Tag Archives: moving

I can feel his pain ………… unexpected connections…..

Today we went to see the new Karate Kid movie. If you have not seen the movie, you might not want to read this yet. It’s predictable – you already know what happens, so I promise I am not ruining the ending – but I am all full of opinions about this and I might taint your viewpoint. Better to see it first then tell me how wrong I am.

At one point in the movie, the 12 year old boy who was forced to move across the globe has a mini-tantrum and tells his mother that he hates it in China and that he just wants to go home. After the movie, Bear said that he could totally feel his pain. And then he laughed. And we marveled that we had already been gone a year and a half and that we are now back home. We all agreed that the experience was amazing but we could totally relate to the main character wanting to get the heck out of there – even if the ice cream is really good.

One of the beginning scenes was at the airport and they showed this statue.

We all simultaneously looked at each other and laughed. Several parts of the movie were filmed in places in Beijing we had been – the markets, Olympic Park, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and Tiananmen Square, etc. That was bizarro. I knew the movie was filmed in Asia but I didn’t realize it was filmed in Beijing where we had just visited not too many weeks ago. We went out for a little family bonding time in front of the big screen and behind bags of popcorn and we found some tremendous unexpected connections.

Right before we left for India, Slumdog Millionaire came out and that was really my first introduction to India. It’s wasn’t a warm and fuzzy “how ya doing” introduction – it was a “holy crap you want me to move where and take our children with us – yeah, that sounds like a great idea” kind of introduction.

And then, when we return, Karate Kid comes out. That is about as full circle as it gets. And as much as the Indian population was not that impressed with Slumdog, I don’t think the Chinese people and mothers in general are going feel the l.o.v.e. for Karate Kid.

It missed the boat on a number of fronts. The bottom line is that a father has apparently died and a mother moves her son from Detroit to China for a job. But knowing how tough this decision really is, I was disappointed that they just started the movie with the move. A move that they made too simple and too uncomplicated. There weren’t really any tears – the family just picked up and left with a few hugs in the rain as Dre’s (the Karate Kid) best friend gives him his skateboard and they knock knuckles. That just is not reality. When you move around the world, you are tearing yourself away from just about every little level of comfort you know – especially if it is your first international move – and even if you don’t love everything about where you are leaving – you at least mostly know what to expect. Anytime you move, you are leave people you care about and routines and just a life that is familiar. Surely, there is a thrill in the new adventure but it just doesn’t begin with a hug in the rain.

Those of you who know me will probably laugh when I say this – but I also simply cannot believe that a widow can take her 12-year old boy to Beijing and let him just run about town. He spent a good deal of his time unattended. Let me say this about Beijing. We wanted to take a cab from our hotel to the Hard Rock Cafe and back to get my brother a hat. The hotel “strongly” discouraged us from doing that because most people in China don’t speak English. It’s not easy to navigate a big city even as an adult and even when you can speak the language and can read the signs. It is totally unrealistic to think that a 12 year old could find his way around that town alone and that a mother would be comfortable with that happening. I know you are supposed to suspend reality when you watch a movie. But I think that when people put together a movie that they want you to believe in – they should make attempts to make it believable. A woman alone with a child in a completely foreign environment just would not give her son so much freedom. I could not get past that. Every time Dre was walking somewhere alone, I could not help but think that he should not be doing that.

After the movie, I asked Bear what he thought the chances of me letting him roam around Beijing by himself would be. He laughed that I would probably let him do that before I would let him delete a text message from me and then not respond. Oh yeah, that happened too. Dre’s mom was looking for him and he just hit “delete” after receiving the message. Excuse me? But she was on his arse about not hanging up his jacket. Huh?

At one point, the boy and his instructor take a train ride to train at the Great Wall. Seriously? She’s going to let this total stranger take her son on a train? So, the mom might win an academy award for this movie (but don’t bet on that) but she certainly will not be getting mother of the year honors.

Anyneglect, then there was the whole issue of Dre making friends. On the day he arrived, the Karate Kid met a boy about his age and played some basketball with him. Then he saw a cute girl and went over to meet her. Enter the bullies who were unimpressed. He got the crap beaten out of him. Frankly, it was a little much. I certainly do not claim to be an expert on the Chinese teenager – but this seemed so out of character for what I have experienced. Five or six boys ganged up on the new kid and pummeled him. Exit the new friend. This blond boy is never seen again in the movie. Again, really? Not even at school, not even once? Really, Chinese teenagers would pummel a foreigner within hours of his arrival in the country. It just didn’t all add up.

