Being in college 4000 miles away from home has taught me the importance of spending time with my family when I can. Even before I left for school, my family would often watch TV together; we never really had the money to go out and do things, and even if we did, my dad is disabled so it’s difficult for him to go out and do many activities. Even when my dad is alone, he often watches TV because his seizures prevent him from working or driving, so there’s not much else he can do. Over the past few years, my dad has found himself alone quite a bit, though – my sister moved out, my mom works twelve-to-fourteen-hour shifts, and I’m at school. I only work part-time in the summer, so luckily I get to spend most of the day with my dad, and though I’m often able to drive us places to do other things, we’re sometimes stuck at home, so we once again find ourselves watching TV.
Often, the only things we have to watch are shows I have downloaded onto my laptop. This means cramming onto the couch next to a little desk trying to share an eleven-inch screen. Obviously this isn’t extremely comfortable, but it still ends up being one of the most enjoyable ways to spend time together. A lot of the shows I have are Korean variety shows, and it’s nice to be able to share my interests with my dad, especially because my parents don’t have a lot of exposure to Korean language or culture in my hometown. Last summer we watched a show about a boy band vacationing at a small island off the Korean peninsula, and my dad commented that it would be cool to visit somewhere like that. Hearing him express interest made me realize that one day in the future, I could maybe take him and my mom to visit Korea, especially if I end up living there. Seeing my dad branch out and watch things he had never considered is nice, especially because it helps him understand my interests.
I also learn a lot about his interests by watching things he likes. Though we already shared much of our music taste, the music documentaries we often watch gives me a greater appreciation for bands he enjoys and what it was like for him to grow up with them. We also watch a lot of concert DVDs for these bands, and every summer we end up watching Journey: Live in Manila. It’s nice to see my dad so enthusiastic about music, and I appreciate that he shares this enthusiasm with me so that we can be closer and better understand each other.