Sunday, November 30, 2008

Halfway point

Dear baby,

I made it to the halfway mark of my pregnancy without even realizing I was pregnant... so if you ever look up old blog posts and wonder why I didn't blog about my pregnancy earlier, that is why. I hope you don't think your mother is incompetent. I had an inkling I might be pregnant, but so many other reasons also existed for my fatigue, stress, loss of appetite, um, anyway.

The good news is, you're almost here! In less than five months we'll get to see your face. Your real face, not your scary ultrasound face. Your daddy and I are super excited. Your dog, Kodi, would be excited if she had any idea what was going on. Trust me, she's just itching for a new face to lick. She has a cough right now, but that didn't stop her from trying to eat one of the Christmas tree ornaments. Oh well. Hopefully by the time she meets you, she'll be less prone to eating things she shouldn't.

According to a pregnancy calendar site I visit sometimes, you are as big as a banana, carrot, or butternut squash. I find that last one hard to believe. Have you seen a butternut squash? Those things are gigantic. This pregnancy calendar lists a wide variety of issues that can occur to your mommy during pregnancy. None of those things have yet happened, but we've got a long way to go, so I'll keep you posted. It also says that by now I should be feeling your kicks easily, possibly even outside the belly. Hmm. Once again, I will keep you posted. The ultrasound tech said you were quite active, but darned if I could tell.

Baby, we are grateful to God that you're on your way. Can't wait to meet you!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Good reads

We just got back from another fabulous vacation to Mexico where once again, my main activity was lounging on the beach with a good book and a lot of sunblock. On this trip I read almost 3 books, I haven't quite finished the last book. I love reading, but in regular life I find it hard to have the time to read a book and absorb the words I am reading. So that is what vacations are for!

On this trip, I borrowed the novel "Beijing Coma" by Ma Jian from the library. I am always drawn to Chinese writers and when I read the jacket, I immediately wanted to read the entire book. Beijing Coma's protagonist is Dai Wei, a student who was shot in the Tianamen Square protests and who subsequently fell into a coma. While in the coma, he can hear and smell what is going around him, although he can't see, move, or respond in any way, although his body is surprisingly "alert". The book revolves around his memories of the weeks leading up to the massacre and alternates between those memories and what is happening presently around him.

I had never read a book about what happened in the weeks leading up to June 4, 1989, so this was quite an eye opener (although it is fiction, the author bases his characters on real people and real stories.) In 1989, I was only 10, and my dad was quite ill, so I didn't understand what was going on China, except that it was bad. I have read that unfortunately, since China has worked so hard to propagate its own version of what happened (nothing! nothing happened!), young people in China today are barely aware of the Tiananmen Square protests and massacre. The iconic image of the "Tank Man" is not even recognized among Beijing University students. In the new world of China embracing newfound wealth, maybe this isn't surprising, just saddening. It makes me wonder whether we in the western world even realize the extent of what happened, and whether we turn a blind eye to how China censors the truth. Maybe we turn a blind eye too often, preferring the glamourized images of China while citizens lose their homes in favour of big development, choosing to buy cheaply made, potentially dangerous items made in China to save ourselves money.

Beijing Coma struck me because it presented the possibility, many possibilities, you might say, that things could have turned out differently in June 1989. If only this happened, if only that person made this decision ... thousands more would be alive today. An entire nation could have risen up against an oppressive regime. And at the same time, the book illustrated how even great intentions can go horribly out of control. I don't really know how to express how I felt about the book, but maybe you can all have a read for yourselves.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Dear Kodi

Guess what, happy little dog! It's your first birthday today! Yay!

You've now been with us for about 9.5 months and what a delight it's been to have you in our lives. You and I have been through hundreds of walks, lots of doggy park time, and tons of cuddles at home. Plus, you've learned a multitude of tricks. In the last few months you have started to learn the names of your toys, so that if I ask you to go and find your monkey, you no longer stare at me like "What the heck is a monkey? Is it food?" You have also learned to walk SLIGHTLY better than you did before obedience class. The first half of our walk always involves me getting a little mad, which I know I shouldn't do. I'm sorry. It's just that you weigh almost 65 lbs and it's really difficult to hold you back when you lunge forward.

You've also become better at balancing toys and treats on your head. I have some good pictures of you doing this that I will upload later on. You do, however, drool like a faucet turned on when a treat is in the works or when your dinner is hitting the bowl or when you think we're eating something delicious. It's kind of funny, but also a little gross.

