Sasa – Woman of Two Worlds
A new life for me; that's what I need, a time to heal and stretch my wings and fly in the world. After a disastrous divorce and painful wrenching of her custody rights to her twelve year old twin daughters, Sasa, decided to check out what life held for her in the land of her parents, China. Since childhood she had heard of the land where tradition ruled everything, a place where the people had hundreds of years of tradition and history. Family trips to China had given her a glimpse of life there, but she had always been eager to return to America and the life and school friends she had grown up with. Now though, familiar was the last thing she wanted in large supply. She would miss her mom and pop greatly and of course she would miss her girls but their father had made it clear that he meant to keep them from her. Not his lawyer, her parent's or his parents could make him see that doing that would hurt the girls in the long run. Not only that, here seemed to be no reason to completely cut her from their lives but he and the divorce judge were friends and went back to primary school together. She had shamed her ex-husband by having an affair and letting it become public and because of his shame he had prevented her from seeing her children again. He even balked at the court ordered visitation in a supervised location. According to the decree she would never have weekend visitations forget about any length of time. Moving to China would be hard but it just might be the thing she needs. Go to a different world, where her ex doesn't exist. She was still a young woman and could perhaps find happiness with a man in China.
Let's see, passport – check, plane ticket – check, job offer – check. Now if I could only tell my girls good-bye. Steven won't even let me do that. I'm leaving the country and will have no further contact with them, you'd think that he would see reason that we ALL need this time for parting but true to form he didn't, didn't even want to let me know that all was well with the girls. Why did I ever think that he was someone that I would want to spend my life with? I know he will be good to the girls. He had hundreds of mistresses I have one affair and all hell breaks loose. "Sasa, I will miss you my little girl take care of yourself my love. Your father and I will be only a Skype call away. Are you sure you don't want dad and I to come with you to help you get settled? We can you know. Retirement means you don't have daily duties to a job you know," Sasa's mom said. "Mom you and dad have been wonderful; you've let me stay here with you during the horrible divorce and custody hearings. You've been rocks for me and you can never know how much that means to me. I don't want to disturb your lives any more than I already
have so no, you stay here and do your charity work and hanging out with your Chinese friends. I'll do this. I need to get on with my life and taking care of me." And with this Sasa gave her mom a huge hug. My plane leaves tomorrow and I'm all packed and ready to go. I've got pictures of the girls in my purse and I've been practicing my Chinese so when I get in I'll fit in. I'm glad that I will be going to your home town of Beijing, there is an International Airport there and I will be staying at a hotel in the city near the airport while I look at places to live. I've got addresses of family over there and will stop and say hello when I get in. I figure that a hotel will be a good way to transition from the US to China.
The next morning Sasa finds herself on an international flight heading away from her children into a world she has seen only on a limited basis's. The flight was uneventful in its crossing from the west to the east and landed in Beijing, China. "Nǐ hǎo," Sasa says to the customs officers. Her checked luggage is small just like her carry-on bag. She shows her passport and itinerary to the agent and he makes the required marks on her passport with a red stamp. After going through the baggage claim she identifies her bag, grabs it and heads out the door to hail a cab. Once her baggage is stowed in the cab, she gets in and says in Chinese "Please take me to this address," and hands the driver the information the hotel sent her via email. The driver nods and starts on the way. Unlike the taxi drivers in New York, where her parents and girls live, this driver gets right down to business and drives with no discussion. After a short drive she arrives at the hotel. Once in her room she tests the bed and begins to unwind. It is afternoon here, I should get out and walk around or something and go to bed early but not now or I'll be up all night. First things first, she pulls out her laptop and logs onto the hotel's wi-fi and connects with leaves an email for her parents telling them that she has arrived safely and will call when it is there morning, early evening for her. "Now to get myself a cell phone so I can contact my employer and some family too." She carefully locks the door to her room and drops her key card into her purse. She pats her purse because it houses the photo of her girls. She walks gracefully to the elevator greeting the few other guests she sees. Her Nǐ hǎo has a faint American twang to it, not quite how everyone else says the greeting. Down on the street she walks to her left and starts her journey for something to eat and a cell
