April 2007


So here how it goes. Following the menopausal change, my mum developed a major behavioural problem – she believes my father is cheating on her. She suspects almost every woman they know of trying to seduce him (this includes our neighbours, my mum’s widowed sister, and my dad’s niece). At some point she also had a theory that my dad had a girlfriend – a Bulgarian prostitute. I have no idea how he would have managed to conduct an illicit affair since my mum doesn’t let him out of her sight and follows him everywhere. I’m also not sure where the Bulgarian angle comes from, and what language she’d communicate with my dad. My dad is seventy, bold and suffers from heart problems.

A couple of years ago, on Xmas day, my mum read a very silly horoscope “who you were in your past life”. According to that horoscope my dad was a Renaissance nobleman who loved women and parties. To my mum this was a proof that she was right all along. (My sister and I checked who our mum had been in the previous life. Turned out she was…. a Genghis khan’s soldier). So here we were, having a family dinner on this most important night in Christian tradition. My mum sat in silence refusing to talk to my dad. The rest of us actually had a blast. We got happily drunk and ignored mum’s poignant silence. My dad was sticking his tongue at my mum and saying “blah…. you Genghis khan!!” This was the last Xmas I spent at home – following year I went to Mexico!”

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This past week, I cracked open my old photographs, contained in five, bulging 3-ring binders. Each roll of film’s negatives were meticulously labeled within plastic, and its corresponding proof sheet following it. It is the sum of most of my photography, at least in terms of black and white, slide, and medium format film. There’s a scattering of land polaroids. And prints made in the darkroom. Plus some old newspaper reviews and programmes. It was a part of me that I’d not bothered looking at for many, many years. And now, being older, I expected more out of myself. But here was a collection of fledgling experimentation. No idea fully developed.
I started my photography when Mrs. Mealiffe, my high school art teacher, placed her Rollei 35 in the palm of my upturned right hand, and I felt it’s comforting weight. I’ll never really know what Mrs. Mealiffe thought of me, for her chin was uplifted slightly, all a mixture of part slyness, part pride, part dare. Or perhaps that was my reading of her expression. Mrs. Mealiffe planted the seed.
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I’m helping a friend move this week.

This is a 26-year-old friend I met last summer when I moved to Seattle and immediately signed up for kickball. (I’ve met some great friends through co-ed kickball). He’s never helped me move, and I hope he won’t have to. When he thanks me – as he has repeatedly – for helping pack up kitchen supplies and carry liquor bottles to the car, I think, “don’t thank me.”

It’s “thanks” to all those friends who helped me move five times in the past couple of years. Those friends I’ll never have a chance to repay because, well, they’re in their 30s and are far more responsible than I am. They are “settled down.” They own homes. They’re starting families. They have enough money to hire movers. They are responsible.

Not me. Not anymore. My ex-husband and I owned a few homes. We had professional movers once. But I’ve regressed. Now I’m a uHaul-and-friends kind of mover, with the promise of pizza and beer at the end of the day.

About 1 1/2 years ago, I relied on family and friends to move me out of my house – fast – once I found out my husband had an affair. And then six months later, they moved me out of my apartment. In the blazing July Midwestern heat, they helped me store furniture, sell off many items and take numerous loads to Goodwill. And then they helped pack my little car, which took me to Seattle with the fewest positions I’ve had in a decade.

Someday I’ll get to the point where I’m paying it forward again. But until then, I have some karma-catching-up to do.

Can I count moving as my exercise for the day? Sadly, my arms are kinda sore ….

Lola, 32, Seattle

This boat is sitting outside of my house. Okay, not really like in my yard or anything, but it is right off-shore from my village on Lamma Island.

Paul Allen's Octopus

It is Paul Allen’s super yacht, the Octopus. While I did not take this photo (thank you Wikipedia) I have one of equally close range. This thing is amazing. Apparently it cost around US$200,000,000 and the running costs are approximatley ten percent of that annually. It is gigantic and huge and has three helicopter pads on it. It also has a remote controlled submarine.

Anyhow, none of this is all that important, but I thought I would share my view with you.

Paul Allen has a kick ass boat.

Amanda, 36, Hong Kong

I’m a funny person. Everyone tells me this. I like it when people around me are laughing, and I like it even more when I’m the one who caused them to laugh. So it concerns me that all of my posts here have been of a serious and introspective nature. You guys probably think I’m the quiet scholastic type. No fun to be around. Not up for serious amounts of debauchery.

And then I wonder if the reason you think that is because that’s who I’ve become.

I am 34, not 84, and I’m reclaiming my right to drink all night and laugh all day.

Melissa, 34, Antalya

library-3496.jpg
A little over 8 years ago, i went through the process of choosing the best adoptive parents for my baby (who i already *knew* was a boy).

it was not a decision i came to lightly or easily, and despite everyone in my family’s thoughts, it was not the selfish decision. it was the hardest and best thing that i have ever done. i was young. i had not accumulated much in this world. i was not with the man who had impregnated me & he had preferred abortion. alone, i chose an adoption lawyer. alone, i quit smoking and changed my diet. and alone, i sat in the floor every week and looked at the profiles that were sent to me, created by the couples who wanted to adopt my baby.

i met them for lunch and they were as perfect as i had thought. i talked to them more. brunch again. and then i decided. yes, them. they were older…which to me was perfect, their marriage had lasted. they had survived things. he was finishing up his residency in medical school after having been in the Navy for years. they had lived abroad. they had large families, tons of nieces and nephews. they had pets. they had savings and investments. they had a nice home. they had everything that would give him what i could not…an advantage in this world.

we had brunch every Sunday. i met their families, their friends. they were worried…this had happened before, more than once, and then the girl had changed her mind. he warned her not to get too close. she didn’t listen. i told them that whatever else i am, i am a girl of my decisions. not to worry, that i would be okay. i asked her to be my lamaze coach and we blew that class after the first one (that lady teaching was taken aback at who we were to each other). they came with me to doctor’s appointments and couldn’t believe that they had found a birth mother who was healthy, working, had insurance, wasn’t doing drugs or smoking, was intelligent and articulate. they were happy. i was a mix of happy & sad. ready to get it over with and wanting it to go on for forever.

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If you do I would love to know.

I live in Hong Kong.
I live here because I honestly did (do) not know how to end relationships.
Now I am here and trying to deal with life in a basically optimistic way.
And it is okay. Life seems alright.  I seem alright.

I received a reply from an email I sent to my ex– I had been trying to make contact for a while as we (I?) messed up our break-up a lot over the course of it… And he said this:

You are without a doubt in my opinion the worst human being I have ever come across; a calculating, lying, thief.

And suddenly it made me wonder. Is it true? Does someone else know me better than I thought I did?

There are a million sides to every story. That being said… I wonder if I can just bounce back?

As we try to make our way through the world if our intentions are benevolent does it matter? Does it count for anything? I guess I can only hope so…  Because I really want to bounce back from this one…

Amanda, 36, Hong Kong

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