Kodi, sometimes I don't know what comes over me, but I think about how one day you'll leave us. It makes me incredibly sad and I know I shouldn't dwell on some unknown future day. I should instead think about loving you now, and giving you a good and happy life. I know God created you and part of me hopes that there's a place in some sort of heaven for you so that maybe one day, if you should pass on and I should pass on, we'll see each other again. Sounds ridiculous, I know. I try not to think about it. One night recently I was very sad because I thought about this again and I thought about how I had yelled at you that day for pulling me. The nice thing is that you always forgive and forget when I'm mad. It's part of being a dog, I guess, life just moves on and you live in the present.

Anyway. Daddy and I are very proud of the dog you've become over the last year. You are an incredibly good dog. You rarely chew on anything that isn't yours and you sleep quietly by yourself when we're not home instead of tearing the house apart. You are still scared of the hair dryer and vacuum cleaner and anything that is large and makes loud noises. You don't tear apart all of your toys, and your favourite is still the Christmas toy we got you as a baby. You will eat anything we give you, or at least you'll try it once. Whenever I come home, you run to the door with a toy in your mouth, ready to play, and you greet me like you haven't seen me in years, even if it's only been a few hours. Above all, you always listen to us and I don't think you would talk back even if you could, because you love us too. Thank you for brightening up our lives. I hope in this next year, we are as good to you as you have been to us.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

More relationship stuff

I went out with a good friend recently and we had a long conversation about relationships. We always talk about relationships but this time was different. She told me a lot more than she usually does and I appreciated the open and honest nature of our discussion. One of the things she told me was that she knows a lot of eligible, single guys with many great qualities... but that many of these guys didn't want to enter into a relationship because they were afraid of losing their freedom.

I found this incredible at first - do people really see marriage and commitment as the "old ball and chain", as the great limitation upon personal freedom? I guess so!

She talked about how her pastor had listed the top five benefits to being single, and the top five benefits to being in a relationship. All of the benefits to being single amounted to freedom. All of the benefits to being in a relationship amounted to a lack of loneliness. And that is where I realized that freedom and loneliness are not so far apart. Interesting. I've never thought of that. I've never felt like getting married meant a loss of freedom. Kind of the opposite actually, since I didn't have a ton of freedom while living at home anyway.

Anyway. I'm just rambling today. So here's another unrelated question for you. I'm not sure where I came up with this one, but work with me here.

Let's say you are in a relationship with A. Maybe one that is serious, maybe not that serious, it doesn't really matter. Not married, though, since that throws too much of a wrench in this problem. Let's say that sometime before you had this current relationship with A (it could be months, years even), you had feelings for B, but something just didn't work out. Let's say they were strong feelings, and you were disappointed when the potential fizzled. Let's say that B now has feelings for you and if you gave it a shot, the relationship with B could work out. It could be worse than, the same as, or better than your relationship with A... in other words you don't really know whether it will work out with B. But it could. Let's say you haven't thought about your feelings for B in a long time, but they might still be there.

Question: 1) would you want to know about B's feelings? 2) if you did know, would it affect your relationship with A?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Grandma (poh-poh)

Grandma, it's been many years since you passed away. Sixteen years, I think. I have so many memories of you and always wish we could have had more time together. God called you home in exactly the way you would have wanted, quickly and without pain, but in my opinion, it was still far too early. But I know it's okay, because now you get to spend eternity with Him.

I remember how you would come and stay with us from Seattle, taking the Greyhound by yourself even though you couldn't speak any English. You used to ask why we would buy things like French fries, since you could just make them at home instead. You made the best beef jerky - no store-bought kind can ever match up. You loved to watch Family Ties (Alex was your favourite) and I never understood how you could watch an English show or what you really thought was going on. Actually, once you surprised us by responding "I don't know" when we asked you something. I guess you must have picked up some English over the years. You taught me how to peel the roots off of bean sprouts and how to wash rice properly. You told me to marry a Chinese guy (so that his family would pay for the wedding) and although I always laughed, guess what, I ended up marrying one after all.

What I loved most about you though, Grandma, was your love and faithfulness for God. You never had the opportunity to get an education but somehow you still studied the Bible and memorized verses. You always encouraged us to do what was right and to work hard.

I think I've learned even more about you since you passed on. Now that I'm older, I'm able to grasp our family's history even better. I know that you were a hard worker all of your life, from being a street vendor to being a mother of many children. You didn't have much schooling, but your math was better than most educated people's math. I know that you made many sacrifices for your family. The family was poor, but you did not let that stop your children from being educated and working hard so that future generations would live a better life.

What would you think of how my life turned out if you were here today? Would you be proud of me? One day I'll get to ask you in person.