Saturday, July 24, 2021

a feeling of safety

Talking to my mom's friend L (two days ago) gave me a feeling of community. 

L talked about being coworkers with my mom in their 20s. She said my mom had such strong morals. She told stories of how my mom continually went out of her way to help others. It was amazing to hear about my mom's youth, before she went through decades of tough times.

L has been talking to my mom over WeChat in recent months. She said my mom feels 100% reassured (放心) about Aff being in my life, because he has such a good heart and is thoughtful toward me every day. 

After talking to L, I thought about how the shadow of this family illness has hung over me for the past two decades. I lived under a sword that could fall at any moment. Combined with America's ruthless medical system and insurance companies, it always felt that the next phone call could bring catastrophe.

But the family illness is under control via medication, and perhaps the situation is finally safe? I am afraid to think this, because in a movie, when a character says that, they are going to face a horrible fate in the next scene. 

I'll put a picture of knocking on wood.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

meeting my mom's friend soon

I spent 3.5 hours talking on the phone to one of my mom's longtime friends L.

L knew my mom when they were both in their 20s and 30s. L said my mom was so kind and went out of her way to help L when L had a medical emergency.

L has only seen my mom in-person once in the past two decades, but she's still very fond of my mom. 

My mom has excellent taste in friends! Talking to L makes me feel calmer, and also optimistic about the integrity and goodness of people.

As an immigrant, it's a rare treat for me to meet one of my mom's friends from her youth and to get along well with that friend. Perhaps for people who are not immigrants, they get to see dozens of their parents' friends. But it is special for me.

My mom and I will see L next month. I'm so excited! 

a frabjous day

 I am very happy so far today! [knock on wood]

Yesterday, my brother took my mom to an opthamologist and got improved eye drops for her. It is great to have such a competent and responsible brother. 

Also yesterday, the co-pay for one of my prescriptions shot up from $55 to $200, due to esoteric insurance rules. But Aff found a savings card online that brought the cost down to $78. He went to the pharmacy and picked up the prescription for me.

I have a lot of dread about doctors, pharmacies, and insurance, due to previous experiences. It is really nice of my loved ones to be so helpful! 

Uncharted and unpatched

During the quarantine, I played the Uncharted series. Aff liked to watch and give suggestions. 

In the game, adventurer Nathan Drake finally found the temple with the treasure. 

Drake: "All that matters is who gets to Avery's treasure first." 

Evil game character: "You do realize your phone is equipped with GPS?" 

Drake: "You hacked our phones.... Goons with guns are on their way here now?" 

Me: "What? How did his phone get hacked? That wasn't explained at all!" 

Aff: "Android. KitKat. The vendor didn't ship updates."

Saturday, July 10, 2021

"Strangers Drowning"

I started reading more books during the pandemic. It is enjoyable to discuss the ideas with friends.

Recently I listened to an audiobook "Strangers Drowning". It is about people who feel compelled to help strangers.

One couple adopted 2 kids out of foster care and from overseas orphanages, then 2 more, then 6 siblings that no other family would take. Eventually they had 22 kids.

An Indian guy was born into a high caste and was bothered by the caste system. He moved his family to a leper colony, and spent decades helping the leper colony turn into a thriving town. By doing so, he exposed his children to leprosy. They fortunately did not catch it.

The book title is based on the idea that if you saw someone drowning in front of you, you would surely try to save them. Yet if you hear that people are drowning far away in another land, you'd likely feel low compulsion to save them. Is this unfair?

In one story, a Japanese guy spent 7 years giving emotional support for free to hikikomori (shut-in / recluse) strangers. Many of the strangers wanted to die, and he spent hours listening and supporting them. Then he had heart surgery and told the hikikomoris that he would be unavailable while he was recuperating in the hospital.

When he got out, he was shocked that most of the recluses (people he had helped for years) were angry at him. They didn't care that he had surgery, and they were mad that he wasn't available to help them with their pain. This story made me sad, because it is too believable. Then the Japanese guy decided he would only help people who came first to meet him in-person. But he kept helping! It is impressive.