everything's fine with Jenny Yang
everything's fine with Jenny Yang Podcast
for those of us who wish our parents could have nice things #GoesToItalyOnce

for those of us who wish our parents could have nice things #GoesToItalyOnce

i took my mom to her first British tea and she said "what diabetes?"

thank you for subscribing! so many new friends on here now. i’d love for my posts to be a place of joy and reflection. please comment and like to let me know you’re reading and listening. <3 jenny (pssss los angeles: my next big live show #SelfHelpMe: a competitive self-care comedy show is tue june 13th at dynasty typewriter come say hi! tickets here)

#GoesToItalyOnce is a series about the European trip i took in November 2022 with my mom and my guy Corey. we spent four days in Rome (Italy), two days in London (UK), four days in Paris (France), two days in Florence (Italy), then one more night in Rome before we flew back to Los Angeles. the week that my dad passed away in 2021 i wanted to give my mom something to look forward to besides all the grief. i told her i’d take her to Europe so she can see it for the first time. exactly a year after dad’s death, we made it happen. after this trip my mom and i will never be the same again.

This one goes out to anyone who has ever dreamed of spoiling their parents to experience “nice things.” You know, the things that they don’t have access to either financially or culturally. Things that only you know about because you know more about living in this Western culture. Especially when they are immigrant parents, often times they don’t even know what they don’t know.

When I got back from my 16-day tour across Europe, one of the first questions my friends asked me was, “How was it to travel with your mom for such a long trip?”

This moment about sums it up.

When we were in London, I treated my mom to her first proper British tea. It was at the JW Marriott hotel — a leisurely three-hour experience of fine linens, champagne, our own pots of perfectly brewed tea, too much silverware, and snacks we couldn’t finish.

mama yang’s first time at british afternoon tea. the spread was bonkers opulent. she said it’s so nice to forget about her diabetes for a few hours hahahah. JW Marriott in London. november 2022.

An indulgent British tea is something my mom would NEVER ask for or pay for herself. “Enjoy the trappings of the colonizer? I never!” But you know what they say: when in London, do as the craven colonizers would do!

I did NOT tell her how much the tea cost because she’s the kinda gal who would not stop obsessing about it. She grew up in scarcity. She is used to minimizing her spending and her life as much as possible. My mom doesn’t drive, doesn’t speak English and her main physical footprint all these years living in Los Angeles was going between the garment factory, the grocery store and home. One of my earliest memories as a little Taiwanese immigrant girl in America was telling her that I learned about the word “hobby” at school. I asked her if she had any hobbies (In my kid-level Mandarin Chinese trying to explain, “You know things you do just for fun and joy that’s not for work.”) She said, “Silly girl. What’s a hobby? That doesn’t exist for me. lol”

mama yang was like, what’s a scone? i thought this was a muffin.

After the long tea sesh, mom and I waited in the fancy lobby while Corey and our buddy Jon were in the restroom (Jon’s a fellow actor on The Brothers Sun who’s based in England!). I went over to her and squeezed all five foot-short of her body with my wingspan. I asked, “Mommy. Wasn’t that so delicious and fun?”

For a few seconds I didn’t think she was going to respond. Then, while her face was still buried in my chest, I felt her body gently shake. I pulled her head away from me to see her face was red and wet.

Through tiny sobs she said and repeated the words, “很開心.” / “Very happy.” This of course made ME cry. I squeezed her tightly again and said, “Don’t cry mommy. If you are happy, why cry? Just enjoy.”

She buried her face in me again, sobbing. When she finally came up for air she said, “你爸爸沒有這個福氣 / Your father doesn’t have my luck.”

This of course BROKE ME. I held her so tight I wished I could’ve squeezed the bittersweet out of her. In her moment of happiness all she could think about was my dad.

mama really like these little butterfly art moments dotting the tea area.

Ever since my dad died in November 2021, my mom has refused to talk with me about him. She immediately shuts it down saying it’s all in the past. It’s too painful for her. So all that my brothers and I can do is encourage her to look forward to positive things and have new experiences. Taking this two-week long trip was the most time I’ve spent with her since living at home a very long time ago. It allowed her to naturally feel and share her moments of grief with me in real time.

As my mom would say, I spent way too much money spoiling her on this trip to Europe. And it was worth every penny.

What is something you’ve done for your parents that they’d never do for themselves? What do you WISH you could do to treat your parents? Give them a taste of the life you’ve been able to live? I’d love to know in the comments below and share in the bittersweet joy of it all.

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And now some more photos of tea time with Mama Yang.

so many jams and clotted cream to try.
thank you asians for this colonized tea lol
this full tower of goodies doesn’t even capture the champagne we started with and the fancy dessert drink topped with a fluffy tuft of cotton candy at the end.


everything's fine with Jenny Yang
everything's fine with Jenny Yang Podcast
everything’s fine with Jenny Yang is your weekly reminder to find joy in an unjust world. jenny’s thoughts and stories about love, grief, weird shit, and doing what we can to feel okay. this thing may morph into something else. who knows? i hope to touch your heart and tickle your sphincters. and if you like it, please share this with a friend and subscribe and comment.
<3 jenny