When Dre’s mom saw his black eye – and not until the next morning by the way – she accepted his “I ran into a pole” excuse to avoid having a discussion in front of the school administrator. Again – not gonna happen. You realize your son has been beaten up, you did a little deeper. You don’t leave him at the door with a “I love you, honey” and send him into the wolves den. Guess who some of the first kids he saw at school were? Bingo!

It was never clear what type of school the boy was going to. But it seemed to at least be an international school. They have this new student thing down pat – they usually assign a “buddy” to kids to help them navigate through their first few days. Didn’t happen. Dre did run into his “crush” at the cafeteria but the bullies didn’t like him talking to her and turned his tray upside down on his shirt – right in front of the school administrator. She just sent them on their way in opposite directions and did not address the conflict at all. Huh?

The boy got bullied a few more times and then finally saved by the maintenance man (Jackie Chan – lucky to have him as the maintenance man). Jackie Chan agrees to train Dre and they become fast friends.

I also had a really tough time accepting the bullying nature of the group of boys in the story. Everyone I know who has their kids in some sort of martial arts touts the discipline the art teaches. It is not about the fighting but about strengthening the mind and the body and learning focus. You become strong so you do not have to fight. But the motto of the teacher of the bullies was basically if you have any mercy, you are weak. Fight until someone cannot get up. Yes, you remember that correctly. These boys are 12.

I guess, it was possible to believe that the fights on the street got nasty. But even in competition these boys were giving blows to the face and trying to maim their competition. They were more like MMA fighters than 12 year olds learning martial arts and competing in a respectful manner. It did not give a great impression of martial arts training in China. Dre’s teacher did say that there were no bad students only bad teachers. But still. The whole premise of the fighting was that these boys were out for blood and trained to be so.

There were just too many missing pieces in the plot. Not enough of a front story. Not enough of what we loved about the first movie – the training sessions and the growth of the character. And a very predictable ending – which had to be predictable because it is after all a remake of the Karate Kid. I can forgive it the ending – and, no, I was not crying at the end. The theater was extremely humid.

Call backs…………..

My youngest daughter crawled into bed with me last night. I snuggled next to her and brushed a few hairs away from her face. She looked so peaceful and I wondered if this was the day that our lives would change entirely. Forever.

I got  a call back on my mammogram. They wanted to see me again. Earlier this week, I went in for my yearly exam. I have been going since I was 35. A great grandmother, a great Aunt, and an Aunt with breast cancer will send you to the big squeeze a littler sooner than later. I have never been called back. I have always checked that box and moved quickly on. That was, until this week. Until the summer that I am moving across the globe away from my entire support network (only minus my husband and kids).

It seems there was some extra tissue showing up on my left breast. Not enough to increase my cup size – just enough for a follow-up squish. If they had said it was on my arse, I would have believed them immediately – but seriously, extra tissue there? Not exactly the phone call you want to get. Ever.

Of course, it was the scheduling receptionist who called me to let me know. She had no (helpful) answers. Just available time slots and locations. Next week. As in 6 days and a weekend later. As in no answers later.

Yeah, that is not going to work for me. Something about moving back out of the country soon (8,000 miles away) and hoping for answers sooner than later. Her final offer – call back tomorrow – maybe something will open up. Okay then. I will call back tomorrow.

Honestly, I almost forgot to call back. I was distracted with a day at the water park with my kids and our neighborhood swim team and my dad’s birthday and my aunt and my cousin visiting. Dinner out with my family. Fun. Full of life things. Luckily on Friday it all worked out and I got to go in (again) before the weekend.

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep great last night – except for snuggling with an Angel – it was not that peaceful of a night. I try to be good and not worry about something until I know what to worry about – but it is hard impossible not to imagine the possibilities. I saw my daughter sleeping next to me and wondered what she was dreaming about – I wondered if I would see her high school graduation, her wedding. A little dramatic, sure. But a possibility. Ick. I also thought about not being sick. And prayed for strength whatever happened.

