Tuesday, December 23, 2008

what christmas means to me

What Christmas means to me.

The memories of childhood Christmases fill my mind, as I watch my own children and hope their memories are as sweet as mine. My first memory is of my mom locked in her room. What was she doing in there? Finishing up those last minute wrappings and sewing the final seams of a doll. The next memorable Christmas is also my favorite. I received a pink ruffled parasol I had been coveting and a large stack of books.

Christmas is filled with these memories. Memories of family. Finding the perfect gift for the family member whose name I had drawn. I got my mom three years in a row. Sleeping with my sisters and waking up at three. Opening our stockings while waiting for our parents to wake. My dad's ho ho ho as he came down the stairs. Memories of Christmas lamps - a story for another time - and snowmen.

We never forgot what the real meaning of Christmas was though. Every Christmas eve we would sing carols and read the Christmas story from the book of Luke. Then we were trundled off to bed after leaving cookies and milk for Santa.

Now I am building new Christmas memories and traditions with my children. Our memories will be full of warm tropical picnics on the beach. Santa in his speedo. Hotel Christmases. Chinese ornaments. But we will carry on our own Christmas eve telling of the Christ's birth. We will sing our carols and remember Christmas is not the gifts or the lights, but the celebration of the Saviour's love for us.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I went out tonight on my own. Now I have done this before, but tonight it was particularly dark, and I had to cross a busy road. There were about three other people crossing at the same time. We all took our chances and crossed halfway then almost got mowed down by a turning car. We all crunched together quickly as the car turned. the woman beside me was saying nasty things, thank goodness I couldn't understand. We made our way to the other side only to hear the ringing of bicycle bells. I just stood still while they went around me. How embarrassing would it be to be taken out by a bike? They really should have lights.

So i must say sorry for my absence. Things got a little crazy but I'm back again.

Christmas is in full swing here. I have been surprised at the commercialism here, since this is not a very big holiday here. Evidently many of the young Chinese like to decorate for Christmas, and in the last few years it has really caught on. There has been a noticeable increase in traffic and my trip to the grocery last week was extra crowded. There are lights and decorations everywhere. Friday was the last day of school and we have finally taken the time to decorate the tree after the last days of winter concerts and school parties.

here are a few headlines from my area:

these two women, caged and catlike, sat outside a shopping mall to call for people to shop eating cat meat. I have a friend who visited the local wet market and there was a bucket of cats, yum. some of the restaurants are reportedly serving cat now since the weather has cooled. Supposedly cat meat makes you warm.

Santa rides an ostrich - local zoo. What else can I say! In Finland he rides a goat, so why not and ostrich?

46 injured in popular Hong Kong shopping area. Two 750ml bottles of acid were dropped from above. No suspects were found. I will never understand what drives people to commit these types of acts.

I promise to return.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


what is your favorite christmas carol? why?

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, goodwill to men
From heavens all gracious King!"
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled;
And still their heavenly music floats
O'er all the weary world:
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o'er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

O ye beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.

this is my favorite. it seems to encompass all. then and now. the beauty of that first christmas and the hope of what is yet to come.

what is your favorite?

Friday, December 05, 2008

#5 nablopomo

if i was remy i would be writing a poem about how


why am i putting myself through the pressure of posting everyday.

the truth is that today i am too tired.

larry is putting the only two home tonight to bed .

he even did toothbrush duty.

so i am going for a soak in a hot tub.

then straight to bed.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

nablolpomo # 4

i did go today to the four dragon store and the stationery mall. i did take my camera, but i took no pictures. never fear though as i must return tomorrow. i bought a christmas tree but - silly me - did not check it before bringing it home and it doesn't fit together. so pictures tomorrow. i bought some decorative plates and a jim shore santa for less than 10 dollars. in front of the stationery mall they had a lot of food vendors. i must try some octopus on a stick!

