Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 New Year Resolutions

It is that time of the year for quiet reflection and think about the goals for the future-- not that I have any lofty aspirations for the coming year.

Over the last few months I have really enjoyed the simpler pleasures of life. And so I thought, why change it? Life seems so much easier when you desire less and make do with what you have around you. I have to admit, Christmas got a little out of hand. From my wish list of ONE item, i got so much more. I am thankful for that, very elated at my gifts, but still wished that I hadn't desired for SO much... I need to learn how to be comforted and contented with what I have and what I have been given.


Back in China, we would never keep track of our spending. Here, I'm learning to budget when I grocery shop, think twice about purchases and eliminate wants from needs. I go back to square one, when growing up, every single cent earned is so hard-earned and spent wisely.


Another thing that plagues the family discussion daily -- eating healthy. Ever since Grandma and her boyfriend arrived, we have junk food spilling out of the cupboards and out of our ears. I must have put on a few pounds just by drinking at least a gallon of soda everyday. Today, I went grocery shopping with the J-man and we conscientiously eliminated junk food from shopping cart. We skipped past the candy/junkfood/soda aisles with upturned noses and deliberately filled our cart with fresh vegetables and fruits. J also bought eggs that were labelled "From natural grain fed, free-roaming nesting hens". One thing that irks me is that it costs more to buy fresh foods. That is why it's so hard for people to want to eat healthy! We buy and eat so much processed foods! At this point, I also wonder how much chemicals go into producing our so-called "fresh produce". But you can't win them all, can you?


And then in addition to eating healthy, we got to get our butts off the couch, wake up at least half hour earlier each day, just so we can work out and keep ourselves healthier in body and in mind. For me, it means to not slack on my yoga practice, even though it is so easy to come up with a thousand reasons not to do it. Because of my new job, i come into contact with a million people a day, including germy babies and children. So in addition to popping multi-vitamins, I gotta get my routine going so I don't come down with anything too easily...


Lastly, our normal peace and quiet have resumed when our visitors left us yesterday. Even though I hate to say it, but it had been quite an unbearable three weeks. Grandma and her bf quarrelled every single day they were here. They quarrel first thing in the morning, when they wake up. They pick fights over the smallest things, and sometimes over nothing at all. They quarrel when we go out, and spoil everyone's moods. The worst thing for me is to listen to the cussing and the swearing. I never knew how bad it sounded until I heard them every day for the last twenty days. It is bad enough to put me off swearing. And it has also reminded me of how short tempered I am with J. The plus that came out of this is that I remember to treat J better, to curb my temper and be a million times more patient.


So for 2011, my resolution list:

Live simple.
Budget all spending.
Eat fresh. Eat healthy.
Sun salutations every morning;
A full Ashtanga workout at least twice a week.
Swear less, be patient more.
Love J everyday like it is the last.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tis the season for good tidings...


Quilted coasters for Christmas! A set of 4 for every family!


I tried embroidering on the coasters (see top row, second from left)...but I decided that my skills suck (the back looked kinda messy sometimes) so I should practise some more before trying them out again. And I didn't want to take the focus away from the gorgeous prints. I love the baby blue ones with bright pink flowers! All my fabric came from my personal hoarded stash, and I think it was about time I used them... no point keeping them for myself... and i really liked the results! I also added some polyester batting in between, so they look nice and padded. Best of all, they are completely machine washable so all anybody has to do is throw them in the wash to get rid of coffee stains and what nots.

Also wanted to let you all know that I've been offered the Discovery Place Kids' job officially. I will start once I'm done with my two weeks at Walmart. I can't wait because that place is just F-U-N!!! I hope i get to help out with the birthday parties for kids too. I'd seen their program line up for this Saturday, six birthday in one day!, so yes, they are VERY busy... I went into their headquarters in Charlotte for the final paperwork, and got my DPK name badge, which got me free entry into their Discovery Place museum in Charlotte. I got a complimentary ticket for J who tagged along (of course, because he had to drive me there). And then we had an afternoon of fun checking out all the exhibits.


Built and left this for some kid to destroy.


A very serious Dr J at work.

And for a celebratory lunch, we ate at a fancy Thai place called Basil, complete with duck curry and tom yum soup!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Linguistically speaking...

Ever since I found out the title of the Jay Chou song that I liked, I made a very Jay Chou playlist for when I drive. Like all men, whether they understand the language or not, the J-man protested vehemently initially. Then i argued that it makes me drive better, and because I was tired out from work, I need to relax by listening to my songs. He is very eager to make me happy after a tiring day at work for fear of treading on my toes. Haha!

No la, but he is also very sweet because he knows how tired I am, and so he gives in to all my whining, Jay Chou included. I also bargained that he gets to keep in touch with the Chinese language that way, even though gawd knows we can hardly hear what the man is singing.

I wonder what is making me go through this sudden phase. I had never been a serious groupie Jay Chou fan (Elisa and Daphne comes to mind), and I stopped listening to him by his 3rd album... Could it be a craving and need for my mother tongue and that I have no one except my mom to turn to? I even emailed a few of my Chinese ex-colleagues (in CHINESE!!) to keep in touch. I don't wish for my Chinese to deteriorate, and if i ever have kids, by golly I want them to be strongly bilingual, even if they can't be multi-dialect-lingual (if there is such a thing).

I just got an email from my good friend Jiani (another J!), and i miss the hilarious times we spent, trying to speak Hokkien, Cantonese, Malay, English and Chinese, failing miserably, but can still pass (if you know what i mean), depending on the people around us, and depending on who we want to leave out of our conversations. Aiyoh, so naughty. Yes, I miss that so much.

Here, I'm working hard to sound like one of them, speech accommodation they say, so it must certainly be contributing to my gradual loss of identity. At the cash registers I say "Hi, how y'all doin' today?" and say things like "ta-meh-tas" instead of "toe-mat-to". I cannot say "shiok" or "alamak" except in front of the J-man, because there simply isn't any point.

I didn't intend for the post to pan out into one linguistic rant, and I was even gonna post a few photos. But it was sitting at the top of my mind, and i had to get it out.

Four years ago, I started feeling homesick after about a couple of months in Shanghai. This, is probably around the same time for me to feel homesick again.
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