As he sat there, waiting to board his flight to Nairobi, Kenya, he could still hear his mother demanding for the umpteenth time, “Why do you have to go there?”
“My company is sending me there, Ma.”
“Why Africa? Why not America or Canada or England?”
“They need me in Nairobi. Besides, I’ve always wanted to go to Kenya.”
“Why? What’s there for you except wild animals and natives.”
“Nairobi is a city, Ma. There are no wild animals wandering about in it. In fact it has been dubbed the most intelligent city in Africa. And I’ve heard that Kenyan people are multifaceted and friendly.”
“How will you be able to communicate with them? You can’t speak their language and they can’t speak yours.”
“We can both speak English.”
She looked surprised. “They speak English?”
“Yes. English is one of their official languages.”
“Hmm. Well, it’s a dangerous country.
“How do you know that? You’ve never even been there.”
“I’ve heard about their foaming oceans and secret potions.”
“Ma, the sea foams are on the west coast of Cape Peninsula in South Africa, not Nairobi. And witchcraft was illegal in the country.”
“You’re going to be the only Chinese person in Kenya.”
“On the contrary, Ma, there are lots of Chinese people living and working there.”
“Perhaps, you’ll find yourself a nice Chinese girl although it would have been better for you to find her here. On second thought, I hope you don’t meet a Chinese girl because if you do, you’ll never come back to China.”
“You and Da can always visit me,” he said and was given a nasty look.
“If you want to see your father and me, you have to come to Hong Kong. We’re not coming to Nairobi.”
At least they came to see him off at the airport and she clung to him, crying. “Ma, don’t cry.” He couldn’t stand to see her cry.
“I can’t help it,” she said, dabbing her eyes. “I don’t know when I’ll see you again.”
“I’ll come for a visit as soon as I can, I promise.”
That seemed to calm her down somewhat. He shook his father’s hand and then, he was walking away from them and to a new life.
The call to board the flight interrupted his thoughts now and he got up from his seat, his heart pounding with excitement. Nairobi, here I come.