Life


The first 100-day for a new born means a lots, brand new and overwhelmed environment, never had experience regardless whether likes or not. Amazingly, baby learns so hard and naturally to adapt millions changes. Forget the emotional and tiring 100 days for me, I indeed experienced a true journal of exploration as a new mom, guider, bystander, scientist or a human being. I am blessed to have such little and wonderful creature, although I had felt overwhelmed from the role changes. Probably, I should also open my mind just like a baby, to learn about the world in a different way.

First eye contact, first conscious smile, first babbling, first grabbing, and first holding with two hands…..every small step of development in the past 100 days, I have seen. I like everyday waked up by the babbling talk of her. When I look at her eyes in the first sight of every morning, she is looking back at me with her crystal clean eyes, such wonderful feeling. I smile, then she smiles. At this very moment, my heart is melting, not only because of love, but the meet of ourselves. Sometimes, I forget she is only 100 days old, rather a mini human and we have accompanied each other already for a very very long time.

In the past 100 days, I have learnt how to take care a new born:

How much and many times she should drink?

How may wet and dirty dippers she should have?

How many hours she should sleep?

When she should have follow sleeping schedule?

How long she should play?

……

All sort of practical questions, I have to deal daily. I do my best. However, with people only care about these, I do not like to talk. 100 days, I would rather to talk about my deep wishes for this wonderful human being. Have seen and dealt with the ugly side of people, desire, careless and selfish mind, but I believe the deep kindness and beauty of being and life…..Grow with baby makes me want to become a even better person, or let her meet the best part of ourselves. With curiosity and love, I would want to see this world together with her again, from her eyes and mine. I would like to quote the whole letter from Chinese writer Liu Yu to her 100 days old daughter, where she says all the words I would like to tell  little Mulan.

 

亲爱的小布谷:

今年六一儿童节,正好是你满百天的日子。

当我写下”百天”这个字眼的时候,着实被它吓了一跳–一个人竟然可以这样小,小到以天计。在过去100天里,你像个小魔术师一样,每天变出一堆糖果给爸爸妈妈吃。如果没有你,这100天,就会像它之前的100天,以及它之后的100天一样,陷入混沌的时间之流,绵绵不绝而不知所终。

就在几天前,妈妈和一个阿姨聊天,她问我:为什么你决定要孩子?我用了一个很常见也很偷懒的回答:为了让人生更完整。她反问:这岂不是很自私?用别人的生命来使你的生命更”完整”?是啊,我想她是对的。但我想不出一个不自私的生孩子的理由。古人说:不孝有三,无后为大,不自私吗?现代人说:”我喜欢小孩”,不自私吗?生物学家说”为了人类的繁衍”,哎呀,听上去多么神圣,但也不过是将一个人的自私替换成了一个物种甚至一群基因的自私而已。对了,有个叫道金斯的英国老头写过一本书叫《自私的基因》,你长大了一定要找来这本书读读,你还可以找来他的其他书读读,妈妈希望你以后是个爱科学的孩子,当然妈妈也希望你在爱科学的同时,能够找到自己的方式挣脱虚无。

因为生孩子是件很”自私”的事情,所以母亲节那天,看到铺天盖地”感谢母亲”、”伟大的母爱”之类的口号时,我只觉得不安甚至难堪。我一直有个不太正确的看法:母亲对孩子的爱,不过是她为生孩子这个选择承担后果而已,谈不上什么”伟大”。以前我不是母亲的时候不敢说这话,现在终于可以坦然说出来了。甚至,我想,应该被感谢的是孩子,是他们让父母的生命”更完整”,让他们的虚空有所寄托,让他们体验到生命层层开放的神秘与欣喜,最重要的是,让他们体验到尽情地爱–那是一种自由,不是吗?能够放下所有戒备去信马由缰地爱,那简直是最大的自由。作为母亲,我感谢你给我这种自由。

也因为生孩子是件自私的事情,我不敢对你的未来有什么”寄望”。没有几个汉语词汇比”望子成龙”更令我不安,事实上这四个字简直令我感到愤怒:有本事你自己”成龙”好了,为什么要望子成龙?如果汉语里有个成语叫”望爸成龙”或者”望妈成龙”,当父母的会不会觉得很无礼?所以,小布谷,等你长大,如果你想当一个华尔街的银行家,那就去努力吧,但如果你仅仅想当一个面包师,那也不错。如果你想从政,只要出于恰当的理由,妈妈一定支持,但如果你只想做个动物园饲养员,那也挺好。我所希望的只是,在成长的过程中,你能幸运地找到自己的梦想–不是每个人都能找到人生的方向感,又恰好拥有与这个梦想相匹配的能力–也不是每个人都有与其梦想成比例的能力。是的,我祈祷你能”成功”,但我所理解的成功,是一个人对自己所做的事情有敬畏与热情–在妈妈看来,一个每天早上起床都觉得上班是个负担的律师,并不比一个骄傲地对顾客说”看,这个发型剪得漂亮吧”的理发师更加成功。

