Do you know what? I can’t even see my screen as I write this. I those two days, I never left the apartment, my Granny’s beloved apartment, only moving from my bedroom to shower and complete incense burning rituals.
Granny Daisy means the entire universe and beyond to me. We lost my Grandad before I was born and my other grandparents lived in Malaysia. Like so many other first-generation British born Chinese kids, I was raised by three adults: Mum, Dad and Granny. Friday evenings were spent at her home, running wild with my siblings and cousins until my hair was so matted from sweat that I could sweetly force her to do my hair in French plaits. We played pirate ships in her wardrobe, drove her insane playing hide and seek, chase, begging her to let us play out in the garden where we’d inevitably trample on her beloved flowerbeds. We eagerly awaited 8.30pm when, just before the TVB news broadcast, she’d cut up several varieties of fruit, so colourful, into bitesize pieces for us. Then we’d grab a piece and rush around playing chase in the house, smashing bits of kiwi and banana into the carpet. I remember us playing so much that Granny would pull out her spare bedding and tuck us in to sleep upstairs before our parents finished work at the takeaway. We’d wake up at 9.25am for SM:TV, still in porpor’s house and watch Pokemon as she gave her crazy commentary.
As we grew up, we still loved spending time at Granny’s. I loved her casual use of the odd English word here and there “lee-mol kuntrol (remote control)”, when she spoke Cantonese to the poor Tesco fishmonger counter lady – forcing her to learn Cantonese! I loved when she surprised us with jelly after dinner. I loved when she made my siblings, cousins and I race around the garden in the summer. I loved when she came to surprise me after my first day at secondary school. I loved when she pretended she was visiting us when really she wanted to use our massage chair and watch TVB on a HD TV. I loved her crazy shirts that she picked up in Hong Kong and her penchant for wearing regal purple like the Queen she knew she was. I loved how she was not-so-secretly addicted to Mini Rolls, M&S yum yums and Lucozade. Sundays filled with huge batches of her homemade Hakka food, of her special turnip cake and glutinous rice for Chinese holidays, laughing as she muted all animal and wildlife documentaries and commentated along for us. (We’d put the subtitles on and giggle at her completely made-up narratives!)
My Granny isn’t the sweet, quiet, chilled out lady that many think of at the word ‘Grandma’. She was loud, hilarious in her own way, full of incredible tales from Hong Kong, China and those early days when they moved their family to England. She was inconceivably proud of every single thing that we achieved and was always the first person I wanted to tell whenever I did well at Uni. That was the big thing for her.
Right now I can’t comprehend life without my beloved porpor. The reason I adore Sunday so much is because every single week, we’d round it off by nesting at her home, all of her beloved grandkids together eating her food, in my case helping her grow melons, complimenting her on her fresh produce and generally getting under her feet. I don’t know what to do on a Sunday now.
I’ve scheduled this post to publish whilst I’m away in Seoul. Thank you all so much for your incredible words of support over on Twitter. I’m truly blown away by your kindness.