Your Aunt

We ended up terminating the contract for your aunt’s apartment early. Your cousin’s parents failed to hold up their part of the agreement with your mother, unsurprisingly. Since they wouldn’t be able to pay rent come month three, your cousin’s parents formed a plan to take advantage of us. Your aunt knew your mother would let her live with us rent (and board) free as a last resort if she was working in the city, so they faked breaking up. He went back to live with his parents about midway into the second month while your aunt kept her job for the time being. She even pleaded with your mother to continue to stay at her apartment during the meantime with the expectation that we would pay the difference. Your mother, thankfully, wouldn’t take any of her child-like bullshit.

Their con didn’t come to light until a couple months later. I caught your aunt fully engaged in a chat conversation with your cousin’s father on Zalo as she was cooking. Noticing their picture together in the chat’s background, I had the mindfulness to take a couple of pictures of her phone’s screen from over the back of her left shoulder a few feet back to show your mother. She might not have taken it seriously, otherwise. Once your mother was nearly convinced that your aunt had been lying, she demanded to see her phone. Your mother was livid on confirmation. Never did she think that her sister could cheat her. I was always a bit suspicious but couldn’t do much without any evidence except for keeping my eyes open.

Your grandmother eventually admitted that she had known of your aunt’s lies for some time. She saw your sister engaged in hours-long chat conversations with him every night in the twin bed they shared at our apartment. But your grandmother didn’t tell your mother because she knew that your mother would be irate. Even though I don’t think that’s an acceptable excuse, I’m aware of our cultural differences and their family dynamic.

That wasn’t the first time your aunt has been caught lying over the last couple years, but it was the most significant. It was pre-meditated. She conned us. Your aunt, like other unrelated people I’ve met in Vietnam and SE Asia, is a self-serving habitual liar.

Does it make a difference? To be determined. We still fully fund your grandmother’s 6,000,000 VND monthly stipend. I’d like to think your cousin is the reason because her deadbeat parents are 95% useless. Rather than give anyone money, my suggestion was to adopt your cousin and let your aunt fully support your grandmother, but she hasn’t shown any willingness. Your aunt thinks there’s nothing wrong with growing up in their hometown. Hopefully, though, things will change later this year for the better. We should not be responsible for feeding everyone. It stresses your mother out.

Your aunt is an idiot, truly. She acts like a teenager living in the body of a middle-aged lady. Your mother has spent the better part of a decade trying to support her development without any progress. She even gave her months of one-on-one on-the-job training (that I was witness to) but still couldn’t figure out how to properly take a picture of a product or order a Grab driver afterward. Every step forward is proceeded by two steps backward.

And that’s how your aunt got to where she is today. She’ll be back in a club by the end of this year. I’d put money on it. Honestly, if my prediction comes to fruition, it will be very disappointing but trying to help a person – for 10 years – who still doesn’t recognize she needs help is impossible.

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