During my 2 months stay in Portland, Oregon, I commuted every day with Max Blue Line train and occasionally with street cars, too. I always enjoyed watching people and witnessed some drama during the 40 minutes journey from the downtown of Portland to Beaverton or on the way back from Beaverton to downtown Portland.
One day, I was sitting nicely on the Max train, there were two young girls and a boy sitting in front of me. The train was pretty empty, there were a lot of free seats, but one of the girls chose to sit on her boyfriend’s lap and sometimes they kissed passionately, in front of everyone… yes, on the train! (get a room, guys! –> this is how people usually responded, but at that time, nobody said anything).
Anyway, these two girls were wearing a pretty funky outfit. The girl in brunette hair was wearing a super mini skirt with black boots and a funny looking bandana, carrying a moppet. The other girl who was sitting on her boyfriend’s lap was wearing a hot pants with laced stockings, with big necklace hanging on her neck.
An old man who sat next to me tried to make conversations with them, probably out of his curiosity about their background. Since I was sitting right in front of them and next to the old man, I heard everything they said. From their conversation, I learned that these two girls were sisters. They have the same father, but different mothers. It’s pretty normal, these days. But check this out:
Old man : “How old are you and where do you study?”
Girl with the moppet : “Oh.. I’m 19 and I’m home-schooling”
Old man : “What do you mean by home-schooling?”
Girl with the moppet: “I study from home, I get all the materials from the Internet”
Old man : “I see… why didn’t you go to a normal university?”
Girl with the moppet : “Uhm.. I don’t know… I like it this way, because I have more time to do other stuff”
Old man : “What other stuff?
Girl with the moppet: “Hanging out.. playing with her (looking at her sister who was busy kissing her boyfriend)”
Old man : “Where did you go for high school?”
Girl with the moppet : “I didn’t go to high school, I also did online school from home”
Old man : *confused* “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Girl with the moppet : “Uhmmm… I don’t know… uhm…. everything”
Old man : “What do you mean?”
Girl with the moppet : “I want to be everything”
Old man : “Everything? Like a singer, doctor, or lawyer or an actress? Which one would you choose?”
Girl with the moppet : “Yes, I want to be a singer, doctor, lawyer, successful actress… everything”
*silent* (and the old man looked puzzled).
Old man, now talking to her sister : “How about you, young lady? Do you go to school or you do online school like your sister?”
The younger sister : “Oh, I go to high school. We’re actually step sisters. Her Dad married my Mom and we have 9 brothers and sisters in total. She has 5 and I have 4“.
Old man : “Wow!!! That’s a big family! Do you all live together in one house?”
The younger sister : “Yes, apart from me”
Old man : “Wow, it must be very crowded in the morning! I can’t imagine how you guys do the toilet arrangements”
The girl with the moppet : “Oh yeah, it’s horrible! We only have 1 toilet. Morning time is the worst! She (pointing at her younger step sister) is very lucky because she doesn’t have to deal with that s*it”.
The younger sister : “Yeah… I’m so happy that I left that house. It was just horrible.. horrible. And our Dad loves to drink and sometimes when he has a fight with Mom, we all can hear it”
Old man : “Oh man… Are you close to him?”
The girl with the moppet : “Uhm.. not really. He never hugs me”
The younger sister : “Yeah.. he never hugs us”
It was a pretty absurd conversation and it kept on going like that. How they lived their life freely and just did whatever they wanted to and their parents never told them to do anything, and how they liked it that way, because they could just do whatever, including choosing going to school or not.
I didn’t want to judge people. There’s nothing wrong to dress funky or sexy, gothic style or anything like that. There’s nothing wrong to do home schooling, online school or proper school. But I was a bit disappointed when the girl with the moppet couldn’t even answer a simple question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” She had no idea. I think, even when you’re 19, you already have a dream. Any dream. But from her facial expression, this girl seemed a bit lost and confused.
Getting out of the tram, I wander around the shops in the downtown of Portland and bumped into them again nearby the Nordstrom Rack. They were walking around and checking out some windows of the shops from the street and take turn in riding the pink moppet.
Looking at them, a short but powerful sentence echoed in my head, “Hug your kids”
A simple hug from parents means a lot to their children. Children would feel loved. Without a hug, they would feel abandoned and lost. I think. I loved when my Mom and Dad hugged me. From their hugs, I knew that they loved me.
And because of that, I wanted to make them proud.
Because of that, I always tried to get a good grade in class and always tried to be at least the top 5 in class and I nailed it.
Because of that, I managed to graduate from my university as “The Best Student of the Year” from my major.
Because of that, I wanted to have a good career and be successful.
It’s all because I wanted to make them proud.
It’s all because the plenty of hugs they gave me.
It’s all because they loved me and I felt loved.
Hug means love.
Hug your kids.