Anymammo, I was given an “overbook” appointment which meant there was a. very. very. good. chance. I would have to wait for a. very. long. time. It turned out that I didn’t have to wait that long. The technician was great. She informed me that I would absolutely talk to a doctor before I left. I would leave with answers. I still don’t know if that made me feel better or worse. I have done this too many times to know that needing to see the doctor is not a great sign. While she was doing my exam, I saw my original film up on the light board. With a big circle around it at the top of my boob. That made me feel worse. It wasn’t that they did not get a good image and just needed to redo it – there was really something there. Circled nonetheless. With my name on it.

And the picture confirmed that my boobs are sagging. Well at least my left boob is. Just as an aside – really – if you are little bitty – you should not also have to sag. I am just saying – really, it’s not that fair. Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know, life ain’t fair.

When the technician was done, she told me again that I would see the doctor. Before I left. Today. I might also need a sonogram. I was torn between asking her a litany of questions and not wanting to know one more detail. Luckily for me, I have a couple of friends who have made it to the sonogram phase of a mammogram screening and still managed to walk out of the door minus a diagnosis of cancer. So, I did not completely panic. I was sent back to the waiting room. And waited.

And waited some more. With a lot of other women in gowns that opened in the front. I think we were all pretending and trying to be totally engrossed in our reading waiting material while our stomachs churned and our minds wandered and wondered.

I mean seriously, there is a room full of women – statistics are sure to say that at least some of us were in danger – who’s to say who it would be? We looked and did not look at each other and flipped empty pages.

Meanwhile, my husband called me with questions about what was happening at my appointment. When I did not have any answers yet, he moved on to questions about coming here to be with me and questions about school and questions about moving within India and questions about renting our house in America and holy crap – too many questions – I know he was nervous. Unfortunately, he was talking to the newly appointed President of the Nervous Club – the mammogram chapter. He was also probably trying to distract me. But distraction would not come easily today. They called my name and I hung up on him. Gotta go honey. Sometimes life needs to just happen one question at a time. Today I needed one question at a time.

The nurse walking me back simply said – you are getting a sonogram. You will see the radiologist. This way please. She did not look at me. That did not help.

I waited in the dark room by myself for about 10 minutes. And came up with a whole new set of possibilities. Some good. Some not so great. The radiologist walked in and introduced herself. She was lovely. Very soft spoken. Very gentle. Very aware that I had by passed nervous about 2 days ago and moved straight on to wondering what the possibilities really were.

She said something about not being worried. About me? Yes, about you. I started breathing again. Out loud. Deeply. In sync with myself. Finally. Whew.

Apparently, I had a spot on the original mammogram. (Oh yes, I might have seen something about that in the other room – you mean the one with the. big. circle. around. it – and MY. name. on. it? I was a little distracted by this machine squishing me and by me not sure I wanted to know all the scoop – can you fill me in on the details, please?) That’s what was in the circle. A suspicious spot. But that spot did not show up today. Something about compression. She did the sonogram just to be sure. I am now clear for another year.

I am not unaffected though. I am reminded that life can change in an instant. It can come and go so quickly. Without notice.

Last night I was careful not to pray for selfish things like health. I did not want to be unrealistic. A prayer would not change what might already be. So, I just asked for strength. Whatever happened. Strength. I found it, and was blessed with a side dish of health, and I am grateful for it. Every ounce of it.

Please do the needful……..

This is the sticky note that number one hubby gets on his desk sometimes. “Please do the needful.” It really means – do this or, usually, sign this. But the Indian people seem so polite that they almost make it sound poetic. Maybe it makes you want to be more helpful.

When I call India, I call through an operator. S/he is always so polite – “please be on the line, please hold the line”. Really, no wonder we sought out the Indian people for call centers!

So, I am looking forward to hearing all the different ways that English can be used. It makes me slow down and listen too – I need to do that. Accents can be heavy – and I am sure they will feel the same about mine. But I cannot wait to hear and maybe even adopt some of their expressions.

One other thing that was very fun to see was this…

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If this is how they treat t-shirts, imagine how they treat people. These are my husband’s t-shirts – I am sorry, undershirts. They aren’t even t-shirts. And they are treated with such care. Yes, you are seeing this correctly – they are indeed wrapped in clear plastic, with clips and cardboard support. Believe you me, they do not look like that when I wash them! India, here we come!

