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Two Sisters, Unbound

Updated: Mar 16

March 2015, Hawaii:

My little sister flew in from Shanghai. I flew in from Orlando. She didn’t know what to expect but I was super excited since it took a long time to convince her to come on this adventure with me.

A month ago on the phone:

“What about Nini? I need to be home for her.” She asked regarding her daughter. I could even hear the worry in her tone.

Come on. It’s only a week.” Plus, Nini has her dad and grandparents at home. They can take care of her for 7 days. I thought to myself.

“What would my in-laws think of me leaving?” I understood her concern. What kind of mom will leave her young child for her own pleasure? I had felt the same in the past.

“Tell them it’s a gift from your big sister that you must accept. You will be a better mom when you go back.” Hearing the pause on the line, I raise my eyes to the ceiling, Does she understand how good this is? It’s the whole package! Round trip airline tickets, thousands of dollars for an S factor retreat, and fees for a translator.

Sighing and staring across the table, I could almost imagine myself telling her, I just want to share the journey with you!! I have missed you for all these years!! But the words won’t come out.

My sister and I used to be very close. Being the older one, I was like a second mother to her -- my father was largely absent when we were growing up. When I left everything behind to start a new life in a new country at the age of 22, I somehow felt I left her behind as well. For the first 20 years of living in America, I went back to China only three times. I didn’t miss home.

After a couple of calls, she finally agreed to come and I eagerly booked a suite for the two of us. This would be the first time we share a bed as adults ever since 1998, the first time I visited China. Being in the same bed always reminds me of our childhood when we w