但是,对你的”成就”无所寄望并不等于对你的品格无所寄望。妈妈希望你来到这个世界不是白来一趟,能有愿望和能力领略它波光潋滟的好,并以自己的好来成全它的更好。妈妈相信人的本质是无穷绽放,人的尊严体现在向着真善美无尽奔跑,所以,我希望你是个有求知欲的人,大到”宇宙之外是什么”,小到”我每天拉的屎冲下马桶后去了哪里”,都可以引起你的好奇心;我希望你是个有同情心的人,对他人的痛苦–哪怕是动物的痛苦–抱有最大程度的想象力因而对任何形式的伤害抱有最大程度的戒备心;我希望你是个有责任感的人,意识到我们所拥有的自由、和平、公正就像我们拥有的房子车子一样,它们既非从天而降,也非一劳永逸,需要我们每个人去努力追求与奋力呵护;我希望你有勇气,能够在强权、暴力、诱惑、舆论甚至小圈子的温暖面前坚持说出”那个皇帝其实并没有穿什么新衣”;我希望你敏感,能够捕捉到美与不美之间势不两立的差异,能够在博物馆和音乐厅之外、生活层峦叠嶂的细节里发现艺术;作为一个女孩,我还希望你有梦想,你的青春与人生不仅仅为爱情和婚姻所定义。这个清单已经太长了是吗?对品格的寄望也是一种苛刻是吗?好吧,与其说妈妈希望你成为那样的人,不如说妈妈希望你能和妈妈相互勉励,帮助对方成为那样的人。

有一次妈妈和朋友们聊天,我说希望以后”能和自己的孩子成为好朋友”,结果受到了朋友们的集体嘲笑。他们说,这事可没什么盼头,因为你不能预测你的孩子将长成什么样,一个喜欢读托尔斯泰的妈妈可能生出一个喜欢读《兵器知识》的小孩,一个茶党妈妈可能生出一个信仰共产主义的小孩,一个热爱古典音乐的妈妈可能生出一个热爱摇滚的小孩,甚至,一个什么都喜欢的妈妈可能生出一个什么都不喜欢的小孩?而就算他价值观念兴趣爱好都和你相近,他也宁愿和他的同龄人交流而不是你。所以,朋友们告诫我,还是别做梦有一天和你的孩子成为朋友啦。好吧,妈妈不做这个梦了,我不指望你15岁那年和爸爸妈妈成立一个读书小组,或者25岁那年去非洲旅行时叫上妈妈。如果有一天你发展出一个与妈妈截然不同的自我,我希望能为你的独立而高兴。如果你宁愿跟你那个满脸青春痘的胖姑娘同桌而不是妈妈交流人生,那么我会为你的人缘而高兴。如果–那简直是一定的–我们为”中国往何处去”以及”今晚该吃什么”吵得不可开交,如果–那也是极有可能的–你也像妈妈一样脾气火爆,我也希望你愤然离家出走的时候记得带上手机、钥匙和钱包。

小布谷,你看,我已经把太多注意力放在”以后”上面了,事实上对”以后”的执着常常伤害人对当下的珍视。怀孕的时候,妈妈天天盼着你能健康出生,你健康出生以后,妈妈又盼着你能尽快满月,满月之后盼百天,百天之后盼周岁?也许妈妈应该把目光从未来拉回到现在,对,现在。现在的你,有一百个烦人的理由,你有时候因为吃不够哭,有时候又因为厌奶哭,你半夜总醒,醒了又不肯睡,你常常肠绞痛,肠绞痛刚有好转就又开始发低烧,发烧刚好又开始得湿疹?但就在筋疲力尽的妈妈开始考虑是把你卖给马戏团还是把你扔进垃圾桶时,你却靠在妈妈怀里突然憨憨地一笑,小眼睛眯眯着,小肉堆堆着,就这一笑,又足以让妈妈升起”累死算了”的豪情。岂止你的笑,你睡着时嘴巴像小鱼一样嘬嘬嘬的样子,你咿咿呀呀时耸耸着的鼻子,你消失在层层下巴之后的脖子,你边吃奶边哭时的”哎呀哎呀”声,你可以数得出根数却被妈妈称为浓密的睫毛?都给妈妈带来那么多惊喜。妈妈以前不知道人会抬头这事也会让人喜悦,手有五个手指头这事也会让人振奋,一个人嘴里吐出一个”哦”字也值得奔走相告–但是你牵着妈妈的手,引领妈妈穿过存在的虚空,重新发现生命的奇迹。现在,妈妈在这个奇迹的万丈光芒中呆若木鸡,妈妈唯愿你能对她始终保持耐心,无论阴晴圆缺,无论世事变迁,都不松开那只牵引她的手。

