Thursday, June 30, 2011


Ethan, "Mom, are you coming to the pool with us?"

Me, "No, buddy, I've got some things I need to do and I'm going to try to go to the chiropractor because my back hurts."

Ethan, "Aww, mommy's getting sick!"

Me, "No, I'm not getting sick, I just . . ."

Ethan, "Aww, mommy's getting old!"

Ouch kiddo - and not just my back! :)

A Pleasant Change

I have been wondering what the kids think of being back in the States, and last night our ever-thoughtful Ethan told me. His main observation is that people in America are friendlier. He said, "In America, people say hello to you, and if they bump into you, they say 'Excuse me' but in China people just ignore you. Why is that?"

I talked about how there are SO many people in China that if you tried to say hello to everyone you pass or tried to say excuse me to everyone you bump you'd be saying one or the other all the time. And in true Ethan fashion he replied with, "But WHY don't people say it?"

I confess I have noticed this as well, and it's a pleasant change. I've been walking/running about 6 miles every other morning. During the course of that time, I only see about 10-20 people total, but every one of them says something to me (and none of them bump into me, but I'm sure they would say "excuse me" if they did). This morning I even had someone wave to me from across the street as she ran by. That's true Minnesota for you.

One of many cultural differences we're encountering here in the US.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New York, New York

If I had gone to New York as a teenager, I might have had a different life.

I finally got around to spending a few days in the Big Apple last week with my oldest (as in "longest amount of time") dearest friend. And, not to sound too overdramatic (although it IS New York, so I think I have some artistic license here) the city put a spell on me.

I suppose it's because of several things - a) I'm a sucker for theater/drama/performing arts of all kinds, b) I love history and places that have that historical feel to them, c) without kids we were free to wander and explore and therefore get a more local feel for it, and d) I've grown accustomed to living in big cities and therefore feel quite comfortable in them.

But mostly it was a. Growing up, I was involved in a LOT of community theater, hence my feeling that if I had traveled to New York during that time and seen the possibilities to make a life in that environment, I might have given it a shot.

In other words, I might now be a starving artist living in my car.

We crammed a lot of experience into three and a half days, so I'll try to just give you some highlights/observations:

1. New Yorkers are really friendly and polite and helpful. I have to admit this was a pleasant surprise.
2. I didn't expect to see so many Asians. Most of them were speaking their own languages. I'm not sure if it was because they were tourists or just retaining their culture. I kind of hope it's the latter.
3. Manhattan is quite navigable north/south by subway, but not east/west.
4. The subway there makes the subways in Asia look futuristic.
5. We saw Daniel Radcliffe! And Lee Pace! And some guy I know is famous but I don't remember his name or anything he's been in!
6. It is possible to have huge crowds of people waiting for things and to retain order, courtesy and queues. Asia, take note.
7. The Tenement Museum tour in the Lower East Side was awesome.
8. I think I would go to a Broadway show every night if I could afford to. We saw How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Billy Elliot.
9. Pinkberry, why aren't you in my hometown?
10. There is a shocking lack of public bathrooms in Manhattan.
11. Why can't all buildings be made of brick?
12. I love the diversity of the people in NY. I'm more comfortable when I'm the minority.
13. Central Park makes me want to run.
14. I now understand where the 5 boroughs are in relation to one another and am excited to have a context for understanding TV shows set in New York.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Welcome back Gina

It's time to start talking weather again, because I haven't done so in ever so long. I think every other post of mine in Singapore was about the weather, but if you've been there you know why.

I just would like to note that Minnesota Nice is alive and well as evidenced by the forecast. Apparently my home state knows that we have been pegging the thermostat out at over 90 every day here for a little while, and I would like a little respite. So while it's uncharacteristic for this time of year (nay, even record setting) Minnesota is following suite with plus 90 temps through Wednesday, then dropping a massive 25 degrees for our arrival on Thursday, when it proposes to be 65 and raining. It will continue to hover in the 70's for our first few days there. It's like it's saying, "Welcome back, Gina. We've missed you then, dontcha know."

Friday, June 03, 2011


I started recording some of my thankful thoughts on my phone since I don't always have my little notebook with me. I hadn't realized how much I was dividing thoughts between the two, and how long it had been since I posted any. So here are the ones from my phone which span over the last month or so.

618. Clouds
619. The feeling of knowing I got the camera shot I wanted
620. A walk in the woods without predicted rain
621. Seeing it rain minutes after I came back
622. Spontaneous time with a great friend
623. Finishing a six year long writing project to the tune of 70,000+ words and 170 pages
624. Giggly moments with Megan
625. Easter (yeah, this list goes back awhile!)
626. Singing In Christ Alone
627. Witnessing our friends' children be baptized
628. A picnic outside with friends
629. More co-workers for my husband
630. Watching little girls play "fairy clubhouse" where flowers are food and tiles are treasures
631. Laughing so hard we cry
632. a stool offered me by a stranger
633. The smell of soy and dark vinegar that will always remind me of China
634. Candied walnuts I never knew you could buy here
635.Working with the best quality people I know
636. Gentle discipline from God
637. Fernando Ortega scoring my mornings
638. Rediscovering how much I love long walks
639. Lazy days
640. 6 days until we hit American soil
641. The world made smaller through friendships with fellow workers in places like Budapest