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Wish I was Here Moment

This is the internet cafe moment. Husband and I are in a remote place where you can check your email on your cell phone for $18,000 a minute. The other alternative was to spend $3 an hour and use a keyboard pre-conditioned by hundreds of thousands of tourists with sticky fingers who cannot always enjoy the mysteries and magic of where they are. They must be where they are not and see who is not needing them.

Mostly I need to find if our Little Dog is not needing us. I had a heart-stopping moment when I had a phone message from the hotel staff telling me that my friend taking care of my dog needed me to call right away. I debated for several heartrending moments whether to spend $5 a minute calling the friend or trying to think positive and go back to enjoying cultural activities to better my world perspective. I called. I got voicemail. I called their other numbers. More voicemail. Later, they wrote an email which I retrieved during one of my internet moments. I had a heart-soaring moment in learning Doggie was fine. Husband of friend had left the message and had wanted to talk to my Husband about something that ¨Couldn´t Wait,¨as both of them said. Business. Boring stuff that had nothing to do with Doggie. But because the hotel staff could not write down Husband´s long name, Friend´s Husband gave my name, leading me to worry. Heart-soaring moment was followed by heart-shredding moments upon hearing Doggie is having a ball. She sits in two laps of luxury and yaps at another dog who must stay away from the newly-claimed laps. She is eating well, `playing a lot, sleeping on the bed between the two friends, just as she does with me and Husband. She has no sad moments, it seems. How could she be so happy without me? Why so heartless?

At this moment; the pads of my fingers have taken on a lot of grit. They are sticking to the keys. This is part of the rustic charm of being in an internet cafe in the middle of a hot nowhere. Outside it is about 85 degrees. But with the sun and humidity , it feels like a thousand. That is why I carry a sun umbrella with a silver coating on the outside to reflect the rays away from my head. Everyone laughed at me at first. They said I looked like a Japanese or Korean tourist in a tour group. I am Chinese, but I have a hot head without the sun umbrella. But after I carried the umbrella in a place that was like a furnace in hell, people started asking me where to buy this kind of umbrella. By the way, it has vents so that the wind does not tear it apart. Another by the way, it rains here everyday. Sideways windy rain. When you are not burning hot you are soaking wet--unless you have this sun umbrella with wind vents

More travel tips later. Now is the moment when Husband will soon lose patience and leave without me and I need him to carry my backpack with other handy items other than the sun umbrella.

Comments
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Admiring Student

Hello, my name is Dan, and i'm a high school senior. In my english class we are in the midst of an in-depth analysis of your short story "Two Kinds" from your novel "The Joy Luck Club". I have been reading more of your work and greatly admire your honest and slightly sarcastic look at the world. In regards to this story, however, my teacher and I are in hot debate over the extremely tough question: Who , Jing-Mei Woo or her Mother, is more in the wrong? My teacher has flat out told me I am wrong for believing the Mother is the most wrong in the story, and I've read the story multiple times to try and gain a more objective perspective on it. So any insight into your intentions in writing this story, and your own personal take on these two characters would be immensely cherished! This teacher is particularly head-strong, literally telling me I CAN'T understand the story, so you can see my dilemma. Any reply would mean alot to me. Thank you so much for your time and writing!-Dan

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Choices and Mistakes

Hi Dan…I’m not Amy Tan, but I read the Joy Luck Club just a short while ago and it struck me (after thinking hard on it) that neither Jing-Mei nor her mother is what you would call wrong. When I was younger I had a hard time not dividing the world into right and wrong and I felt almost strange if I couldn’t. Now, after seeing my own parents as real people and not just “parents” I realize they struggle just like anyone else. Jing-Mei’s mother made choices and mistakes, and helped and hurt people through those choices and mistakes just as we all do every day. Jing-Mei’s mother didn’t want to hurt her daughter by the choices she made, she just wanted to make the best choice she could at the time. Jing-Mei didn’t want to hurt her mother—she just wanted to make her own choices and her own mistakes. Now, with more years of experience I see that no matter how inexplicable or seemingly hurtful someone else’s choices may be to us, most people are always trying to do good in their heart. It’s just that the distance between our hearts and the outside world is long and the path is twisty, and sometimes the intention gets lost or emerges on the other side looking much different than it did from within…and of course, as humans, we all make mistakes. That seems to be part of the package. Keep thinking about questions like this Dan! You’re on the right path…

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Little Doggies

Amy......not sure if you are reading all of this or just blogging but......wanted to comment on little doggies.
If I remember correctly you have a Yorkshire Terrier ? If indeed my memory is correct, than we share the same undying devotion to one of the smartest little creaters in all of creation. Smart enough to express total devotion to the current source of food, attention (which is demanded unceasingly) and general upkeep. Not to worry, once home and in the tender loving care of devoted owners, they will once again act as if they could not sustain life without you personally :>)

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The great divide

 Lauren´s answer below is the one I would have given. We often want to defend who is more right and who is more wrong.  The stories were a way to take on the heart of a mother, then that of a daughter. There is no  right or wrong. It is about the gulf  of misunderstand that separates them.  By focusing on who is wrong the gulf only widens.

But I understand why you might feel that way.  When I was a senior, I wished my mother would admit she was wrong, and my mother wished I would admit the same.  I felt that way for many years after that.   I think that it wasn´t until I deliberately asked to know more about her prior life that I could see why she had been so forceful with me.  I could then see our life together in  ironic ways .Some ironies are painful and some are simply hilarious. 

Thanks for asking your question. 

                       

       

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surrogate

Doggie is well. Not really having that much fun with surrogate family, just don't want mom to worry. She misses mom and dad a lot. Always making sure they aren't hiding in their offices. Appeasing surrogates, will snub as soon as mom and dad return. All two ounces of Doggie set off alarm when stupid surrogate set it wrong. All is well enough.

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Faithful human

Here in Rapa Nui (Easter Island) there are lots of doggies, mostly German Shepherd mixes .They sometimes follow us with wishful faces.  One barked at Husband, as if to warn him off.  But when Husband walked toward him  anyway,  the doggie rolled over for a tummy rub.  That´s when we learned that this particular bark meant; Come on over. Husband obliged but told the doggie his heart belonged to another. 

                 

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Question/Spoiler Alert

I am new here and am also unsure of how much interacting goes on, since I know authors are busy people!

I do want to say, however, that I am a tremendous fan of Ms. Tan's, and if you or another enlightened party is reading, I would love to ask a question about the ending of "Saving Fish From Drowning."

If someone is reading that has not read the novel, please do not read the following, it is a spoiler. Thanks :)
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Did the Karen people die at the end of the novel? I was confused by that part and am curious to know!

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The terrible unknown

I made the ending such because I wanted to give the sense that we don't know what happens and that based on what we now know we want to know more.  We care what happens.  This is the nature of my storytelling, because this is how I think about things. I want to know what happened after I am  no longer able to observe or get information.  It's the same kind of reaction people have in thinking about Amelia Earhart.   We imagine, we hypothesize, and we base that on what we believe. I want to know about my grandmother and what she was feeling before she killed herself.  I want to know who my great-grandmother was- -what her name was and why she married a man so much older than she was.   I will never know, so I imagine.

I had read stories about Karen  people who were being forced to do what was in the book. In some reports the Karen were  later killed  and in some cases they simply disappeared.   The descriptions in the book of the ways they were killed  along the river was taken  from various true reports. 

 Sometimes I think the Karen died at the hands of the army. Sometimes I imagine they killed themselves . Sometimes I imagine they are still hiding or that they have even escaped to a safe place.