s/early 30s, the relationship with your parents changes — in a way that your view on many things matures, becomes equal to theirs — at some topics even surpassing it. Of course I’m still their kid but we become more equal. But now living abroad and away from my parents for 4 years & counting, this process doesn’t go slowly and gradually as it should go. Instead, it goes with tangible steps at long intervals. Chunks of time.
Is it aging? I move at the same pace as my brother & sister, but with my parents, it feels different.