“I’m moving to Bali!”
Luckily for me, my dad spent 35+ years as a pilot in the Air Force and traveled to more places than I can count. He understood the yearning for my “wanderlust” (to wander and lust over the idea that I clearly had no idea what I was doing in life.) My mom on the other half just accepted the idea that when it came to making impulsive travel decisions — those genes came from my dad.
Explaining this to my traditional Japanese grandmother was a whole different story.
Long story short, I didn’t tell my grandmother I would be moving to a foreign country — I let my mom do it for me, because we both knew how the conversation would go.
And by we — I meant my mother and I.
To sum it up, this is how a traditional Japanese, a Japanese-living-in-America for all her adulthood, and a Japanese-American living in the U.S. would justify me moving to Bali.
My definition: to establish a greater network, advance my career as a writer, find myself, and find the bridge between what I was neglecting in my life by over-working, over-caffeinating, and over-compensating my time and energy. I needed a breather — I needed to peel the layers of myself and find what it was to be my real authentic self and moving to a foreign country is what my soul told me was right at the moment.
Mom’s definition: to “Yolo.” Is that what you kids call indecisiveness, nowadays?
Grandma’s definition: to abandon your mom. Unless you’re going out to find a husband.
I’m almost reaching the end of my twenties, and there’s still more I wanted to see in the world. I was tired of scrolling through filtered Instagram photos of people on the iconic Bali swing and photos of triple-stacked matcha chocolate pancake with the aesthetic Clarendon filter.
Because truth be told, I WANTED TO RIDE THE BALI SWING AND TAKE PHOTOS OF TRIPLE STACKED MATCHA PANCAKE WITH THE CLARENDON FILTER.
But of course, I couldn’t tell my grandma these things because 1) She doesn’t care neither-the-less understand that Instagram is now considered an important job skill to have as a content marketer and 2) Why would you want to go to a foreign country to ride a swing?
Overall, regardless of what I decided to tell or not tell her, the core is that she still cared about the two most important things that any grandmother would care about — safety and missing opportunities.
Safety in the sense that I won’t have any family in Bali and opportunities that — if I keep chasing swings and pancakes, when will I ever settle? Will I ever find a destination? When will I be content?
There would be a difference if I told her that the final destination would be a nice house on the shoreline, where I’ll raise my children in my hometown of Guam. They would play at Ypao beach on Sundays as we all set the BBQ grill. On weeknights, I would make our special Japanese style hamburgers for dinner that only my mom, grandmother, and I know the recipe of.
At this moment, I have no final destination neither do I have a main plan.
But at the end of the day, maybe it has a little less of my grandma being traditional and wanting me to carry on Japanese traditions and more grandma being — well, grandma.
A loving, caring, and no matter how old you turn will always see you as a baby needing her grandparents’ love and companion, kind of grandma.