the other night i realized something amazing. i’ve been to the online world for ten years. i got my first modem at home when i was 16 and i’m turning 26 soon. TEN YEARS.. that’s a long time. a very significant part of a life. from 16 to 26, a person can change so much. so i started to remember everything that happened in this ten years. i became so emotional i couldn’t sleep. perhaps every generation has its own thing that’s bound to change people’s lives and the internet is the one for mine.
now please excuse my poor english. i can never express my emotions in english the way i do in chinese. therefore i notice when i get emotional, i speak in chinglish.
i was born in a very unhappy family. my father’s family never got along with my mom’s and til this day they still do not get along. after my mom married my dad, as chinese tradition, she started living at her parents in law’s home. they fought so much. but since that was i came to this world, everything was merely hearsay. then i came, the fighting continued. after my parents stared living on their own, they fought about everything. my childhood memories were full of fighting, moving, glass breaking, door slamming etc. the happy moments were very limited. my parents fought with themselves and fought with their parents. the fightings many times turned physical. my mother had chipped tooth and my father had bloody nose.
when i was in the second grade, my father found a job in the US and moved. my mother and i were left in china by ourselves. since she hated my father’s family, she forbid me from having any contact with them. i was seriously scared to see my father’s side of family. my aunt and uncle some time visited me at school, i would run away from them. one time my uncle insisted giving me ten RMB (about 1.25 U.S. dollar) and my mom found out. she took the money and threw back to their faces and said “who wanted your (insert your cuss word) money”. because of this, i really did not know anyone from my father’s family well. the last two times when i went back to china, i felt rather awkward meeting them. altho i know they are family, i have very little to share with them.
many things happened in the four years when my father was not around. i still don’t know til this day if my parents ever loved each other after they got married. it seems their lives were filled with abuse and hatred. my father stopped writing to us about six months after he left. i felt my mother had some mental breakdowns but i was too young to understand. then finally things changed around and i was told my father invited us to go to the US with him. but before he invited us, he first invited his parents for a short visit. when my mother and i arrived, my father’s parents were still here. at first my mother tried to get along with her parents in law. but that did not last. the fights turned physical and a couple of times even the police arrived. i was 12 at the time, i understood and got hurt a lot more. some of most dirty things i’ve witnessed as a human happened in that period. they seem vivid even now.
after my grandparents left, i continued my life in my parents’ constant fighting. they had separate bank accounts because they distrusted each other. then they fought about monetary responsibilities every month when the bills were due. this fighting continued to money i needed for school. it’s funny. it really does not cost much for a child to go to high school in the US. only a few times i needed money for math competition trips. when i asked my mom, she said to ask my dad. and when i asked my dad he said to ask my mom. as no one wanted to raise me. i remember i couldn’t come up with the money a few times and i was thankfully the teacher still let me go.
then came the emotional abuse from my mom. i loved my mom. i tried to protect her when she fought with my father only because i felt as a woman, i understand how easily hurt we are. but my mom didn’t feel the same for me. there are so many stories i could talk about. i will just tell one. my junior year the fighting between my parents escalated. at the time we lived in a 1976 trailer that cost $5000. it was in horrible shape. but since my mom paid for it (long story) she thought she had the right to drive my father out. of course she did not really want my father to move out, she wanted him to pay the utilities/or whatever she wanted him to pay. for many many days, my mom would get up at 3am and bang on my father’s door and yell from the top her lung “get the **** out of my house” and then continue yelling until the morning. i was sleeping in the next room with a sliding door. it really scared me. altho i was using to their fighting, this new style certainly could cause heart attack. one snowy day i came home from school, the house looked as if it was robbed. there was broken dishes and glasses everywhere and there was no water, electricity or heat. i left and stayed a night at a friends house. the next morning my mom called me. she said to me on the phone and i should come home and check out my dad. she said she gave him a bloody nose and he looked like a clown and it was hilarious.
