[Family drama] The ocean, the foreigner, and my grandpa
by Guest Beanie
Legend of the Blue Sea
When I was young, my mother always told the story of my grandfather’s life. I never thought it was “dramatic” as some people would say. My great-grandfather apparently was a full-blooded Chinese fisherman. One day due to bad weather, he was stranded on some foreign land. He did not know anyone and could not speak their language. He had no means to get back to his own country and had no choice but to live in the island where he had landed. Not much is known about him except the fact that he had his own family back in China and that they had no idea what happened to him. It was on the new island that he eventually met and fell in love with my great-grandmother. Sounds cliché, but here’s this man who can barely communicate in a foreign land yet managed to fall in love with a local woman.
I don’t know what happened because no one from my mother’s family really elaborates on how my great-grandparents separated. I don’t know if it is as simple as my great-grandpa wanting to go back to his own country because he felt homesick, or that he thought that life on the island was not for him. As fate would have it, dear old great-grandpa felt so guilty for leaving his other family that he decided he wanted to go back and see his child there. The history is quite murky from there on out and I expect that my folks did not want to talk about it anymore, given that great-grandpa just left great-grandma, pregnant and alone.
From what I was told, she went to the church because being pregnant out of wedlock was taboo especially in a place where everyone was religious. She had no one to turn to, so she had no choice but to give birth to her son (my grandfather) there. She died during childbirth, leaving her son alone in the world. It broke my heart to know of such events happening in the past in my family. No one wanted the son so the parish priest ended up adopting my grandfather, even giving him his own last name. My mother said when she was younger, she knew the name of our Chinese great-grandparent but she forgot it due to it being a topic that was not really discussed in their family.
It was then that I felt amazement at the strength and resilience of my grandfather. He had no real family growing up. He looked like a foreigner but he worked hard for people to accept him as part of the small community he grew up in. There was no doubt that there were a lot of gossip stories about his life, he lived in a dreary, remote place with not much to do other than talk. He soldiered on and stayed the strong person that I came to know him to be. He eventually met my grandmother, fell in love and married. They lived long lives with each other.
Now I understand why he loved grandma and his children so much. Now I understand why he cannot stand it when grandma decided to go on trips to see her grandchildren in the big city. He said he could not sleep and could not stand being alone. Grandma on the other hand felt the same, but I think wanted to see the little ones more, haha.
A long time has since passed since they died of old age but despite that, grandpa’s story is something that tickles my curiosity. Could I have some relatives in another country? Do they even know of our existence? So many questions.
Legend of the Blue Sea
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