Tag Archives: Family

GETTING ON TRACK

I can’t believe how fast time has flown by.  The summer is almost over and fall weather will be setting in soon…hopefully not too soon even though I love the fall.

I know the summer is coming to a close when the CNE is on.  And, like last year I’ll be going again this year.  If it weren’t for my nephews, I don’t think I would be going at all.  But, I know I’ll have fun….eating my way around the Ex, buying useless things (hopefully not too many of them this year).  And, losing to all the games along the way.  My favourite game at the Ex is the Fishing Game where you have this fishing rod with a magnet at the end and you put it into the water attempting to gather as many chips as possible that will reveal the prize you get.  My other favourite game is hitting the gophers back into their hole…great way to take out your aggression, beating the crap out of gopher heads.  Ahhhh…good times.

The past few months have been a roller coaster for me.  I’m only now getting more focused on where I need to be.  My condo should be ready to be put on the market in a few months.  I still have some work I need to do, i.e. cleaning, and the garbage strike of 6 weeks was no help.  Moving is stressful, for me at least.  And, this time I refuse to be rushed – the last time I moved, across the country, it was not pretty.  And, I only had 2 months to get it together – meaning, sell my place, pack everything and move.  Its not something I want to repeat.

Anyways, I’m looking forward to the weekend and enjoying some time with my nephews.  Even though most of the summer has been crazy, I’m starting to feel more focused and determined.

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FAMILY VISIT

Life has been busy.

Any down time is a rarity these days.  Those quiet moments that I try to do at night?  Non-existent because I’m so exhausted at night that I curl up in my bed and fall asleep, screw the cleansing and calming of my mind.  For now.

I think that’s why I’ve been writing less, and I’m not talking about this blog, I’m talking about my journal writing.  I’ve been missing it, yet cannot compel myself to put pen to paper.  My mind is just not focused right now.  And, I have a lot of things I need to sort out.  I need to get focused.  Soon.

I am looking forward to next week.  I have some random days off, meaning I have a couple of days off during the week but not in a row.  My cousin and her husband are driving up from South Carolina so I want to spend a day with her.  I originally was thinking of visiting her during the Civic day long weekend, funny enough, and I had a few other places that I was contemplating, but after some thinking (damn the thinking) decided to delay it.

My cousin comes into town every few years.  Generally, she comes to stuff her face with as much Chinese food as she can without exploding.  She also shops till she drops, stuffing her car with as many Asian delicacies as is possible to pack into her vehicle.  Its quite hilarious to watch.  I remember one year she came, I think it was about 15 years ago or so when Chinese food was rare in the South and she had packed her car with so much crap it was overflowing.  She even used “secret” compartments in the van she was driving at the time to hide her food from the Customs officer. She owns a Chinese restaurant so she buys the stuff half for the restaurant and half for herself.

It’ll be good to see her.  My nephews are excited to see her too, both for the first time, so I know there will be funny moments.  It should be lots of fun, and I need this break from the norm (i.e. craziness) right now, so its a welcome change.

DIRECTIONALLY CHALLENGED

Late nights render me directionally challenged.

So, on Friday night I went out with my sister-in-law’s youngest and oldest sister (visiting from out of town).  We hit the Drake hotel, which has a lounge/restaurant on the ground level, a patio outside/upstairs and a little club down in the basement.  We tried to get into the patio, but that didn’t work after waiting for 45 minutes.  So, we went to the “Underground” in the basement where our names were on a list…I know, I felt really special.

The music was pumping.  I didn’t quite realize how pumping until I sat down about 8 feet from the speakers and my whole body started to shake from the bass.  I couldn’t hear myself think, and I had to shout when I talked. 

The music was great, we danced up a storm.  The DJ is a friend of the youngest sister, but it was just too loud and so we stayed for an hour and a half – we couldn’t take much more.  Once we left, we went down the street and stopped at a bar.  After the bar, we ended up at “Poutini’s House of Poutine” where we indulged in some, what else, poutine (for me, just fries and gravy hold the cheese) as our after 1am snack.

After eating we walked a bit and then we finally left for good.  I was pretty tired by then – haven’t had this much activity nor have I stayed up this late in a long time.  I’m used to quiet, chilled evenings with friends, this was not one of those nights.  Maybe this explains what happened next.

After dropping off one of the girls, I ended up..and I swear I drank only water….going the wrong direction on the Lakeshore trying to get onto the expressway.   That’s right – I went east on the westbound lanes.  A bit dangerous, but thankfully it was about 2am so there was no traffic (there was one car who graciously did not honk at me for being a dumbass)…otherwise I’m sure I’d be telling a different story.  I can only say in my defense that it was dark, it was late, I was tired, I only went a few meters east before realizing I was going the wrong way (I wasn’t that out of it) and I….was damn lucky there were no cops.

There is a reason why I don’t let myself out late at night. 😐

DEATH

I haven’t felt compelled to write lately.

My aunt, my mom’s oldest sister, and her husband, have both been in healthcare facilities in Hong Kong for over 15 years.  My aunt went first into the facility, having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease about 20 years ago.  My uncle became ill a few years after his wife and went into the same facility but in different rooms.

