Everytime I go home, I realize how little I know about my parents and grandparents.

My Grandfather, on my mom’s side, has diabetes. Nothing too serious, but he’s always been thin. He wasn’t diagnosed until he moved to the US, well after my family moved to Florida. His grandparents owned a general store and spoiled him with sweets when he was younger.

My grandparents were matched by a friend of both families. By tradition, the guy visits in the girl’s family to check her out. The girl serves tea and if the guy think that she is the one he wants to marry, he presents them with a fat envelope with a lot of cash. My grandfather cheated- he went to check out my grandmother at the school she taught at before he went to visit her family. He gave her the envelope at the meeting.

But my grandmother’s father didn’t like my grandfather- saying he was too thin, looked sickly, and there must be something wrong with him. The Matchmaker said it would be nearly impossible to give back the money, offered to take my granfather to the doctor to prove there was nothing wrong with him, said if she turned down my grandfather her family would lose the matchmaker as a friend because he would lose face.

Needless to say, my grandfather and grandmother got married. They are one of the nicest people I know. It makes me sad everytime I think about it, that I can’t communicate well with them. They’ve been taking English lessons for several years now and we talk with a mix of English, Taiwanese, and Madarin. But I always wonder how much more I would get out of them, if I spoke better Mandarin or Taiwanese.