A few days ago I was at my mom’s, looking through old photos that had been boxed up for years. I came across a few that fit perfectly with the early pages of my memoir, Good Chinese Wife.
My parents snapped this one as I bid them farewell at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport in June 1994. I was leaving on a flight to Seoul, where I’d continue on to Hong Kong. I meant to settle in Hong Kong forever, to build a new life there. But in the photo, I can sense the hesitation, the nervousness about moving abroad with a one-month tourist visa, no job, and no place to stay beyond a three-night reservation at the Y (which was never booked, as I’d find out 24 hours later).
Nine months later, I’m visibly more relaxed. This photo was taken on my wedding day, in a Tsim Sha Tsui hotel where I spent a one-night honeymoon. This is my wedding outfit.
Besides the long black jacket, I wore this white Chinese tunic over a brown sleeveless dress. In Good Chinese Wife, I write about the difficulty in finding a wedding outfit I could wear to class in the morning before I left for the wedding registry after lunch. It was also hard for me to find clothes in my size back then. Women in Hong Kong wore Western wedding dresses to their civil or church service. To put it nicely, this style was uniquely mine.
It’s interesting because while the first photo represents my big move to Hong Kong, it’s the others that really begin the story of my memoir.
I also found other photos from those early months that I’ll post in the days to come.