Hong Kong

After I moved to New York City, my mother rarely called. Instead, she sent letters. In return, I’d dash off postcards from places I’d visited on my quarterly business trips to Asia. I did not mention my exhaustion and stress during these two- and three-week-long journeys. Yet she sensed my struggle to maintain the high standard of perfection I’d set for myself. How I looked and how I performed on the job mattered. Discarding any traces of my Pennsylvania working-class roots was freeing, but it had its repercussions, and my mother understood that.

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