That Feeling of a Father Who Isn’t There For His Family

In blog, family friends, vlog by editor112 Comments

How did I get in this situation?

Those following the vlog, saw it – but today I just want to step back and review how it turned out I’m in another country while my wife and kids are experiencing the next SARS is in China and it is spreading.

It started back in November, 2019 – when I returned to “home” in Chiang Mai, Thailand from a mentor trip w/ MOX accelerator in Taipei, Taiwan. My amazing wife Wendy picked me up at the Chiang Mai airport with the 2 kids, repeatedly calling me as the airport now is really strict on personal car pickups – thinking she is a GRAB driver (ha, well, maybe GRAB drivers take their 2 kids with them on gigs?)

Once I chucked my bags in the trunk and quickly slammed the door, she drops it on me.

“You’re either going to be really happy, or really mad”, she says.

My meditation for over 5 years now has helped prepare me for conversations like this (check out MikesBlog.com/meditation for that)

I just sat there and said “tell me”.

It had already been a rough couple months, her father came to help watch the kids while we were going to do Cross Border Summit in Guangzhou, China together. That fell through as her father had serious heart problems and her grandmother passed away.

Now it was the next level for her and her family (our family). Her mother had just been in the hospital for 5 days for an operation on her cancer. Wendy didn’t know about it, as they didn’t want to make her worried.

Well, she did find out. And now it is her responsibility to go back to her hometown and take care of them. The school semester was ending soon (mid December) and the house we rented was already on month to month as the lease had finished. And immigration in Thailand is a nightmare for Chinese, so we could “reset” it by her being outside of Thailand for a few months.

The kids also were “losing” their Chinese and had never learned to write Chinese characters – so it would be good for them to spend time in China building up their vocab and writing skills.

But what about me?

Her hometown is in the Northeast of China (Dong Bei) near the border of North Korea.

Could I also spend a half year there? (sounds like a prison sentence to me).

What choice do I have?

So, she didn’t really present this to me as a choice, she had to go back. She knew it would be hard for me to operate my online business from there with the limited internet and access to anything. Maybe I could have made it work, but she said it was totally fine I spend time elsewhere during this time. She really wanted to be a caretaker for her dad and mom, taking them to hospital trips and being a daughter.

Ya, so I went up for about a month for Christmas and Western New Year. You can watch the video blogs about a ghetto ice sled on a frozen lake. Good times.

But I felt I needed to get out, slow/ unfunctional internet is the main reason. I work online, and internet is the lifeblood of business. Really could have worked there if only the Chinese internet worked. Yes, there are tools to get around it, but I am processing videos, audio files, high volumes of websites (I do a lot more content than what you see on Mike’s blog – there are is a huge network of sites)

How can I operate that from a place that cuts off access to the outside world?

So where to go?

Well, I’m a partner at Alpha Rock Capital, and had been working remote while all the partners and team is working offline in office and studios in Manila, Philippines. For anyone who is working online while basically the rest of the team is working offline knows – you miss out on what is happening.

It is best to either have the team 100% online, or 100% offline (a snippet from my course Scale By Outsourcing, ha!).

So I picked to head down to Manila and spend more time with ARC.

Plus, the team helping me here at Mike’s Blog – and Global From Asia – is also working mostly from home all across the Philippines – so I can meet the team here too.

That is the idea, to spend time – investing time – in team building and face time. To let me wife and kids have their “China time” and my kids spend time with their grandparents (honestly seems Wendy’s mom time on this Earth is limited) and I spend time team building and growing my investments.

Then my wife and kids would reunite with me back in Chiang Mai in the summer 2020. Hopefully things are settled with my wife’s family’s health, and I have maximized my “Face time” in Manila.

Then upon arrival in Manila I’m greeted with a volcano.

And the coronavirus next – it was in the news a bit in December if I remember correctly. But it didn’t seem to be a big news story.

It seems like it became a massive news story and epidemic around this week, the week of Jan 26, 2020.

Now, I have my family in China under some quarantine – food is being delivered and no one is really able to leave their home, and I’m here working and hustling in Manila.

Boy, do I feel guilty.

Isn’t it my job as a father and husband to take care of my family.

But what can I do?

Fly to China? Is it still even possible? If I get to Shenyang, can I enter the apartment complex?

Then there are others saying – this isn’t a big deal. The flu in America has killed way more people.

Yet I can’t stop myself from feeling horrible.

What is next? When will China reopen? And when it does, will it be the same?

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Mark Balse
Guest

Hang in there Mike. No one could’ve predicted this. You’re out doing what you can to provide for your family, which is what a father does. Stay strong, this’ll pass and you’ll see the family again soon.

Keep building! Mark

Michael Michelini
Admin

thanks for the kind words Mark.