Sunday, July 26, 2009

0717 - sisterhood

this part of my trip is rather special, as my little sister has suddenly decided to join in. so together, me, my sister, aunt & uncle have taken many roadtrips to visit nearby city sights.

roadtrips are story times. as we have lived apart, there is always so much to flash back, so much to clarify, so much to laugh about. 

my mum is closest to aunt 2. they still talk on the phone a few times a week, over trivial daily things. they love each other, but often get mad at each other over some use of words. well this seems to have been a pattern for them for the past 60 odd years, haha. from my aunt i learnt more about my mum, how she need not do any house chores because she was sick as a kid, how she used to (and still do) linger on the streets til late night and never wanna go home, how she took my aunt along on her dates and taught her to order the expensive items on the menu, how she always think she is more beautiful and younger-looking .... these all cracks me up.

my sister and i grew up rather independently. all memories seem to be dating back to primary school, when we went to school together and was sharing a room. since we moved to sydney, we have grown apart, blame it on the big house, haha, whatever. still those memories were good.

my sister has a baby boy now. i have promised to take him hiking, since she is afraid of the sun. i will tell him about his mum, just like how my aunt told us our mum's story ....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

0716 - montreal with aunt & uncle 2

my aunt & uncle have moved to montreal for 13 years. i never really found out the exact reasons, but i guess god brought them there, for they are there to run a church which serves the chinese community.

i moved to sydney as a kid, and have always been looking at the benefits of immigration from the kids' perspective - how it gives kids a much wider exposure in life, being multi-lingual ... etc.

in montreal this time, i learn immigration from the perspective of parents, strangely, for the first time.

what kind of courage was needed to start all over again at mid-age? to get off a plane from sunny 20C hong kong into -40C snowstorm? to leave family whom you can speak your mind, to land into a community where all speaks french? 

like many chinese parents, the courage came from the hope of a better future for their kids. and as kids like us reap the benefit of it all, we often mock about how our parents aren't trying hard enough to fit into the community, and are never thankful enough for what we put them through.

i really don't know how they did it, but my aunt & uncle have long gone from puzzle to pleasure. they take walks in parks over a cup of tim hortons coffee, they sizzle up a BBQ at their little balcony over sunset, they take the snowstorms in winter as just a tiny piece of cake, they miss their little girl but give full respect for her wish to take on her own life living miles apart in japan  ...

as stylish as it sounds, none of it was dropped down from heaven for free. it was all well-earned. 

is this what you call "aging with grace"? a much-respected couple indeed.

thanks for such a lovely time we shared.

Friday, July 17, 2009

0715 - babies

the 2 great fds i visited are both taking care of young babies. being with them almost all day was invaluable. how can babies fall asleep while half-eating a pretz stick? how does water melons taste to them? how do they develop their love & hate of things? how do they interact with adults without words?

are there answers to these? can i handle it too?

0714- LA: re-living high school days

in LA, i stayed with my high school friend fifi. we met 20+ yrs ago, and were the only chinese girls in our form in high school. over the years, we have both left sydney. we have met up in cities like hong kong, taipei, tokyo, london, and now LA. in fact, the last time i was in LA, which was 19 years ago, was a trip with the school, and she was there as well. so it feels quite magical to be here again, with her.

catching-up is the main purpose of the trip. we just talked non-stop. topics can easily cover people varying from my mum to our common friends to interesting people we've met over time. 

but this time, i found more catching-up - those of high school days. the first thing we did was to go see a johnny depp movie - we had fallen in love with him since high school (21 jump st!). we drank soda the size of pop-corn cups. we ate fattening hotdogs, double burgers and burritos. we went on a warner bros studio tour and got on the old set of FRIENDS (OMG central perk!). we went on the hollywood boulevard and tried to spot our fave celebs. we spilt coffee all over the car.... 

there were incidents in life that i had totally forgotten, yet fifi brought them up in our conversations. was i ever the bold girl who always caught the train to the city by myself on weekends? who won a scholarship to japan at 16? who directed a deodorant commercial for uni project? who has been freed by my parents since i knew how to walk?

20 yrs! how could all these time passed at a blink?! it brings some tears to my eyes, happy tears for such blessed lives we've had, and for all that we've accomplished.

thank you fifi, for re-living high school with me for one day.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

0710 - BC victoria

it's a just-the-2-of-us day and our destination is victoria, an island city 1.5-hr ferry ride away from vancouver. it's suppose to be the port with earliest settlement of the english people along the west coast of canada in the 1800s. hence the name victoria (era), and the victorian style architecture are in sight everywhere we go.

not to ruin the picturesque city by words, i will let the photos do the talking :)


0708-0709 - belief

as said there's a sudden turn of weather in vancouver, and even the forecast was not so optimistic. as lululu & matt has booked us a little road-trip to the winery region okanagan, everyone's been kinda worried.  

i somehow had this belief that things would turn out fine. of cos i m no god, but what can be ruined if friends & family can meet even when we live miles apart? during our 4-hr drive, there's been heavy rain, lighter rains, leaks of sunlight from the thick clouds, then heavy rain again ... and the moment we got off our cars, mr sunshine is there for us! if it hadn't been for the rain to chill a bit of the heat, the winery region might be too hot to dine outdoors! 

another pleasant surprise is the people mix. my cousin mel who also lives in vancouver has decided to join us for the trip. when strangers meet, sparks ain't guaranteed. but god's little work must be at the backstage somewhere. 'cos mel, who is a nurse, has just been transferred to working at the maternity ward for the past few months. and lululu is a mother with a new-born baby! with these 2 experts coming from different ends, i hv been blessed with a chance to speed-learn on pregnancy & motherhood & the healthcare systems across different countries of the world! 

on our drive back, it started raining again, but we could see sunlight in the far distance. and after a few miles of driving, there was a stunning scene - 2 rainbows cutting through the highland mountains - which ends our roadtrip beautifully ...