My own personal post it note also says “please do the needful.” I am off to pack. Ta Ta for Now. And yes, Please hold the line.

Brace yourself………

You are only a few days away from actually hearing about India – but in the meantime – here is what happened today.

I am in the process of finally admitting that we are leaving the country in 12 days. Yes, 12 days. Have I packed anything you ask – ummmmm. Translation – not so much. Well, that is until today.

Today I went on an errand spree. It was my own little game show – Six stores in 3 hours or less. Find as many things on sale as possible. Only buy what (you think) you might truly need. Don’t knock anyone over in my rush to rush. Get the best parking spot every time – because it is freezing here! I did it and I made it home in (just enough) time to be at the bus stop. Before the bus actually stopped there. Whew. After that, I managed to pack 3 boxes. At this rate, I might just be ready.

Anypack, while I was out, I went to several public restrooms. (Nope, I do not have a new career as a bathroom inspector – I just happen to drink a lot of diet dr. pepper – and, well, what goes in must come out.) Every single one of them had a stall I would not go in. Why you ask. Oh you know why. Because there are women out there who think it is okay to spray the seat and leave it that way. I guess it’s their own little game show. A sort of bathroom roullette. Take aim – or not. It’s like they were all trying to make a spirograph of the liquid persuasion. I completely understand why you don’t want to sit. However. Can you stop doing that? Seriously.

Just in case you are wondering………..

Queso has a place to go for the next four months. Thank you Chris and family! This makes me very happy – even more sad – and very, very thankful. If I ever re-open the doors to A Reason To Write – you will have free cards for life. Queso Peso – I am going to really, really miss you. Maybe you can start a blog so I can keep up with what you are doing. I know, I know, it’s hard to type with paws. Sigh.

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This arrived yesterday. I heart Orvis. Yes, that was (extremely) fast. They are serious about this whole keeping the customer happy thing. They mean it.

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United Airlines has not responded to my email. I do not heart United Airlines. One suitcase has arrived in Delhi. That’s great – except – wait for it – number one hubby left the U.S. with two suitcases. I was no math major but I am still pretty sure that one plus zero does NOT equal two or 🙂 me.

United Airlines in Delhi would like to meet with Number One Hubby. They are very concerned about our experience. (Remember they tried to help us – it was their sister station in the U.S. that was more than unhelpful.) I am sincerely impressed with their concern.

Our passports arrived today with our Visas. It looks like Delhi (India) will allow live humans into the country.

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My children discovered that my laptop has a camera. This was because I waited to take a picture of my new sweater until after they got home from school. That was (not) a brilliant move.

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Left to their own devices, my children are perfectly capable of entertaining themselves – without killing each other and without the assistance of electronics. Ripley’s might actually believe it – or not – so I took a picture. Please notice nothing is plugged in and everyone is alive.

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This is what my cats think of their future trip to India. I am exploring the possibility of them riding under the seat with us on the plane. I wonder, do they make kitty diapers? They must. If not, maybe I can invent them.

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I have been spoiled by my blogging friends who are both funny and write well. Not all blog writers are creative equally. Some are really bad. And they have books published. This bothers me on a number of levels. Someone is making them think they are good, so now they are going to continue writing. I have not figured out what to write a book about (details) or how to get this unwritten masterpiece published. More details. But I really, really want to. Isn’t that enough? Maybe I should be encouraged. If she can do it…….   And, nope, I won’t tell you who they/she are/is because she has gotten enough attention already. I will give you a hint – she is not on my blogroll and she is not nice. So even if someone kindly sprinkles magic writing dust on her and she suddenly gets all Shakesperian on me she still will not appear on my blogroll. That’s how I choose to impose my own little poetic justice.

Apparently my -ER friend does have time to read my blog after all. Well, let me be fair, her two-year-old most likely read it to her while she was baking 500 dozen homemade (decorated by hand) sugar cookies for the school bake sale. And, yes, she will buy them all back – she is generous like that. Anybake, she called me yesterday. Holy moly you say – oh, have no fear. None whatsoever. She thought it was hysterical – who is she, she asked? Oh yes she did. She asked who it was. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she is (nearly) famous. She knew it wasn’t her because she HATES people like that. That really makes me laugh. A lot of people have asked me how I think of things to write about. Oh the heavens rain ideas upon me all the time. It really isn’t hard – with friends like this, who needs life experience. I can write vicariously through the insanity of others. Thank you writing gods! And, please keep it coming.