小布谷,愿你慢慢长大。

愿你有好运气,如果没有,愿你在不幸中学会慈悲。

愿你被很多人爱,如果没有,愿你在寂寞中学会宽容。

愿你一生一世每天都可以睡到自然醒。

布妈

2013.5.22

From spring to later summer

Eating well has always been my joy and way of living. This year I could enjoy cooking more, probably due to the weird good weather, my super relax mood and unexpected long time off. Or, if I eat well, I feel well. It is not necessary to be comprehensive food, but just comfort, healthy home cooking, can be enjoyed by myself, two persons plus little one inside or with friends.

I could not agree more that  cook and eat well are the simple joy and celebration of life, which can be reached daily. My inspiration could come from seasonal food, ingredients from pantry, TV receipts, magazine, or anywhere, whenever. Be casual, spontaneous and creative are the essential fun of cooking, for me.

(All photos and food were made by Leee )

P.S My favorite foodie/culture/documentary programs this year

A cook Abroad – Series of BBC TV chefs

Parts Unknown – Anthony Bourdain

Fearless Chef – Kiran Jethwa

Marokko in zes gerechten – Chez Benali

Wedding day – Lieve Blancquaert

Langs de oevers van de Yangtze – Ruben Terlou

I could not find better words to describe my year 2016. Now, I take it as it comes, in Chinese “既来之, 则安之”. As myself is not really fan of Confucianism. However, it is the only saying pop up in my mind, which would perfectly match my current mode.

Frustration – lost in my career path

In the end of last year, I finally decide to leave my boring and demanding job, which did not bring me to anywhere, except for frustrating boringness and no future development. In fact, I was very disappointed for the choice I made 3 year ago for the very first time in my career. I have left not idea but actually high quality previous job, respectable and influential boss, only just want to follow my instinct back to the field where I have thought more to be connected with. Moving across the half country again; first time starting the commuting life between two cities; travelling 5 hours 3 days/week for two jobs as transition…I felt full of energy and motivation. It was amazing condition. Unfortunately, soon after I started, I began to realize a weird working environment – less qualified older colleague who only wanted to hang there with a well paid and sound good title, office gossip queen type younger colleague, blar-blar and no focus boss, endless boring yet no progress meetings, most of all – poor quality projects. As someone use to work in simple and productive environment, or slightly male dominant environment (no prejudice), I felt to fall into a rabbit hole, which has sucked most of my energy by nonsense. In the fowling months and years, I start to isolate myself from the tiny gossip group, which only gave me headache and annoyingness. I certainly did not want to “fit-in” to the group do nothing good for me. It was not easy and pleasant. At the mean time, I was desperately looking for other opportunity, that I can leave this little irritating and low quality group officially. However, I was not strong or knowledgeable enough to start my own group, especially in a weak environment with very much limited resources and supports. Then, I knew it was time to go, but this time due to different reason. I had to admit that I made a bad choice to start this job with good expectation, even though I had tried and worked so hard to fix things as I expected. It would not work out no matter what. Without any guarantee for the next job, I just wanted and had to stop, when I realized how awful I did during a new interview (can not stop nagging without any awareness). For the very first time, I lost passion for the routine work, simply because not challenging and not right energy consuming work broke my career plan and expectation. Then, I am partially jobless.

Stress – difficult family relation

Temperately out of job is probably not the end of world. However, when it mixed with family issues, it is end of the world. For a quite while, I really dislike to be part of Chinese family. Although parents show weird attention and care of every step of your choice and your life, it somehow becomes a very deep and rude interfering and control, with I call – verbal abuse which probably the most popular way Chinese parents are fan of. No respect of your own choice and decision of your own life, which as a mature adult I did everything good as I can, I could and I would like; No real understanding the deep need of your life, keep pushing you towards the direction which you absolutely know you would not go. When you keep saying no and argue every single time, except for tiredness, the relation is full of tension, pain and damage. In the other hand, I also felt guilty which finally leads me to terrible stress. I crashed down for the very first time, and I finally admitted in the end.

Restoration – myself

Luckily, I still know how to save things to prevent they are getting worse, to block everything: stop work, stop contact with far away parents, and basically stop every contact to the person and things which make me stressful and unhappy. Luckily, I am not down, but very proactively searching way out. After shutting down possible contact which might trigger my emotion and escalate my negative stress level (normally, I think stress could be sometimes in positive way to make you focus and determinant), I still have rich leisure time and I am more enjoying the things/activities I use to do and like: go out, visit museum, research new cooking recipes, write travel blog, read books, go to exercise, talk to positive friends….After a short New year trip to the mountain region in Austria, I was back to my job hunting process. After have been nagging and regretting a bad working experience, I tried to look back and restore the positive and useful parts out of it, although it was not easy. Luckily, I had done lots of work and delivered quite some good results, only which were not matter for me. What can you do about it? I had to be clear that I was a good employee and dedicated to my tasks, but I am looking for something else and now I know more clearly than before. That was the first step to restore myself. Gradually, I got my passion back, and was able to re-evaluate myself and started new applications. This time, I have to be more realistic and more careful, not in rush jumping into another rabbit hole, which is what I have told myself.

