“He’s not the monster, Gaston. You are!”

                                Prior to this trip, I felt that my relationship with my parents had reached a significant level of maturity and understanding.  For the first time, I found myself taking the initiative to open up to them about my interests and concerns rather than just closing myself off and assuming that they would not listen, and, as a result, creating interesting conversation.  I was finally feeling positive that our relationship would increase in mutual respect and that any antagonistic events that have occurred between us in the past would be soon forgiven and forgotten.  I thought that I had changed for the better and had the ability to make things right between us.  Instead, I became a complete monster within less than a day of travelling with them. My parents, my brother, and I went to Beijing for four days and saw many amazing places, but without knowing why, I could not just appreciate being with my family in all the sights and surroundings.

                Beijing is a pretty amazing place.  We stayed in a pretty modern, touristy area called Wangfujing Street, which is within close proximity to large shopping complexes and historical districts.  Since I was with my family, we went to the stereotypical tourist places – the Great Wall, Summer Palace, Forbidden City, etc.  It was rather interesting to walk through these places and to see bits of Chinese history unfold before my eyes.  My personal favorite was the Summer Palace, which is where past emperors and their families would stay during the summer in order to escape the harsh Beijing heat.  From the outset, it looks like just another small, Asian temple.  However, the moment you go through the front door, you feel like you are in a sort of mystical fairy-land.  Beautiful gardens and lakes abound the entire front of the palace.  As you walk deeper into the palace area, you see many rocky trails that travel upward to a hill abounded with ancient Buddhist temples and which overlooks an amazing view of the vast Kunming Lake (which is also exclusively a part of the palace, believe it or not!).  Unfortunately, my camera had died by this point of the trip, and I had carelessly left my charger at my grandparents’ home.  However, I wholeheartedly believe that my brief description of the place does its complete splendor absolute injustice.  It truly was beautiful!     

                Why, then, could I not just fully enjoy the trip?  My parents can be very controlling and become very stressed out very easily.  As a result, they are not ideal travelling companions.  I knew these facts to be true before boarding that plane from LAX, and by knowing, I should be able to just accept things as they are.  Instead, I had to be judgmental, impatient, and stubborn beyond belief.  I picked fights over the most minor things and closed myself off to them once again.  My inability to just accept them as they are is very disheartening, yet somehow, I do not know what I could do to change this.  I am good at making connections but not keeping them.  I am able to establish interesting rapport and appear pleasant from afar or with limited interaction, but the moment these interactions become extensive, the positive vibes disappear completely.  With the exception of a few close friends, my weaknesses ultimately prevent me from maintaining meaningful relationships with people.  These shortcomings, which I had already been aware of, were reaffirmed to me this past week.  In the end, I am a complete monster toward others, and knowing this hurts me immensely.

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About Kathy

US-turned-international educator, I enjoy sharing my travels, education experiences, and general thoughts on life. Thank you for visiting my page!
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