The Luggage Lady

As a long distance runner, I’ve recently started working out at a local CrossFit gym, Decibel, to build some upper body strength that I otherwise had none of. In a span of roughly six weeks, I am happy to report that I am starting to see – but more importantly, FEEL – the results. When I first started, I was able to do zero push ups (God, I feel so vulnerable putting it out there like that). Just last week, however, my coach congratulated me as I can now do two. In a row, I might add.

So what’s a girl to do with all of this new found muscle? What any sensible daughter with a clear conscience would do, of course. Lug the extra suitcases for a mother who has zero concept about the term “baggage limit.” My mother and I are about to embark on a journey to the motherland, AKA the great island nation of Taiwan and as usual, my mother has saved her packing for the last minute, and because we are going during Chinese New Year, her stress is at an all-time high. Mama Kim is a classic example of an overpacker and is always coming up with creative new ways to push the envelope on how to warp this term.

Case in point –

Me: “Why is there only one suitcase set aside for me?”
My mom: “Oh, I took one. You’re only there for a few weeks while I’ll be there for a few months so I am using one of your suitcase allowances to pack more.”
Me: “Do you really need 3 suitcases for all of your things?”
My mom: “I’ll be there for A FEW MONTHS! The weather is going to change a lot!”
Me: “Are you not planning on doing laundry at all while you’re there?”
My mom: “I don’t have time for this. I need to go pack.”

If this act of generosity doesn't get me nominated for Daughter of the Year, I don't know what will

If this act of generosity doesn’t get me nominated for Daughter of the Year, I don’t know what will

I’m not of much help as I watch on, as she divvies up all of her belongings into “only” three suitcases. The thing is, she knows she embodies everything about what it means to be an heavy packer, and yet, there have been zero attempts to stage an intervention. In fact, after returning from a trip to San Francisco last weekend to visit my cousin Tiffany, who is also going to Taiwan for the holiday, I found out just how grave this situation had become when Skyping with Tiffany.

My mom: “So how was the trip? Did you enjoy ‘Book of Mormon’?”
Tiffany: “It was great! We all really had a great time, it was hilarious.”
My mom: “That’s good. OH! You know what I just realized?”
Tiffany: “What’s that?”
My mom: “Well Sandy took Southwest up to see you in SF. Doesn’t Southwest allow for two free checked bags? Darn, I should have had her go with a packed suitcase for you to take back to Taiwan too!”

As I relayed this story to my father, who is already in Taiwan, I laughed as I commented on how my mother must have been kidding.

My dad: “Hahahaha! But NO. She was NOT joking.”

One Bag of Rice

Any participating member of society has heard at some point of the misery the male species has suffered at the hands of their female counterparts when out shopping. Let us not forget, however, of another demographic that remains equally afflicted – if not more – from obligatory participation in retail therapy yet has no voice to champion their cause: children whose parents bring them along for this “pastime.”

As a child, my siblings and I would be frequently taken to the Asian mecca of western suburbia, 99 Ranch Market, under the ruse that my mother only needed “one bag of rice.” 3 pounds of Fuji apples, a 6-pack of udon noodles, a package of pork balls, several sheets of fish cake, enough garlic to ward off Dracula, and multiple bunches of scallions later, we would emerge.

This looks like a cartoon, but it is actually a photograph.

This looks like a cartoon, but it is actually a photograph.

“One bag of rice.” Please.

So when my younger brother Dennis and Jamie sister returned with what looked like every fiber of their core sucked from their beings after a trip to the outlet stores with my mother, I knew exactly what happened.

My sister: “Mom said we were going to two stores, J. Crew and Banana Republic. Two. Stores. Do you KNOW where we ended up going to? J. Crew and Banana Republic, AND THEN to Tumi, Armani Exchange, Gap, Vans, and Nike.”
My mom: “Well J. Crew was closed, so it didn’t count in the quota!”
My sister: “Do you KNOW what Dennis and I did at Gap!? We waited in line. So that Mom wouldn’t have to. And do you KNOW what she bought!? One pair of pants. ONE.”

Looks like shopping with our mother in 2013 is exactly like it was in 1993.