 Flexibility – re-adapt to new situation     

After new application, good interviews, I got my confidence back. I started to feel good and more under control of myself. Still, I cut back all negative person and things out of my life, and tried not to solve or improve anything, which I knew it would not work anyway. Right before the last round interview of a very nice position, I suspected that I might be pregnant. Ok, that is another issue I need to sort out. Without confirm or rather no distraction, I went for the interview. Day after that, I did pregnancy test, and it was positive. How could I describe my reaction and feeling? I also have to admit that I am not fan of starting a family with kid. I like my life in the way it was; I enjoy life only with two persons, friends and things I like; I like to be alone sometime; most important, I do not think to have kid is somehow a track to complete your life. There is so much out there, and it is a serious responsibility coming from my own experience and understanding. I would not picture myself to be mom without conscious thinking, or just like a lots of parents who actually do crap to raise their kids, or think kid is an accessory, a way to complete their own life or some kind of product owned by them. Even though, I probably would not like that. For a long time, I fed up with my parents’ idea about having kid, only because your biological age is getting old. As a fact, I am not. I do not know based on what universe definition they are referring to, or it is just no base. They just want. That is not logical. Most of all, life in my definition is not one side, but having multiple faces, why people just like to stuck in one idea and also drag people around them into this silly direction. I really hate that. On the other hand, I have never pictured that live without kids. For me, I only would prefer to have in slightly later age. However, my parents do everything they could to stop that happening, including really destroy our already fragile relationship during the years. This process actually further diminished my desire and plan, on the contrary. We were end up with a completely un-explainable and bad relation, which almost killed me at the end of last year. I will search my own path and start my family only when I feel want to, but not anyone else tell me so. Pregnancy itself would not supersize me, since we have half thought about that, only did not know how soon it will happen. I was quite peaceful or pleased, except for worry about the coming adjustment of my own plan. Strangely, this big news I just did not want to share with my parents immediately, after so much difficulty and damage, although I know it will comfort them in any possible way. I basically lost my entire patient and care for them, because I almost broke down. I start seriously thinking about the family relationships, but more between me and my further little one. I am actually happy for her arriving, except I would not continue to make up my lost in my career path right away. It was not ideal, but I could accept that. With support from my partner, we agree to have a pregnancy off for me. I would positively use it also as power time off.

Power of time off

Accept the fact that it was not smart to start a new job, especially when you are ready to devote again and to achieve a better result for yourself for this “new job”. Just task as it comes. I love my own life, was not ready to welcome new family member, also afraid of mass up and completely changed life 9 months ago. Now, I feel the change little by little, in the positive way. I probably will not mass-up; will not have the same relation with my kid just like with my parents, only because of a deep psychological fear; my life will change for sure, but I probably can still have myself, because that depends who you are. I am still the same person. With believe and restored strength, although sometimes I am still very sensitive, especially to parents who still pass me mood wave, I do block them and throw away my nonuse guilty. Meanwhile, I start to build bond with my little one. I do love the feeling to care her, and feel her moving inside my belly, and grow with her. I have on more fear, weirdly.

Finally, after years busy and hard work, I could manage my own time as I want by change: pick up any cooking to start try something new; listen music whenever I want; visit gallery, museum during week; arrange little trip to the place I always want to go, or go back to the places we always want to; meet friends who are always pleasant to talk with; start to write my travel blog which I always want to finish few years ago; keep physically active as long as I can; enjoy everything I did in the past years, I do feel satisfaction; still work casually, and follow courses which will help me back to work next year….maybe I am completely sink into the world I create for myself. I do not find it is a problem, because I could not feel unhappy ever before. I am full of energy again, and feel overall great during my pregnancy. Last year, I was in hell. Although I still have trouble relation with parents yet consume lots of frustrating energy, and I am not keen to fall into strap again and again, I have to let it go and learn to accept that I can not or not necessary need to fix everything. Now, ~7 weeks left until I will finally meet the little cute one. I feel blessed and ready to move to new page. Even though I feel pity that I could not share all the happy and beautiful moment with my mom about my pregnancy, and I am no longer able to share all the joy, proud and deep thought in my life, but I hope I will be mom in the future that my own daughter will love to share her life with me.

Only to my birthday, mom-to-be in my middle of 30s

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Other interesting links:

The power of time off

Why some start families late