phone shop. Her parents told her that her family in China use China Mobile and suggest that she might be happy with that service. She spots a China Mobile store and heads in. Once in the door she finds the displays of phones to be like what she would have seen in any cell phone store in America, the difference here is that the cell phone prompts are in Chinese, something that can easily be fixed when she gets her new phone. She looks for a phone like the one she had in New York, a smart phone . She finds what she is looking for and asks if she can get a translator app for the phone. Her Chinese is good, but she just wants to make sure that she will understand and be understood. With her new phone that has internet capabilities it will be easy to access an online translator and at home she can put the same translator on her laptop and hear the word she is looking for. With the purchase of her new cell phone she is now ready to get something to eat and drink. She knows not to get a drink with ice in it. Even though she is moving here, she doesn't want to deal with having tummy troubles if they can be avoided. She finds a food cart on the street she is walking down and they have a dizzying array of foods and drinks that she can choose from. Rule one about eating from a food cart is to go where lots of people are eating. Well, that seems to be taken care of because it seems that all the people on this street are at this cart getting something to eat, most go for the noodles that are being sold. That and a drink that is familiar to Ankh, bottled soya milk. She waits patiently in line but has several Chinese cut in front of her; she then remembers that being aggressive is what will get her what she wants in line. She stands right next to the person in front of her and moves forward as people leave the vendor with their orders in hand. In this fashion she reaches the front of the line and tells the vendor, "A bowl of noodles with everything on them and a bottle of soya milk" all ordered in Chinese. The vendor gives a start at her clipped New York accent forming the ancient Chinese words but gets down to the business of fixing her order. She pays the cooks assistant, takes her food and drink and sits at one of the tables on the street before the vendor. An outside café in New York could not be more relaxing she thinks. Digging into her noodles with chopsticks doesn't seem odd at all; she grew up in a house where chopsticks were the utensil of choice. Of course when she was at school or in her own apartment with her ex and her girls she used a fork, spoon, and knife; they were what Steven grew up with and he wanted to have everything as he grew up. Funny thinking of him now only makes her sad, the only reason he wanted to marry an Asian woman was because he thought that I would not be upset with his cheating on me. Funny how people seem to think that one thing can so identify a group of people. Not all Asian women subscribe to being okay with the infidelities of their husbands and certainly none of her Asian girlfriends
who grew up as she did with one foot in the ways of the old world and one foot in the new life in America. The world was changing and acceptance of that kind of behavior was not happening widespread like in years past. She shook her head and sighed, her babies would know firsthand how their dad likes to play around and from their mom they would get an earful of information on their 18th birthday. Not many years from now, she also had her email address for them if they wanted to contact her at that time. She planned to abide by the rules of the court and have no contact with the girls until they were 18. At that time she would be waiting if they wanted to hear her side of why she was gone. The girls were in a good private boarding school, so good that the school refused to let her have any information on how they were doing in school even though she was on record as their mother but their father had scarred the school by bullying them into not giving information about the girls to their mother since the divorce and child custody hearings stated that she was to have no contact with them. She had tried to leave messages for the girls but none were taken finally she got a lawyer who is holding in trust the documents for the girls and the lawyers office will contact them upon their 18th birthdays with how to get information on their mother. "That's really all I can do," she sighed, "Steven has made it next to impossible for me to have any news of my girls in what he calls shielding them from my bad influence. I have one affair and I'm evil, he has a host of affairs almost like an emperor of an old Chinese Dynasty had 3000 concubines and everything for him is fine, talk about a double standard!" These noodles in oyster sauce with scallions, carrots, and cabbage are delicious and this hot soya milk is great, I wish I could share this with my girls, thinks Sasa. They would be lost on how to use chopsticks, that is something that I wish I'd made them learn but Steven wanted everything in the house American and he only want the part of my Asian heritage that he thought would serve him well. Never again will I get into a relationship with an American. I want to find a new love in my new home, one that will honor me for who I am and will love me and not cheat. Well, I've got my cell phone and I've had some food, now it is time to meet my family, I should also call my new job.