My paintings of inside the home shows where my other grandma lives in Shanghai, where my mom grew up, and where we always go to visit. Having my family in another country is wonderful, though they are distant, because I can see different ways of life.
This is the kitchen sink and only sink in my grandmother's home in Shanghai, China. This is where we wash our hands. And our fruit and vegetables. This is where I wash my hair when I go visit, because it's easier for me than doing it in the adjacent tub. This is the home where my mom grew up and where my 93 year old grandma lives. She doesn't speak English, so I have to speak in Chinese. The house seems to be very old and creaky. My mom describes to me how beautiful the house and neighborhood was when she was growing up. I believe her. But, I don't find it comfortable when we stay there, because I'm so used to a different living standard, but I think it's pleasant how long the house has been preserved. She lives on the third floor and her 104 year old brother lives right underneath her.
There's the hum of motorcycles, cars, and taxis. The rythmic dinging of a bell as a peddler passes through the streets. The nearby drilling on some old building - they are always needing repairs and improvements. And there's the gusts of the chilly December wind sweeping carelessly through the window panes, which are framed by old and peeling green paint. Looking out, the rain cruises down, somehow hoping to roll down to the bottom of the three story building. Behind the blurriness of the rain, the buildings seem naked without their usual decoration of clothes hanging from bamboo limbs.
I've been staring out this window since I was tall enough to see past the ledge. The scene is always different, even though I come often to visit my family in Shanghai.
I remember when this dresser loomed over me and me, eager to see what was on top of the dresser, would jump up and down to peer in the failing mirror, glimpse at photograph in the frame, and sneak a look at the time in that old clock all before my feet touched the wooden floor again. It is such a contrast to how I envision the room now with me, the tallest in the room. I am a giant now to the small wooden furniture and to my frail grandmother.
Over the years, the room has not changed, but I have. Each time I revisit, I notice something new or interesting that wasn't anything particularly special or interesting to me before. Such as this dresser with the chiming clock.