S: Does your family have a record of your ancestors?
N: Sure. My mom has been working on our family tree for years. She’s always updating it.
S: Do you have a copy of your family tree in your house? I’d love to see it.
N: I can show it to you now, if you like. I think it goes back about 8 generations so far.
S: That’s amazing. Do you have a large extended family?
N: I’ve got 30 cousins on my mom’s side and 10 cousins on my dad’s side.
S: Are you very close to your first-cousins?
N: The ones that are my age are close relatives. Now that I’m older, I don’t spend as much time with them as I used to, so I don’t know my younger cousins as well as the older ones.
S: I see. Who’s the head of your household?
N: It’s definitely my mother. And, her mother is definitely the matriarch of the bigger family.
S: That’s interesting. What does your grandmother think of your step-mother？
N: At first, she was quite critical of her, but now that they’ve been married for a few years, she’s starting to accept the fact that my father divorced my mother.
S: That’s pretty much how you feel about your step-mother. Like grandmother, like grandson!
N: Do you think Chinese families have changed much in the last 50 years?
S: I think families everywhere have changed a lot in the last 5 decades.
N: What do you think is the biggest change?
S: Well, in the past, three or four generations would all live together under the same roof. Nowadays, living in the same city as one’s relatives is becoming rare.
N: That’s true. You know, some husbands and wives don’t even live in the same city any more.
S: Would you ever consider having your parents live with you when they get older?
N: I guess I’m a bit old-fashioned. I’d rather have my parents live with me than live in a retirement home.
S: That’s very respectable, but I could never live with my parents. I usually only see them at our Christmas celebration-and that’s enough!
N: How about your other siblings? Do they spend a lot of time with your parents?
S: Two of my sisters still live at home, even though they have already graduated from university and have good jobs. They enjoy spending their free time with my parents. I guess in that respect, I’m the black sheep of the family.
N: I see. Do you parents ever ask you to come home to visit them more often?
S: They’re always asking me to come home, but I think our relationship is better if we keep a distance from each other. Whenever we see each other, all we do is fight.
N: Well, you know what they say. You can choose your friends, but not your family.