Vol. 14


My Father’s Game of Dreams

1980s; Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, People’s Republic of China"My Father's Game of Dreams" illustration by Carissa Mitchell: A young boy on a bicycle comes around a curve in the road as he looks toward the mountains; off to the right is a map of China.

Every person has dreams, but not everyone has the resources to follow those soft and eager dreams. My father’s dream, when he was a starry-eyed ten-year-old, was to travel the vast land of his beautiful home country of China. He longed to go to the rice paddies of Yunnan, to follow the busy life at the capital (Beijing), and to travel to all the unique parts of China — from Tibet to the southern tip of China, to where Nanjing is kissing Thailand. My father longed to go and explore every single corner of China and, eventually, of the world. So he invented a game with my uncle, who was then twelve and resourceful, with many interesting ideas.

My father’s family did not have a lot of resources to actually visit these diverse places, but the boys still wanted an authentic experience. Kids in China during that period were not left with much to play with — only what they could make, or random “found” items. My uncle decided to think of his own game with the meager materials he had: a bicycle, a map of China (which my dad looked at for countless hours), and the will to travel.

So then the game began. Older brother and younger brother chose a place to “visit” and then got onto the bike. They pedaled until their legs were jelly or it seemed to be a correct amount of time to get to their mysterious destination. Then they “explored” their place and got to “meet the locals” and marvel at the fact that they were finally there. “Wow, did you know that Tibet was this cold? Don’t forget to bring your coat next time!” “Sichuan food sure is spicy!” It was a game of dreams, something that took the combined effort of both young and older.

As the boys grew up, this game was left aside, both brothers instead using the time to study. My father, in today’s age, is finally able to travel to the places he “visited” as a child. He marvels at the food that my uncle had made during their travels and laughs at what they thought the weather would have been like. He gasps at the beauty of every single place and, thankfully, takes my sister and me along for the ride. This game of dreams lives on within every single one of us, in our imaginations.

Karen Yang; New Jersey, USA

Illustrator: Carissa Mitchell; Missouri, USA



This copyrighted story may be copied and/or printed for limited classroom or personal use. To reprint this story in an article about The Grannie Annie, please contact The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration for permission.


Return to Vol. 14 Stories page



Built by Hen's Teeth Network