Monday, February 27, 2023

Jordan/Yuan-Wei: City Without Baseball

It's a silly thing to worry about, given everything else, but Spring Training has started, and even though the Mets look like they're going to be a force this year, I kind of wonder if I'm going to be able to follow them from here in Hong Kong.  I can - the internet is a thing, obviously, and I can easily afford MLB's streaming package, but trying to watch postseason games in the morning last fall felt profoundly wrong even if work didn't get in the way.  It would be nice to develop a rooting interest here, even if the quality of play wasn't great, but...  Well, there's a movie I found in one of the video stores in the Ladies' Market a few weeks ago called City Without Baseball, and while it's not really about baseball and how there should be more, the name isn't wrong.  There's no damn baseball here and, like, should I start following some Taiwanese/Japanese/Korean team at random?  Would that make me the same as the fucking hipsters from back when I was my original self who started "supporting" an English Premier League "side" out of nowhere and then started acting snotty when I called it "soccer" instead of "football"?


Okay, so this isn't really about baseball and rooting interests, but, like, that's the most obvious and harmless way that being Yuan-Wei in something approximating what the original Yuan-Wei's life might have become is messing with me these days.  The only time I actually speak English is at work or when talking with "Mom", and even she wants me to help her practice Cantonese these days.  I'm glad to, because...

You know what?  I should have led with this.  The person who was living the live of the lady now going by "Wang Chen-Ai" died a month ago.  It took us two weeks to find out because, I mean, why would you tell some random middle-aged woman in China that your grandma passed away, and neither of them really did social media.  It's not immediately some sort of tragedy in terms of someone's life being cut short because they aged fifty years overnight - I gather it was someone about the same age - so maybe something like that is going to happen down the chain, but it was a shock.  Fake Chen-Ai figured she'd had at least ten more years in her once she got back to being herself, but, well, sometimes a decline comes fast.

I don't really know what she's thinking, but she's seemed really shaky at times, so I've tried to spend more time with her.  She's been taking Cantonese lessons and appreciates when I help her practice, and about a week ago she said we should probably try to do more together, stuff that looks like mother/daughter but is just two people trying to get to know each other and the city we're supposed to call home on the one hand, and maybe trying to carve out some sort of corner where we can kind of be ourselves, and she says she and her father used to watch the Giants a lot back when they had just come out west, so I thought maybe that would be something.

Selfishly, I'm not happy but with this turn of events but kind of like the idea of not having to start over with a new fake mother every year or so.  I tell her that a lot of us have gone through something big like this, but she's kind of getting a lot of culture shock that she'd been able to stave off by leaving a lot of things to Chen-Ai/Bingbing and staying in, and I'm not sure of the best way to help.  There aren't fucking books on this!

(And, once again, I want to know how things got to the point where I'm the mentor/voice of reason!)


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