We interrupt this blog for an important bulletin…..

For a number of reasons, the kids and I will now be leaving for India right around February 1.

Cool Rider……..

Grease was a great movie – but Grease 2 now that is a classic. Michelle Pfieffer probably does not brag about playing Stephanie Zinone but she was great and I love, love, loved the song “Cool Rider”. We even played it at our last birthday party. Cooooool Rider, cool, cool, cool, rider…………………..

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Number One Hubby used to own a motorcycle. It was pretty cool – as far as motorcycles go. And I know he would admit that I did not give him a hard time about owning, or for that matter, riding it. He actually spent more time working on it than riding it. He’s a smart guy – he took the whole thing apart – sent parts out to be chromed, painted, and jazzed up in one way or another. Then, by his lonesome, put the whole thing back together. Amazing. Very impressive.

Oh yeah – there was the one little issue with the brakes – but he got that fixed. Apparently, he didn’t quite put those together exactly right. Details.

I even rode on it ONCE (before he took it apart). However, I am not a big fan of my kids parents both being on a motorcycle at the same time. Call me boring – but it’s just not worth it. So you can imagine how I feel about moving to India right at this moment.

Still no decisions…

One potato, two potatoes, three potatoes, four…

Remember when decisions were that easy? When you had to make choices, you just had to know how many pieces of bubble gum someone wished. And “olly olly oxen free” meant everyone was safe. It was that simple. We’re done playing, it’s getting dark, time for dinner – olly olly oxen free. And if that didn’t work, there was the famous 8 ball – it knew everything. (And, the best part was, if you didn’t like the answer – just shake it again.)

Okay – I just went on Wikipedia to make sure I was spelling Olly Olly Oxen Free right and found this out…

The exact origin of the phrase is unknown, but etymologists suspect it is a childish corruption of the German “Alle, alle auch sind frei!”, (literally, “Everyone, everyone also is free!”), which is purported to have been a cruel joke often played upon Holocaust victims by their jailers. At any particular time, a prisoner might be released, immediately upon which the phrase would be shouted. Any other prisoners who also left would be killed further down the road by Nazi soldiers.

Again, I just don’t know what to say.

Back to my dilemma. Number One Hubby and I have had a few discussions. We didn’t make any real progress. I am more aware of geography, politics, religion, and conflict than I ever imagined I would be. I am actually reading the newspaper now. I learned how to share the evil of the world with my sweet children without scaring the beejesus out of them. And I still do not know what to do.

P.S. and, yes, I tried the 8 ball – it just keeps getting stuck on an edge – no help whatsoever.

For every cloud, there is a silver lining…

from juniper images

from juniper images

Apparently I have given some of you the wrong impression. I have gotten quite a few comments about how unexcited I am for our new adventure. I blog to differ. Just in case you don’t know me, I am a smarty pants. Most of this is sarcasm. Oh sure, and there is a bridge for sale in Brooklyn. I know. But seriously, I have found the silver lining around some of the clouds that I thought were pretty dark and I wanted to share them with you…

For example…

Cloud:
I have had to pretty much give up my handmade card business – A Reason To Write – pretty hard to do craft shows on weekends with 3 kids playing two sports and a husband out of the country.

Silver Lining:
But now I have started blogging and am LOVING it – I have not put pen to paper in a long, long time – this is definitely a silver lining. My parents might actually see some return on their investment in my college education after all. Maybe I’ll go for my masters – yeah, probably not. No need to get carried away.

Cloud:
I am that mom that will cook chicken nuggets, mac n cheese, and pasta for every meal. Life is short and I don’t have the energy to fight over food. And, just to spice it up a little – sometimes I will throw in a happy meal. I aim to please.

