I have a confession to make. I just now realized that I have spent about 99% of my entire year on a couch watching reruns. 20 pounds later, I decided to get back on the track of living. Sulking and vacation are over.
I knew I needed to do something, but what? I have a child who still needs help but she’s at a stage where she wants to be independent, and I need more. I kept thinking maybe I should go and teach English to the South Korean students here but those positions are filled. The answer however, came sooner and much closer to home.
My baby’s nanny once told me that she struggled with English-both reading and speaking. She left her junior year in high school saying, education where she came from was not priority. They all expected to end up working in the sugarcane fields anyway so why bother with reading and math? One day in conversation, she mentioned it to me again and that my three year old has been giving her vocabulary lessons in simple English conversation. Realizing that was what it was when sometimes I can hear her say, “Nanny ‘afraid’ means, ‘scared.”
So I have decided to review her reading skills by asking her to read bedtime stories for my three year old while I sit by to listen. She was extremely hesitant when we first started, my guess is because she was embarrassed at what I was going to hear. However, once we started she went from reading 3 pages of Peter Rabbit, to a whole book of the Tortoise and the Hare in a week’s time. In between all of this, I have been teaching her how to read the clock. Do simple multiplication.
She smiles more confidently these days and I’m hoping one of those reasons is because she found out she is capable, and if she continues, she can look forward to a future that hopefully does not include the sugarcane fields. As for me, I’m just glad for the opportunity to be useful again.
My three year old finished the final touches of her letter, “N.” When we looked at what she wrote my heart swelled with pride. She wrote and spelled her first and last name all on her own! I felt like I have just scaled the base camp at Mount Everest without passing out!
Nowadays, my time is spent trying to answer the important questions in life like, “Mama, can I have toilet paper please?” or “Mama, can I climb your bike?” or “Mama, can I have milk please?” or every mom’s favorite, “Mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, mama…” Before last year, I was a 20 year ‘old lady’ of the allied medical profession. I was a professional, a clinician, a boss, a mentor, a resource, a wife and mother to our two dogs.
Now, I’m sitting with my daughter by at our dining room table working on her writing. No more patients, no more clinics, no more employees, no more students, no more paperwork, billing…The most exciting thing to ever occur to my daily life is my daughter being able to spell and write her own name.
I’m fine with that.
11 months ago, I was a busy professional on top of my game. Then my husband and I decided it would be good for our family for us to go back to my hometown and for me to stay home with the baby. I agreed with a million reservations. I haven’t been home home, since I was 24 (41 now) and I spent the better part of my pre-teen and teenage life trying to get away.
Now, here I was being faced with a tough choice not only to give up at the peak of my career but also to go back to a place I promised myself I would never go back to. For the sake of our family, I agreed. But I digress. How does this relate to the struggle with rice, you say? Well, everything!
First, I am Asian. I think that in itself should pretty much give you a clear understanding of my struggles with rice! Rice in Asia is tantamount to water. It is in all three meals of the day and including desserts. Rice to me is like a drug habit. Once I start heaping it into my mouth, I can’t seem to stop. When you take it away from me, I turn into this fire-breathing red dragon ready to burn you unless you give back my bowl of rice.
You can say, where I come from, we live and breathe rice. As for me, rice the thing my physicians tell me to quit having. What??? Are they insane? Telling and Asian woman to quit her rice habit? Does a fish need water? I mean what are they talking about?
They’re right however. So now 11 months after I set foot back in my version of the Twilight Zone, I have gained a body I didn’t know I could gain…a stomach that looks like I’m 8 months pregnant and my neck disappeared altogether. I’m miserable. I’m tired all the time. I’m fat. I’m unemployed. I’m bored. I’m up to my disappearing neck in fat!
Today I saw a picture of me at a party. I look twice as big as my older siblings. I feel ugly. So right now, I’m going to make an effort and I’m resolved in doing this, to cut down on rice and carbohydrates. Add some light exercise and lose weight. I will do this. I can do this. At least I think I can.
It’s half past midnight and I am somewhere halfway around the world. I have been looking at my pictures on my Facebook accounts. Yes, I have 3. One for my family, one for my friends, and last just for myself. Am I lying to the people I’m friends with? No, I would not say lying. I would say people only know an aspect of you, and to show them more than one, troubles them. So why not open up at least three, so I can be all of them.
Going back to my reverie; I cannot sleep. I have always fancied myself a night owl. So I helped myself to a cup of green tea and played the soundtrack of Jane Eyre (2011) by Dario Marianelli in the background. I don’t know why I chose it his music is very introspective-it literally forces me to think about things , I guess at the back of my mind, it speaks to my current mood. Looking at my many pictures, I realized a few things about myself. One, that as much as I label myself an anti-social, a homebody I am not. Two, my interests are so varied those closest to me do not really know all of them. Three, that I can support something I disagree with. What?!?
I believe no one person is ever really just, One person. A woman especially, we like to minimize the roles that we play to all those we love on a daily basis. We have gotten so effective at trivializing our contributions that we have led ourselves to believe that we are weaker, meeker, milder, or fearful. Nothing however, could be further from the truth. I do not consider myself a feminist by any means, but one does not need to be a feminist to recognize that women can be strong and weak at the same time, soft and hard, direct and cunning, sweet and spicy, a leader and a follower…we are all that and then some.
My blog is intended to embrace those parts of me and maybe hopefully, help someone else who’s trying to figure out theirs. I am the sum of my parts. I am my past, present and future. I am all of that.
I may need more green tea and Marianelli next time I write.