Foreign lands

New York City is a foreign place to my parents. They don’t really understand it (though my dad claims to… he doesn’t), and my mom always complains whenever she is here and says San Francisco is the best. She has since forgotten that she once lived in Vietnam because to her, it’s as though San Francisco is the only city that ever existed in her life.

So being foreign to them, New York City is a place where they first think of Flushing, Manhattan Chinatown, and Elmhurst. The only reason they think about Elmhurst is because I used to live there, and they visited me twice when I was at that roach-infested apartment. They think of those two Chinatowns because they feel comfortable being around other Chinese people. And they’re planning to go to both probably multiple times during their barely week-long stay here.

My mom could be good with directions if she actually tried, but she chooses to walk around blind, not looking at signs or familiar buildings, and freaks out if it seems like my dad doesn’t know where he’s going (which is a lot). She keeps commenting about how big all these buildings are and why there are so many people walking around all the time. My dad says he wants to go to places like Coney Island or the multiple model railroad stores he has read about, but when he’s actually here, he makes no effort to go and complains that he doesn’t know what their addresses are (even though he has easy access to a computer and the internet) and that they may be out of business. Their desire to explore is little to none, so I’m not quite clear why they are here.

There are a lot of people who have a hard time adapting to new or different environments. But I’m pretty sure that my parents are near the top of that list.

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