Sunday, August 10, 2014

Update on San Jie Jie (Third Sister-in-Law)

Though she still lives in the same street, hings have changed a lot in the past four years for San Jie Jie.  For one, her home has changed.  Like so many others, the urge to build a bigger, more modern home has resulted in a large, three-floor extension behind the simple but adequately-sized two storey home.  As a result, the family now has plenty of room, more than it really needs, including a far more modern kitchen and bathrooms with hot running water.

How have they been able to afford this additional space?  Since losing his job as a migrant worker, San Jie Jie's husband fell into something of a depression.  Neither of them wanted him to go away again, and so San Jie Jie's wealthy younger brother, feeling for them, offered his brother-in-law a job as his construction company's purchasing manager.  This came as a huge relief and provided them with a regular, adequate income as well as a chance to live together again in the hometown with their children.

Quickly, though, each of their children has married.  Not long after their eldest daughter completed her nursing degree, she found a boyfriend and fell in love.  A few months later, she found out she was pregnant and a wedding was quickly arranged.  She never did end up working as a nurse.  Two years later, it was the turn of San Jie Jie's son to get married; his girlfriend, too, found herself expecting and so another wedding took place.  This year, their youngest daughter, now twenty-two, got married on Labour Day.  I saw her a couple of weeks before the wedding and joked that she must be pregnant. Both San Jie Jie and her quiet daughter smiled.  'Mei you,' came the reply, but a couple of weeks after the wedding, I heard the news:  she, too, is expecting.  Her son's wife, is also once again also pregnant. By Spring Festival the baby will have arrived.

San Jie Jie is now kept busy and happy with grandchildren.  I don't think she expected that within three years, she would have five grandchildren, all of whom live within a stone's throw of her home.  In fact, her son and his family live on a floor of the new extension and rely heavily upon San Jie Jie and her husband for childcare and support.  Her daughters are also nearby.

I can't help wondering how many more grandchildren will come along in the next few years.  Sons are definitely desired.  Their eldest daughter's first child was a girl and so she tried again.  If San Jie Jie's younger daughter gives birth to a daughter, no doubt she will also try again until she finally also has a son.  It's funny, I always think, how even the women have such longing for sons, how they can somehow, even in this day and age, think that they need to have boys.  It is evident to me that they love their beautiful little girls and yet, without a boy, families do feel a lack of success, a lack of completion... 

No comments:

Post a Comment