here is my cloisonne i commissioned from a local artist. i always stop and admire his work. when ordering this piece i failed to notice the child is wearing those pants that are open in the back. i suppose then it is more authentic.

here are the plates i bought today. they are square and quite intricate. the photos don't really do them justice. i quite like them.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

heartbreak / #3

it is so hard to be a kid. i think we often forget the heartaches and the insecurities of youth. most of the time i am happy with the choices my husband and i have made for our family. the opportunity, to live outside of the u.s., for our children has been wonderful. tonight though as i sat with my daughter, tears streaming down her face, i felt powerless to help. there was nothing i could say to help her. this is her fourth school. she is in fourth grade! i remember being the new kid. i wasn't outgoing so it took me a long time to make friends. as she struggles with finding her place in school and a very different culture, and finding friends that understand and seek her company as-well, i stand and helplessly watch. i love her. she is smart and fun. she is also so like me. quick to make judgements, feeling every little word that is said deeply. analyzing and berating every move she makes. i hope she knows i am always here for her. i hope i can be her safe zone.

And thou shalt in thy daughter see, This picture, once, resembled thee.[Ambrose Philips (1675-1749),

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

christmas cards - nablopomo #2

Two things happening. First being inspired by my blogging friend Cairo TypO and her NaBloPoMo success, I have decided to go for it, a whole month of daily blogging. Hopefully it will be meaningful, insightful, and not too much of me for you. Secondly I have found a great journaling blog called Tuesday-Tell-All. I thought it would be great fun. It is also a way to get some topics that otherwise I might not think of, for posterity you know. So this is my second December post and my first Tuesday Tell All.

So the topic for this Tuesday is Christmas cards.

Last year I received two Christmas cards in the mail. One from my sister-in-law. The other was from my gynecologist. You know the one, with the stamped signature and the picture of the office staff wearing Santa hats. Of course this may be due to the fact that in eight years I haven't sent cards. I always meant well, in the days before I completely gave up. I would carefully pick my cards. I would make sure they said me. I would get out my address book and write messages. Then I would never mail them. To this day I have several boxes of cards, addressed and not, just hanging out taking up space.

Now I send email cards. Easier in many ways, but the irony of the situation is that I love mail. I love to open the mailbox and find a letter or a card. I imagine having a box on my mantel, full of the many Christmas cards sent to me by friends and family. I dream of having meaningful correspondence through the post. Who knows, maybe this year I will change my stripes, or not.

world aids day

She watched him in the rear view mirror. His eyes catching hers in the mirror smiled. She resented the fact she was on this trip. Resented the fact that she must take her son to say goodbye to someone he had never had the opportunity to know. Her mind wandered back to the day they had met. Cocky and self-assured, he marched right up to her and kissed her. They had a whirlwind romance marrying just four months later. She loved his fun-loving ways and his zest for life. Fresh from college, life was theirs for the taking.

Looking back now there were so many things she should have seen. She became pregnant. She guessed it was a lot of responsibility for a young couple just starting out, but she was happy. He worried about how they would make ends meet. He often came home late after having gone out with the guys. Just letting off some steam. He had always been one to enjoy a party and the company of a lively crowd. It became more and more frequent and the tensions at home seemed to mount. She moved out.

Now four years later she would take their son to visit him. His once strong and vibrant body emaciated. His thick curly hair falling out. Lesions on his skin. His body under attack. A life full of careless choices. His drinking had made way to other things. Money exchanged in dark passages for a few hours of escape. A series of women who were always willing to share in the fun. She wondered where they were now. She also felt the guilt of thinking she should have been there, maybe if she had stayed it would have been different. Looking at her son she was glad she hadn't.

Facing AIDS - World AIDS day 2008

hiv/aids is the topic for bloggers unite this month. i am sure i have not done it justice but i am glad to be able to join my voice with the many who today will address this topic. we have come a long way since the beginning of this terrible world epidemic. the number of people affected is astounding. many are children and youth. education is vital to help, our youth especially, make choices that will keep them safe.