Being busy is great!

I had a busy September. First, getting a new car means taking more responsibilities in family work. Second, preparing GRE and taking the test were stressful and my brain kept complaining. Third, I finally got a part-time job as a French teacher.  To well begin my new professional life, I should dedicate more time and  energy.

Thus, I had no time to read newspapers, to aliment my blogs, to stay online in social media, neither to hike nor to swim.

However I felt so good. I didn’t mind any annoying comments from my husband which, generally, would make us argue. I didn’t stick to some weird reactions from my friends, which normally made me upset. Especially, I had no time to worry about my future.

Being busy is great. I like to make my agenda full. Although as my husband said, you could not concentrate on everything in order to make sure of your success. He was right and predicted well the frustrating result of my GRE. But I still loved September, because I was hopeful and energetic.

The most regrettable thing is that I didn’t write much, neither for practicing nor for recording my thoughts. If it’s good to be busy, it’s not good to use it as an excuse to give up thinking. I hesitated many times before resisting a writing impulse.

I will embrace a very busy October and I hope to do better everyday.

Love notes

The new school year started and Claire was excited to discover her new class and become one of the Super Stars. Ms Terry, her new teacher, had cut hundreds of heart-formed notes in summer, using various kinds of papers. It would be a terrific idea: Every day, each child brings one heart note written by his parent and Ms Terry has a fixed time to read them all before exhibiting them on the classroom wall.

I quickly embraced this idea although as many parents, I wondered what to write on these notes today or two weeks later. At the Open House Evening, parents were amazed by so many colorful love notes perching on the yellow wall like small butterflies. “So much love !” “So beautiful!”We were curious to reread our own notes and to discover others. Definitely, all kids love this daily activity: reading love notes from parents.

For those new students, who has begun their school life but still have stress in being separated from parents, the love note is a bridge, a connection and an encouragement. I imagine that the little girl must feel better with a little heart in hand when her mom says Goodbye. The moment of sharing everyone’s love note would also be fun, since kinds are proud of being loved and curious towards others’ stories.

I’m right. Claire loves this idea so much! She even draws some nice things between the lines of our message. One day, she told me that her love note had made all class laugh, because I was praising her of washing her underwear by herself. I didn’t mean to make things funny, but I do prefer detailed praise. “Have a good day! Love You !” This was the first note I wrote, as other parents did. Our kids would never feel bored by this kind of daily platitude, but I was unsatisfied with the repetition the day later. I begun to write down some concrete praises and even tried to share some wisdom, although I wasn’t sure she could understand all.

One morning, she insisted to wear a long dress to be a princess, while I disagreed because she would have gym class in the morning. A 4 year-old girl can easily get capricious and stubborn. “I can still do gym in dress.” she was mad at breakfast.I picked up the heart note and wrote:”My dear princess Claire, what ever you wear, you are so beautiful! You can shine by dressing up or at the gym class.” She left with the love note, which I expected would revive our dialogue.

Ms Terry was generous, assuring us that it was OK to forget the love note. Teachers will check and make everyone have one. Even our morning schedule is not tight, sometimes, I wrote the note in a hurry.  So I suggested to share the mission with Claire’s daddy, who accepted it with pleasure. The first time, he wrote down some commonplace before adding several drawings to make the note more charming. The second time, he passed 15 minutes on it without catching an idea.

“Write some details. Describe one situation. Imagine one activity…” I was just suggesting.

Suddenly, so many joyful pictures hopped out and Daddy wrote:”It was so fun to play the ballon with you!” “Even when I was angry, I still love you!””You are so cooperative !””There is no fire, I will protect you.” He could even finished one week’s notes.

Writing love notes can be a routine, but if you put some love in it, it can be a wonderful thing. Sometimes, I copied several beautiful phrase that we read together at bed time. Sometimes, I reminded Claire of her baby stories. Sometimes, I just asked a funny question. Every time I was working on that small love note, even it took me only one minute, I felt so concentrated, so happy and so hopeful, as if my day was lightened up, as if we all could begin a meaningful and joyful day with enough energy.

