By: Giorgio Tandera
The very first series or movie to really make me think and change my perception of the world was the movie About Time. When I first got to watch About Time I was in Suzhou, China around August of 2017. I was 16 around that time and it was movie night on a cold wintery night. I asked my friend if we could watch a movie on his laptop and asked whether he has any good movie recommendations to watch. His name was Hugo, and he was thinking about what movie would be great to watch and he told me, why don’t we watch this movie called About Time. I was confused as to what the movie was about, but he told me to just watch the movie and you’ll know. Before watching I didn’t really think much about time and just spent it mostly having fun and wasting it -- like just sitting on my bed with my phone all day while I could be doing much more productive and meaningful things. I followed his instructions and kept my mouth shut until the movie ended. Little did I know that the movie would change the way I think about how time is a very precious and valuable thing and what time means to other people.
There was a point in my life when I was invited by my mom to go and visit my grandparents. My mom would always argue with me about visiting my grandparents and drove me around because I didn’t want to go. I was hesitant on going there for a lot of reasons. Those reasons being that my grandparents’ house is quite far away, about an hour and a half with traffic, I would be stuck on a road for about 30 minutes just to travel around 2 miles, the actual distance from my house to theirs was around 10 miles. There would be hordes of motorcycles driving around mindlessly to get out of traffic, point is, it’s the worst. Then there’s the fact that once I get there the house doesn’t have air conditioning so it’ll be hot when I get there. There’s also the fact that since their house is in a “village” kind of setting, that means that it’ll be nearly impossible to get signal there. Despite having all these “issues” I had with visiting my grandparents, I ultimately decided to visit them on my own. Now that I watched the movie, it changed me and the way I think. This moment made me think and reflect on a scene in the movie where the main character would now go long distances and hardships just to visit his father/ family because in the end visiting his family is much more valuable and important than his personal problems. I would constantly think of this scene whenever I feel the need to complain about going long distance to visit a family member. Instead of my mom driving me around I would now drive my mom to my grandparents’ house because I didn’t want her driving me around all day in traffic. Besides, she has been driving all her life. Despite all the trouble that I went through, I’m glad that I eventually visited. This means that I get to spend time and see my grandparents. I want to let them know that I want to spend time with them and hang out. By visiting, I can let them know that I appreciate and value our time together, I’m sure that they’re happy as well.
When I arrived at their house I would put down my phone say hello and hug my grandparents to greet them to show that I’ve missed them. I would ask them how their day was at their couch. My grandparents like to spend most of their time in the living room upstairs -- there was only a tv, a couch in front of the tv, a small dining table and a ceiling fan. So I would go grab a chair from the dining table and ask what they did that day or what did my grandmother cooked for lunch. I would ask if my grandmother made soy milk that day as she would brew soy milk whenever I came over. As for my grandfather, I would usually see him in his workspace which is below the living room, he works as the local dentist in the neighborhood. I would say hello and asked what he was doing because he is usually working on something. He would show me what he was doing and showed the whole process of how he made it. There was a scene in About Time where the main character would play table tennis with his dad and lets him win the round or go for a boring walk with his dad. This scene reminded me of what happened while I was with my grandparents, it reminded me of how I would bother my grandparents and asked what they were doing with an activity that they enjoy. These are a few things that I did to make my grandparents feel that their time is appreciated and that I enjoyed my time with them -- I want them to know that I love spending time with them and that time spent with them is precious.
Things that I did differently this time were since I got to talk more with my grandparents, I often join them in whatever activity they were doing. My grandmother likes to watch TV, so I would sit down beside her and watch it with her. I would ask what she was watching, what kind of show she was watching, or what is the person on TV was saying. I would ask what the person was saying because she watches Chinese shows and movies -- I don’t understand what they’re saying, just a little bit. She likes to tease me for not understanding Chinese because she expects me to learn Chinese with my mom or from school. I would often try my best to guess what the person on TV is saying and she would laugh because I was never close. My grandmother would then translate what the person was saying and would teach me a word or two. After watching About Time I would look back at things differently and thought about things in a different way. In a scene from the movie the main character started asking about things that interest his dad instead of asking for advice, like he usually does, his dad goes on and on for hours about why he likes to play table tennis. This resulted in the main character’s dad teaching/explaining a thing or two about his hobbies and why he loves playing table tennis. He then found out that his dad just wants to spend more time with his son. This scene reflected my life because of how my grandmother ended up teaching me a word or two of Chinese from just asking about what she was interested in. Her actions showed me that she appreciates the time that we spent together.
The movie really did change my world perspective -- I now understand time better and became a lot more aware of what time meant and what value it carried. I saw things differently whereas If I hadn’t watched the movie, I just wouldn’t have cared. The movie also helped me grow and mature into a better person. By maturing I mean that it helped me think things through, like deciding to drive myself to my grandparents’ house instead of staying at home or letting my mom drive. Saying the right words, like asking how my grandparents’ day was. Acting more mature, like deciding to spend time with my grandparents by getting involved in their activities, instead of being on the phone. This movie and its impact will forever stick with me no matter where I go. Even though it’s fiction the lessons could be translated to everyday life and are overall a good thing to have. This movie helped me to understand that, we should always appreciate time and make the best use of it with our loved ones and cherish them deeply.
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