My sister came to visit me in December - or so I thought - after having messed up her plans for July (she tried to travel with a defaced passport and was surprised when she was denied boarding on an international flight).
So December comes and I ask her why she bought a one-way ticket and not a return. Her response: "Don't worry Fion, I'm not staying!!" Yeah right....two weeks into her one-month stay where she is living with me, in conversation with a friend of mine, she drops the bombshell: "I'm moving to Hong Kong". I told her that she can't just move to Hong Kong, you have to be allowed to live here, it's a special visa either based on work, training or study and there has to be a sponsor for each of those. Her plan, instead, was to apply for permanent residency as she was born here - well, born in British Hong Kong that is. I explained the rules have changed, they no longer - and haven't since 1997 when we became part of China - recognised the same right to residency. And that she wouldn't be able to get it based on the fact she left over 30 years ago and it would be impossible to convince the Immigration Department that she had maintained links with Hong Kong to allow such residency now.
Well blow me over, they gave it to her. I'm not sure how or why. It even bamboozled a visa expert here. I am wondering if she used my residency in some way, not that I signed anything. So anyway, here she is.
My sister turned 50 this year and has never truly taken control of her own life. She must find blame for her own shortcomings, in fact we had a conversation recently where she assured me that she smoked, and can't give it up, only because she grew up in a household where our parents smoked and they passed it on to her, it's in her genes. Hello hello HELLO. It's called choice. Because if her rationale was valid, why do I not smoke? Same thing with the drinking, not her fault, can't stop, etc., etc. Now I realise there is a school of thought about drinking/disease/addiction but at the end of the day, truly, it is neither air, nor water, nor food so it is indeed possible to live without it. In fact our aunt, at 82, has just given up after 60+ years of smoking. I lived with a hardened alcoholic many years ago and I even managed to get him dry - until his sister gave him a beer, just one beer Fiona, there's no harm in that.....oh yes there is.
So here she plonks herself. Loses it several times over the smallest, most insignificant thing and oh Fion I need your help. Well dammit I don't want to help her navigate her life, I don't want to have her drop by anytime she feels down (that would be all the time), I don't want to have to explain how life works here, I don't want to be surrounded by the smell of smoke in my own home (she only goes as far as the stairwell outside even though I've told her not to), I don't want to run out of red wine to cook with because she's taken it all, I don't want to spend time with someone who is drunk, I don't want to have to transfer money from an account I hold for her because she's never taken her inheritance into her own account, I don't want to get phone calls that she needs me to book her boyfriend's trip to Pattaya from Bali where they are holidaying and obviously have once again, broken up. And the list is endless.
We should love our siblings, I know, but I can't do it with her. She gave my parents many years of absolute hell, always asking for money, calling them in the middle of the night half-way around the world telling them that she's going to kill herself. She needs me now as she finds herself at 50 and without any job, not that she ever did anything much beyond waitressing for a few years, without emotional resources to live in a new country, and most of all without the core ability to look after herself. I want my freedom, I want my life in my beloved sparkly home town, I want to move forward after two years of quite frankly a very shitty time. I'm ready.
And now she arrives to drag me down. Or at least make every attempt to. I cannot deal with her way of life, her habits, her choices. Yes, her choices. I am a bad person in her eyes, maybe in other eyes but for so many years people have told me to look after myself before I look after anyone else and I'm finally finding a way to do that.