Silver Lining:
Now, I have decided to expose my children and their tastebuds to new adventures too – just in case they don’t exactly cater to the spoiled conservative American 11/9/7-year-old palate in India. My kids have now tried lasagna, stroganoff, apricot chicken, and homemade cheeseburgers. And, the best part, therapy will not be needed at a later date – these new flavors did not cause any traumas. They survived. I did take it slow –  I have not exactly delved in to the vegetable world – but give me time. (As a bonus, I learned how to spell stroganoff.)

Cloud:
I joined Facebook and I think I might have run out of friends to add. At least I have not discovered any new ones lately.

Silver Lining:
Hey, wait just one minute, I am moving to a country with a billion people. I can out-friend my American friends in no time. Oh the possibilities. Surely, somewhere in a country with a billion people I can find a few new friends. Easy now – remember there are some rhetorical statements here. No comments necessary on this one. 😎

Cloud:
About a week after hubby left, my entire computer system crashed. Remember, I own a stationery company and make everything myself – oh yeah, and I use the computer every now and then (translation – ALL THE TIME) to do it- AUGH! Cloud – big cloud. At the time, it felt like a full-blown nuclear explosion cloud.

Silver Lining:
But now, I have laptop that I can take with me every where I go – even to India. And, I updated a lot of my software – apparently a lot happens in the software world in seven years. Apparently, they fixed all the things that had been frustrating me – who knew? Big Fat Silver Lining.

Cloud:
I am going to miss my friends terribly.

Silver Lining:
But, now I am making plans for lunch, dinner, and shopping with most of them. I am seeing them more than I probably would have normally. I have even reconnected some people who weren’t my biggest fans.

Cloud:
No Target and Costco or even Walmart.

Silver Lining:
No Target and Costco or even Walmart. Think about packing up a house full of junk from Target, Walmart, and Costco and you realize you don’t need a lot of junk from Target, Costco, and Walmart.

Cloud:
I am not a big fan of 6th grade math and I have had to spend a lot of time with 6th grade math because Number One Hubby AND his mathematical mind/accounting degree are out of the country.

Silver Lining:
Bear and I have gotten to spend some time together figuring out 6th grade math and he still has a good grade in it (Mr. Beasley would be so proud). Whew. Thank God we are moving before Bear moves on to 7th grade math. I will not be downsized just yet – outsourced, yes, downsized, not so much.

The Facebook Phenomena – Won’t you be my neighbor…

Not so long ago, I ran into a former  roommate when I was out walking. FYI – when I say “former roommate” that is a hint to you that it did not end well. Hush – don’t tell.

Seeing her was qutie a surprise – partly because I have not seen her in a really long time – remember it didn’t end so well – and partly because, if she is walking near my neighborhood, that must mean – wait for it – she LIVES near my neighborhood. Oh good.

I was out with a couple of my friends (yes, I do have a few left) when I saw her. They were very impressed with how happy she was to see me – you could see the “note to self” look on their faces. Priceless.

It was actually nice to see her – I am not great at holding grudges – and she had a new little baby – and she looked good. Plus, I’m really not sure I could even tell you exactly why we have not spoken in forever. Clearly she remembered – maybe it was something I did -Hmmm. Nope, I still cannot remember.

Anywho – so, I said, “Oh my gosh, hi, it’s me – me.”

To which she said, “yeah, I know who you are.” Which made me feel good in a way – because we lived together for pete’s sake and if she didn’t remember me – she might need to seek medical attention for the early stages of alzheimers. And, then, she pretty much just kept walking.

Translation – if SHE is walking near my house, that must mean she LIVES near my house. Oh good.

Well, I recently joined the Facebook Revolution and saw her name there. So, just for giggles, I added her as a friend. She accepted. (Now don’t going logging onto my Facebook page to try to figure out who I am talking about – you won’t be able to. It does not say by her picture – uh oh, you caught me, I am the one who was walking by HER neighborhood.)

So what is the etiquette here? Do I send her a note  or wait for her to make the first move? Maybe she knows I am moving to India and thinks it’s safe to be my friend now. Maybe she wants to throw me a bon voyage party. Oh good.

Update – she wrote me today – maybe she doesn’t actually remember either – maybe Alzheimers is setting in – or maybe she just doesn’t care anymore – but it was good to hear from her. She was very sweet in her email. We’re still neighbors  – and who knows  – maybe we’ll become friends again. I mean, how mad can I make her from the other side of the planet. And yes – that was a rhetorical question. 😎