Happy Father’s Day From the Other Side of the World

Sarah M. Chenby Sarah M. Chen

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Father’s Day. I was going to post something non-Father’s Day-ish, but then figured I should take the opportunity to post a little tribute to my own father. Especially since I won’t see him on this day.

I never see him on Father’s Day. He lives in Taiwan and I only see him twice a year when he flies to L.A. He comes out for about a week and we’ll have lunch or dinner or both. Then he flies back and it won’t be for another six months that I see him.

I mail him a Father’s Day card every year so it arrives before Father’s Day in June. Every year he says thank you and that Father’s Day is August 8 in Taiwan. I vow to send him another Father’s Day card in August just to show him that I’m listening to him, but then I always forget. Interestingly, Father’s Day isn’t an official holiday in Taiwan. August 8 was chosen because 8/8 is “ba ba” in Chinese which is similar to how you say “father” in Chinese.

We Skype about once a week, sometimes more. We email each other almost daily. Some would say it’s too bad we don’t see each other but at least we email daily. It is nice, but what I don’t tell people is that my dad is all business. His emails are mostly instructions for me. I handle all his business out here and it’s like having a fourth job.

However, since the publication of my first book, his emails have been more personal. I’d send him links to reviews, my Amazon page, and pictures from my book signings. His emails come back with questions like, “What’s a Kindle? Can I get the book in Taiwan? Is Finn a common name in mystery fiction?” Things like that. But I can tell that he’s proud of me because he’s actually taken the time to type this out. He’s not a fast typist.20160517_180722

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My short story is in this anthology “Death and the Detective” and look at the cool Chinese characters on the pages!

He said he’d buy 10 copies of CLEANING UP FINN. I have them waiting here for him when he flies back here in August. He’ll take them back to his college in Taiwan where he works and put them in the school library, in the English Language section. He did this for one of my anthologies and it was pretty exciting to find it in the school library.

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In the English-language section of the college library in Taiwan.

I warned him that students probably shouldn’t be learning English by reading FINN unless they want to read about a lecherous womanizer who curses a lot, but he said it was no big deal. I guess if it’s not required reading for an ESL class, then it’s OK.

Of course, he’ll never actually read the book. He hasn’t read anything I’ve written and I’ve become used to that. He supports me in the way he knows how and that’s enough for me.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

 

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Sarah M. Chen juggles several jobs including indie bookseller, transcriber, and insurance adjuster. Her crime fiction short stories have been accepted for publication online and in various anthologies, including All Due Respect, Plan B, Shotgun Honey, Crime Factory, Out of the Gutter, Betty Fedora, and, Dead Guns Press. Cleaning Up Finn is her first book and it’s available now with All Due Respect Books. www.sarahmchen.com

 

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28 Responses to Happy Father’s Day From the Other Side of the World

  1. How sweet. I hope you and your dad are having a special Father’s Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joe Stephens says:

    My dad has read all my books but he’s never said anything about them. I think he likes them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a nice post. You seem to do pretty well with staying in touch with your father. Can people from Taiwan buy from US Amazon?
    In a much earlier draft my mother read the beginnings of Detective Rules (it was called Shopping Can Be Deadly then) and her only comment was, “Your detective seems to talk a lot.”
    – Stephen

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jetarski says:

    Lovely post, Sarah. I would have loved it my my father and mother could have read my first published stories. (I’m lucky to draw a small fan base from some of my brothers and sisters, and that feels pretty good.) Happy FD to your 8/8.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Andrew! My mom reads my stories which feels good. That’s great your siblings are supportive and read your work. Too bad I’m an only child! 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  5. Nancy Jardine says:

    Sarah, the relationship between you and your dad is enhanced only a little by a Father’s Day card- but your daily contact is supreme! Keeping in touch regularly takes effort and you’re doing a wonderful job there, as is he. I’m sure your dad is very proud of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Doris says:

    What a gift you give each other. When my mother was alive, she was my greatest supporter. She didn’t live to see my work reach a wider audience, but i know she is smiling down.

