On sacrifies

Kelamayi 2018

After a series of falls, and heated arguments, there was no choice but to move my grand parents into the retirement home. By the time I visited, they had lived there for about 3 months, and just about managed to adjusted to their new life.

0900: Breakfast
1000-1130: Morning activity
1200: Lunch
1300-1500: Sleep
1600-1730: Afternoon activity
1800: Dinner
2100: Sleep

要强 [yao qiang]: eager to compete, stubborn, threatened, tough, petty, dignified

Grandma embodied the idea of 要强 when she was young; now, being semi wheelchair bound, and dependent on a nurse, she’s coming to terms with living against her nature. 

At 84 years old, grandad was still in extremely good health.

He moved in for the sake of his wife, knowing full well how the new home would expedite his mental deterioation.

He was a cherished member of the exclusive “tea club” at the home, which was created for those who are still mentally sound.
He told me that he found these events contrived, the interactions tedious, and only really participated out of boredom.

Grandma never joined him.

Most of their free time was spent walking around the enclosed compounds, under the watchful eyes the other residents; similar to how it was back on their housing estates, but without being able to venture beyond the walls, or retire back to the privacy of their flat. 

The activities on offer was a rotation of singing lessons, health lectures, and crafts making workshops.

When I asked him if he felt the juvenileness of these activities felt undignified, he laughed about their naivety, and said “they treat us like we’re in kindergarden, but at least my hands and fingers are more agile now”.

Happiness for them means being together and being physically healthy, everything else was secondary -
the retirement home affords them of this.

Bell Tower, Xi’an