I had no idea when I started “rooting” that it would be so much more than finding my father’s village and honoring my ancestors in their homeland. It will take me years to fully process the experience. As a student of architecture, I was fascinated with the doors and windows. They became the symbol of my journey. So, here is my ode to the doors of Guangdong.
The journey to our ancestral villages in China,
thousands of miles away from our birthplace,
began with a single step.
Like knights on a heroic quest,
we’ve overcome many obstacles.
We’ve slain dragons of ignorance,
learning how our forefathers and mothers
were treated on the Gold Mountain.
We’ve unearthed records from the National Archives.
Some have been fortunate to learn the oral histories.
I was not one of those
because my father and my older brother
speak about their lives in China,
I persevered as we all have
at last we stepped through
the doorways of Guangdong,
where the past and the present collided.
We touched the hands of the villagers
the red thread of fate
pulled us together once again.
We know our quest is about so much more
than dots on ancestral tablets
even as we honor our ancestors.
We know it was our choice
to make this journey
and to take from it
whatever we choose.
Where will our next step take us?