    Continued success in your writing and your relationship with your father. What a treasure you can connect each day. Doris

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mike Staton says:

    Thank God for modern technology… emails and skyping. Just think what life was like in the 18th and 19th centuries when folks headed to new lands on sailing ships and covered wagons. When I was a kid and we were visiting the grandparents in Ohio, I’d wave goodbye when it was time to leave. Grandma would be crying, I’d be crying, everyone would be crying. Just think if you were saying goodbye and you knew you’d never again see them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, I can’t imagine not having email and Skype. My dad and I used to write each other letters when I was younger. Calling was too expensive. Looking back, that seems archaic. Mail would take forever to get there. It would be terribly sad to say good-bye knowing that was it. Thanks for reading and commenting, Mike.

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  8. katewyland says:

    I second what Mike says. It’s wonderful that you can email and Skype with your dad. We have a daughter in London and our main communication is the same. So much nicer than having to depend on snail mail. Put a reminder on your calendar and surprise your dad this August. Bet he’ll love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kathy Waller says:

    I love this post, Sarah. You’ve given us a wonderful picture of your father. Having ten copies of your book in a library in Taiwan–that’s exciting. I wish my parents were here to read what I’ve written. I think they’d be proud, and my father would probably be surprised at what his daughter dreamed up. My husband said he’ll read my published stories eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kathy. I think my mom is surprised by what I create. She reads everything I write, although I don’t think she’s read my novella yet. She did buy a copy though. I’m sure your husband will read your stories. Maybe he’s not a fiction reader (as I find many men will say). That’s how my dad is. Thanks for reading and commenting, Kathy!

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  10. Thank you for sharing your unusual relationship with your dad, Sarah. Very interesting to know that Father’s Day is different around the world. Even if your dad doesn’t say it all the time, he’s really proud of you. My dad was the same way and it was only after he was rushed to the hospital and I had to go back to get things he needed that I found all my tapes (my songwriting) scattered all over his bed and in his tape recorder. It was then I knew.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I love that story about your dad, Linda! Sounds like both of our fathers showed their support in subtle quiet ways that I find so endearing. Thanks for reading and sharing. 🙂

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  11. Sounds a little bit like my husband, he’s never read my books by himself, but supports me in his own loving way. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It seems men are more reluctant to read, especially fiction. At least the men in my family have been that way. It’s great your husband supports in his own way. Thanks for reading and commenting, Darrah!

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  12. I love your post, Sarah! Although my father lives a lot closer to me (about 450 miles away) sometimes it will be months before I see him and mom, especially during the winter (I love driving and traveling, but not on snowy roads!!) I’m thankful for phones — there was a period of about 15 years when my parents had no telephone and lived more than 500 miles away, so communication was only via letter — or sheriff’s department: that’s how my mom learned her mother had passed away, from a visit by a deputy sheriff. Thank you for sharing some insight into your family dynamics (by the way, my dad isn’t verbally supportive of my writing either: I think he wishes I’d stuck with a permanent, full-time “real job.”) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mine too, Gayle! My dad probably doesn’t understand my passion for writing. It is amazing how far technology has come to enable us to communicate faster and easier no matter where we are around the world. That would be so devastating to find out of a parent’s passing via a sheriff visit. I can’t even imagine. Thanks for reading and commenting, Gayle.

      Like

  13. S J Brown says:

    You are fortunate to still have your father in your life. From your blog it is obvious you realize this and enjoy the time you two do spend together. I am sure the time he spends with you is also precious to him.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Wranglers says:

    Glad you have so much communication with your Dad. I miss my dad. If email would have been popular during his days on earth, he would have utilized it. He kept up with most things that were going on. We didn’t see each other that often after I grew up, we didn’t live close to each other, but I tried to see him as often as I could. His last year I saw him a few times a month, which was nice. Dad’s need Father’s Day , no matter if it is in June or August. Nice post, glad to get some insight into your world. Cher’ley

    Like

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