I Miss Sweet Potatoes

Reaching over, the parents handed steaming hot, half peeled sweet potatoes to their children. One for each.  Their kids, actually, growing teenagers, grabbed the sweet potatoes with huge smiles and bit into them, steam hitting their faces.

“Wah! I really miss sweet potatoes!” I declared, watching that TV scene. It reminded me so much of my family. “Did you ever eat sweet potatoes with your parents growing up?” I nudged my husband.

“Huh? No,” he continued reading. He didn’t bother looking up from his book, sitting beside me as I watched a Kdrama.

“Ahhh… but I love sweet potatoes,” I sighed.

Growing up, Continue reading

When Little Buds Bloom

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Bern, Switzerland ~ May 2015

“Is it going to hurt?” she asked.

“Mmm… it is a needle,” I answered. I like to keep things real, especially when it comes to pain. “But you can think of others things.”

“Like Hawaii,” her little sister pitched, as she watched me near her big sister on the exam table.

“Ahh.. yesss.. like Hawaii,” I affirmed. Funny how she’d suggest that, while we were in the dead of winter. I lifted her sleeve to get ready to give the vaccine.

“You’ve been to Hawaii,” she chipped in.

I gasped. Continue reading

Six Precious Words

you never know what comes through that door... (photo from Italy, 2014)

you never know what will come through that door…
(photo from Italy, 2014)

A knock on the door interrupted my lunch.

“Soapie? They’re calling downstairs. Someone can’t breathe.”

Standing up, I swallowed my last bite then flew down the stairs.

Sweat dripped down his pale face. His chest heaved up and down, as if he were struggling to carry a boulder in his arms. Continue reading

The Liebster Award / Four Times Around the Sun

This morning, I discovered a pleasant surprise.

It was snowing.

With dizzying speed, the snowflakes closest to me skydived from the clouds. They crashed upon our patio, sometimes pressing upon the glass right before me, revealing intricate designs that only our Maker could create.

My eyes wandered up, towards the trees. As the winds blew, it carried the snowflakes tenderly in its arms.  Why did it seem so peaceful, in this perspective? It was like seeing snowfall for the first time, breathing in the sheer breadth of its beauty, as the whiteness shimmered across the expanse of the landscape. Like a male lead with his gentle but firm hand behind her back, the wind guided, and the snowflakes followed, in a delicate waltz.

Life has been a frenzy for me, the past few weeks, like those snowflakes crashing right in front of my eyes, aiming for the ground. Oh how dearly I need to pause, take a step back, to reflect upon the bigger picture.  I could see myself as one snowflake falling towards doom, or as one amongst many, performing my part in a grand waltz.

Let’s dance. =)

~ ~ ~

I’m humbled and honored to have been chosen by Lani at Life, the Universe, and Lani for the Liebster Award.  With witty humor, sincere storytelling, and a unique voice, she writes about working and living in Thailand. Continue reading

Sweet Autumn Mornings

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autumn mornings, new england. october, 2014.

Glimpsing beyond the shutters, one eye half open, I gasped in awe.

Breaking through the clouds, a radiant light shone upon the trees. Its autumn leaves basked in the sun, reflecting a golden hue.  The last time I saw the sun magnify like that was during a chilly November in Versailles, France. When the sun’s rays shone upon the palace exterior at sunset, the rich yellow walls melted into a luminous gold.

I had a piece of Versailles outside my window.  Continue reading

Missing Mom and 井底之蛙 (Frog in a Well)

Mom taught my BIL, my sis, and I how to play Mah Jong. Pong!

Mom taught my brother-in-law, my sis, and I how to play Mah Jong. Pong!

It’s been 2 years since Mom, my mother-in-law, passed away.

Missing her is a constant feeling. Walking down the street, when the flowers are plucked off the trees and carried in the wind, I smile as I think of her.  Other days, I’m overcome by waves of sadness.  Like last weekend, at my sister’s wedding. Seeing my sister get married to my now brother-in-law filled me with unspeakable joy. But when I thought about Mom, how much she loved them both, and how she would’ve wanted to celebrate with us, my chest ached.

I cannot count all the things I miss about Mom. I miss her cheerfulness, how it filled the room with sunshine, even if the curtains were drawn.  I miss her enthusiasm to try new things, like toasted squid in Tai O Fishing Village (in Hong Kong), butter and garlic crawfish (one of the last meals we shared before she died), and embracing the cold to go whale watching (during a chilly New England autumn). I miss her presence, even if she was asleep or quietly watching tv, how it brought so much comfort.  I miss her cooking skills that introduced the vibrant flavors of Hong Kong home cookin’ into my life. I am so thankful for her, how she accepted me, how she loved me like I was one of her own, how she embraced me despite my flaws, how she welcomed me into her family from the very beginning.

But it’s what Mom taught me, that stays with me the most.

In memory of Mom, I wanted to reblog an old lesson she taught me: the Chinese proverb about the frog in the well. Continue reading