Meet another Me

How could I describe my emotion when I found, by chance, my former blog, which was suspended six years ago. I accidentally entered the wrong mail address and taped the same password, wishing to write a new post in my present blog. The former one, written in Chinese, just showed up, making me astonished, as if I was in a dream. I hardly recognized the front page and had no idea that was it. It was my former blog annexed to MSN, which was moved to Word Press while MSN invalided the relevant service. I just accepted that MSN died out of my day. I might never think to save this blog. For all these years, I didn’t know the existence of WordPress, since it is censured in China.

More than two hundreds articles, written from 2016 to 2010 ! Full of emotion, I clicked my mouse to read several posts. Ma memory was motivated but the past of my life was not clear enough. I skimmed my college life, the beginning of my career and the new life after my marriage. Is it me? With such an innocent and emotional style?

I met another me, whom I now barely recognize and may not agree with. Was I naive at that time, believing that romantic and pure words were the most suitable to express my daily thoughts? Or just because that my thoughts at that period were as simply as my writing fragments.Was I only capable to be authentic to my life or Had I already indulged myself in a romantic and lyrical writing, which made my past appear so pure and beautiful ?  It’s only six years between the present Me and the much younger and much simpler Me. What has happened?

Let me translate the last post of that blog, written on September 14th, 2010, in Paris.

The age of Paris

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” said Hemingway. But why in one’s youth?

I dream, when I’m very very old, I would live in Paris.

Every day, with so much time and enough money,

Dressed up daintily, a lighter skirt, red lips,

I would admire the organ in church, enjoy a coffee at terrace,

taste small but exquisite chocolate,

I would appreciate a movie, at noon, in a desert cinema,

go to opera and indulge myself in the grandeur of the surroundings.

My partner would be with me, soak up the sun in silence,

pass an afternoon at a park, where the noise becomes now tolerable.

I might learn to bake cake, but still desire to try different restaurants.

Never I would mind the body shape, because I have already got the secret.

No longer I would  prefer to stay all day in library, Neither to pass my day between books,

Read, but only a little, Write, but only occasionally,

That’s all.

Time changes people. I don’t regret the change. I could never write in that way any more. I have moved on with my age. Have I become more cynical? Have I lost my pure optimism in life? Have I turned out to be more complex and less credulous?

The past is beautiful and the present should be the same, but with different perspectives. I dreamed a lot when I was young. Sometimes, I still dream the same thing, but with less idealism and more consciousness to cherish the present pleasure.

Wander and Wonder

My English is not good yet, so I often made mistakes in my emails. I don’t have many emails to write, just several causal letters to thank our neighbors or Claire’s preschool teachers. We’ve moved to U.S for four months et have limited communication with the community. 

I waited three months for my job permit, but even I got it, I haven’t begun job research, since I know it’s difficult for me to start an other career, with only expertise in another language’s teaching. So I stay at home, wondering what to do next. Meanwhile, I wander around to discover the city. 

I wrote one day to Claire’s main teacher, “I wander if it’s permitted to take pictures of others kids at school?” Later after sending the mail, I  was suddenly  aware of having made a huge mistake. Why I tapped “wander” in place of “wonder”?  So shamed of myself, I went out hiking in the mountain. My daily life is fulfilled with increasing frustration with my English level, especially when I remembered how proud I was in another foreign language – French. 

My new life is not perfect. My past bumped up to make me reconsider the value of actual life. I lived in a big modern city, tired with daily noisy and stress but consoled by familiar traditions and taken-for-granted security. My family struggled to move out of China in order to land on a better place, even we didn’t figure out how better would it be. Now living finely under the blue sky, our mind is still confusing. Is this the life we looked for? Are there so many culture chocks as we learned in books ? What are the challenges to handle ? 

I’m afraid to wander in the new city, frightened by daily news focusing on gun violence and crashes. Being told to keep safe one thousand times, I just permit myself to wonder in lieu of wandering in touch with the variety of the society. 

But the most exciting part of my daily wanderwonderling is to write down what made me happy, sad, thankful, anxious or just idle. Writing is never boring. Writing in another language is an exploration, like wandering in the strange mountains, like wondering wonderful things or even unbelievable fictitious experiences. 

Keep wonder and wander with words.