I never got a chance to visit either of them when they fell ill.  I regret that.  Before my aunt got sick, she always made a point to invite me to her home to see her when I was visiting.  I remember those visits vividly because my aunt was a loud character, always generous even though she didn’t have much.  She was a taller version of my mom.  My uncle, he was a gentle soul, always quiet and treated my aunt with great care, especially when she fell ill.  You could almost say he worshipped her.  They had 6 children together.

My mom called me last Friday morning to tell me that my aunt had died in her sleep overnight.  I was sad, but also relieved, because my aunt had suffered for a long time.  Then my mom called me about an hour later and told me that my uncle died as well…wow.  My mom told me that when one of the sons visited him (shortly after my aunt died), my uncle was teary, like he knew, even though they had not told him anything.  My uncle has been in a vegetative state for awhile, so the tears were unusual.  They think because he sensed my aunt had died, his will to live just dissipated.  He passed away while sleeping as well, I think shortly after the son visited.

They were together for over 60 years…..and I believe he wanted to be with his wife that’s why he died so quickly after she went.  I don’t care how sappy or unreal this sounds, but I believe it.  I feel so bad for my cousin, who now lives in Toronto and had just come back from a visit to Hong Kong only a week and a half ago – but at least he was able to see his parents one last time before they both passed away.

This reminds me, again, to never take anything for granted.

LAUGH FOR THE DAY

I was checking my Blackberry at the mall as both of my parents were in the washroom.  My dad comes out and he starts marveling at my new gadget.  Then my mom comes out and she notices it too.  I’ve had this thing for over two months now and they are just now noticing it…funny.

But, my laugh for the day came in the form of my mother asking me about the Blackberry:

Mom: Is that your new phone?
Me: Yeah
Mom: How long have you had it?
Me: Two months
Mom: Was it expensive?
Me: Yeah, it was.
(note most of the conversation is in Cantonese except for below where its mixed)
Mom: Is it a Blueberry?
Me: (laughing my ass off) Blueberry???!!!! You mean “Blackberry”?
Mom: (laughs) Oh…B l a c k b e r r y  (said with a Chinese accent)

Blueberry..that’s a first.  I may just have to call it that from now on instead of a crackberry.  Too funny.  God bless my Mom, I needed that chuckle.

STEREOTYPES

My cousin immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong about 10 – 12 years ago.  Him and his wife were police officers in Hong Kong.  I saw them last week and I was left with a feeling that I wasn’t “Chinese” enough – for them at least, I think I’m doing alright.  “Juk Sing”, that’s what they call me – born and raised in the Western world.  My cousin has these preconceived stereotypes about people such as myself, and when I say “people such as myself” I mean me being a “Juk Sing”.  My cousin is a great guy, but just a little too traditional and discriminating for me.  Here is just a few of the things him and his wife thought:

  1. He was surprised to learn that I understood and could speak Cantonese as well as I did (I’m no expert, but I can hold my own, I just need to conquer Mandarin!)
  2. He didn’t think I liked eating Chinese food….um, I freakin live on the stuff.  I love Asian food, not just Chinese.
  3. Him and his wife didn’t quite understand how I could live on my own, away from my parents.
  4. His wife thought I should go home for dinner every night (in Hong Kong, family members gather for dinner every night – even if you don’t live together, you eat together)
  5. His wife was then surprised to learn that I cooked, she thought I just did take-out.  And, even more surprise to learn that I enjoy cooking and I cook rice too.  My cousin instantly thought I cooked pasta cause you know that’s what Juk Sing’s like…right.

I could go on and on with the list, but it was very entertaining to me these stereotypes they had.  Based on what, I wasn’t exactly sure.  I’m not your typical Canadian born Chinese person.  I live on rice, I eat all sorts of Asian food, and actually, I’m not a huge fan of Western food, I like it, but if there was a bowl of rice, pho, Malaysian curry or chow fun in front of me, I’d pick those any day over a burger, fries and spaghetti with meatballs.

When people stereotype, it irritates me.  But, I can forgive my cousin, because he grew-up in a totally different environment than me.  Seriously though, me not eat rice?  Its like me not breathing……I’d die.

CLEAN SLATE

The new year to me always starts with a clean slate.  New year, new beginnings.  I think that’s one of the reasons why I host a dinner for my family every year, start the year off with family, food and nephews destroying my apartment.

New Year's Day Dinner

New Year's Day Dinner

So, the annual family dinner last night at my place went well (ok, with the exception of a few family moments that we all encounter), the food was good, too much, but good.  And, yes, I made everything you see in the photo above, except for the pork ribs.  I think for next year I’ll make less food.  It’ll be a lot less stressful for me.  And, less dishes for me to wash.  No, I don’t use my dishwasher, never have and probably never will.  Its good for storage. 

I’m looking forward to seeing what 2009 brings.  I always take a moment to think about how the previous year was and what I’m hoping for in the new year.  It helps me see where I’m at and where I want to be.  I’m not there yet, but I’m not worried, I’ll get there.

Happy New Year!