Background: I went to a boarding school when I was 13. I saw my parents once a month. Society was much simpler then but the change was in the air and in the ground, Ningbo was opened up in 1984, and I saw a lot of earth moving around me. Although foreigner was still rare to come across and our vice provost emphasized “don’t listen to Deng Lijun’s Mimi zhiyin”. I had a fairly strict teacher (counselor), and I could not fall asleep 😴 💤 during 中考and 高考but all in all I survived. I think I had an easier time compared to today’s iPhone generation [微笑]
I thought of the separation anxiety from parents perspective. This summer we dropped off Serenity at Cub Creek Animal Science camp at Rolla, for a week. This is a sleep away no iPhone camp. And in the first two / three days, before I got her email, I was restless. Everyday I checked Bunk1 app and website many times, in which the counselors uploaded their daily activities photos. I turned on the notifications. I also wrote note to Serenity in the bunk1 app or website. Later I learned she did receive it but she has no time or device to reply it from the app. The line for email was long and she had to hurry and that’s also why she only wrote back once.
Yesterday I saw a fellow Chinese parent wrote that they are becoming empty nesters as the 2nd kid just went to college. And for me it will be 10 more years down the road when our younger daughter Sophia is college bound. Now I think my parents may have had similar feelings when they waved goodbyes when we went to schools, and when we came to the USA.
Once in college at Wuhan, it was probably my sophomore or junior year, I told my parents that I am not going home for Spring Festival (Chinese new year). My reason is the crowdedness in the train, as explained here. My mom, who usually does not write to me, wrote a letter and urged me to return home. So I obligated. Note the train is still crowded, once I stood about 15 hours in the train on the way returning school from home, during the Spring Festival travel. I recall the train was so crowded, and there were 7 people in one bathroom (the toilet room). And once a girl walked to the bathroom, asked guys turn around so that she could use the restroom. They wouldn’t oblige. So she has to walk or to be precise squeeze through one more train cabin. I do recall one girl (she is from Wuhan university and Dongyang, one year senior than me), gave me a peeled apple when I stood next to her.