unable to live under my mother’s rage, my father and i planned to move out. we did after two weeks and my mom went crazy. she wanted to find out where we lived so she could continue fighting. she started showing up at my school. i tried to avoid her but one time she caught me by surprise. two weeks earlier a teacher realized my problem and notified my counselor. they told me if my mom showed up again, i could bring her to my counselor. i took my mom to my counselor’s office and my counselor could not do much to help me. my mom cussed me out in chinese and accused me of persuading my dad to divorce her. i had to translate what she was saying and asked my counselor to give my father a call to verify my innocence. i know, how utterly funny. but that sorta things filled my life.
now i did not actually intend to write down all these when i started writing. but before i realize it the “i was born in a very unhappy family” led to such a long digression. i don’t usually fill my blog with my personal problems but sometimes i do feel like ranting a little. this is the only other entry i can think of where i went into some details about my mom. and i’ve also encountered plenty of oppositions in my feelings toward my mom. i used to be a part of a group called asian abuse and we went through a huge debate about abuse. the most touching part came out the debate was andy’s words.
because of my family, i thirsted for love while growing up. i did contemplate committing suicide because of my mom. i felt i was saved by friends and some of these friends came from the internet.
the first two things that changed my life when i got internet access at home was ICQ and the yuan club at sinanet. i met many other chinese friends on the yuan club. friends who helped creating my first website. friends who are willing to listen to my story and understand me. i remember my days were filled with email writing. they also called me long distance. i recorded my singings and greetings in chinese and sent the tapes all over the world. what a crazy 16 yo. but it was a very precious time.
and then i met my first love online. we loved so beautifully. full of poetry, dreams and touching moments. you can only understand the kind of romance if you’ve read qiong yao‘s books. it was the kind of love she writes in every book of hers. at the time i constantly have things to write about. i kept a chinese diary that addressed to him for two entire years. i’d write at least once a day and sometimes more than once a day. altho my family did not give me love, i still had a lot to love about. every little plant, scene or object would make me happy as long as it reminded me of him. he was someone i could close my eyes and dream about the universe with. some of those dreams were captured in our sky but much were not.
in our third physical meeting in two years, i broke up with him. i realized that the kind of love i had was not practical. some feelings have to happen in real life not just dreams. but i would never regret to have loved him. even if it was an illusion. it was the most beautiful illusion a person can have. i feel i’ve definitely experienced something most people couldn’t. the kind of out of body soul touching love that may last forever if we don’t have to worry about washing dishes, making dinner or paying bills.
aside from this love, i found another true love in my life. that would be my love for web programming. it led into something much more practical like a career.
i started my very first website in 1998. it was hosted on tripod.com named dodo’s world. back then i used to use a microsoft graphic software, frontpage to make webpages. i used to own many projects like webrings, button exchange, cliques, group blogs etc. after my experience grew, i registered my first personal domain. that was regretless.com. this is the first layout for regretless.com. it’s a picture of me.
it became a collective domain of mine and hosted many projects. one of the most popular sites was dodo’s new world. it had tutorials, games, fun stuff and services like cute graphical counters, voting system, alarm alerts etc. i spent pretty much all my spare time in college running my web projects. my message board which started by using UBB (cgi script) to then ikonboard (php script) and then XMB, devBB and finally a complete script written by myself has such a long history of amazing stories. some of these memories were captured by our 2003 and 2004 yearbooks. i remember the people on my board made so much beautiful gifts for my 20th birthday. it made me speechless. i regret i did not save that page as it was hosted by daynah.
Dodo’s New World version 1
Dodo’s New World version 2
Dodo’s New World version 3
Dodo’s Ikonbaord version 10
lil button exchange version 6
New Millennium webring version 4
Regretless.com version 9
Unfortunately I don’t have a screenshot for every layout I have ever made. If only I knew better back then, I would have taken a screenshot for each layout. They are so precious.
Nowadays the internet continues to be a great source of entertainment. i can watch full chinese soap opera and entertainment shows on youtube. share all kinds of interesting stuff with friends and coworkers.
So what about the next ten years? I know the change for me as a person will be less significant. Now I spend less and less time on my personal web projects and more time on the projects I do at work. Unfortunately they do not feel as close to heart as the ones I created from scratch. But I believe I will not abandon my blog. Hopefully I will not abandon my message board either.
So how long have you been online and how has the internet changed your life?