Tag Archives: family

Give Mom The Greatest Gift Of All

Let me give a disclaimer that I have other blog posts in draft mode that are much more meaningful than the following.  But this is time-sensitive.  I got this email on Friday before Mother’s Day.  I think it’s past time to unsubscribe from special offers.  Seriously, people.

My favorite part might be “Your mother wants what’s best for you. And we do too.” Or, “Warmly…”

A new low.

And I’m perfectly happy getting my mom her yearly membership to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens every year for Mother’s Day.  🙂  We like it there.

Mom, Abby, and me


12 days of thanksgiving

I’ve been wanting to write here again and have had bursts of inspiration that never amounted to actual writing.  But what better way to start again than with the 12 days of Thanksgiving?  I have a lot to be thankful for this year, and I’ve already missed the first few days of my made-up 12 days.  So I’ll jump right in.

1.  Family

Yes, I know super-predictable, but would you keep reading the next 9 days if I started with my quirkiest one?  I’ve gotten to see them a lot this year, with J’s graduation and Dad’s birthday, too.  We have a lot of fun together, and especially enjoy watching the kiddo run around and do all the things cute toddlers do.  Here’s a shot of my immediate family when they all came to visit Austin a few weeks ago.

And I’ve been super blessed to get to visit extended family twice in Hong Kong this last year.  I loved being able to spend  time with my many aunts, uncles, and cousins – I miss them!

2.  Friends

You know who you are – and with apologies to the facebook folks, it’s not all y’all.  🙂    I’m talking about the ones (past and present, near and far) with whom I’ve laughed, cried, prayed, stayed up late, shared amazing meals, lived life, goofed off,  and more.  Perhaps another time I’ll write a longer tribute to friendship.  For now, I’ll get up to speed for today (Saturday) for #3…

3.  Good Health

I know, it’s another common one – but there’s a reason for that, right?  I’ve had more than my fair share of weird medical things, and this year I added to that list with anaphylactic shock and an ambulance ride to the ER.  In the recovery time, I was also super-grateful to my community here in Austin that looked out for me.  They brought food, kept me company, cheered me up, and helped me get stuff while I was laid up on the couch.

There’s nothing like a good scare to remind us how thankful we should be.  I’d love to hear (or read in the comments) what aspects of your family, friends, and health you’re thankful for!

Now off to go figure out days 4-12 of thanksgiving.

(now listening:  Rob Thomas – Someday)

what to say

I’m struggling with writer’s wave – there are so many possible things to write about it feels overwhelming.  How do I communicate so many feelings, experiences, and sensory experiences in just a few paragraphs?

Answer:  I don’t.  (A picture is worth a thousand words, right?)

But first, a few words:

1. It’s impossible to explain how great it is to be around extended family again.  My heart is full from the joy of being with them.

2. It’s great to know that my language skills haven’t deteriorated, in fact, I think they’ve gotten better from watching Cantonese dramas online!

3. And I’ve gotten to share all this with my sister, brother-in-law, and ever-awesome niece.

we like walking around malls

we like walking around malls

hanging out with my cousin a lot!

hanging out with my cousin a lot!

It was great to overlap in Hong Kong with Janna’s visit here.  One day we went back to Tao Fong Shan for a little retreat time.

at tao fong shan

view from the foot of the cross at tao fong shan

The next day, we ended up eating our way around town.  First, some sushi.

sushi is confusing sometimes

sushi is confusing sometimes

We need some help identifying the following item – apparently it did not taste so good.  Any experts out there?

unidentifed sushi.  please help!

unidentifed sushi. please help!

This next item is identified, and super-yummy.  Hui Lau Shan mango stuff.

dessert.  yum.

dessert. yum.

A little after this, we went and had early afternoon tea – nai cha and french toast.  YUM!  Then, we got a chance to visit the Fellowship of Evangelical Students (FES) office in Hong Kong… We got to chat with Carlson and Maureen, some amazing staff. And then as we were getting ready to leave, Gideon Yung happened to come by too.  He is the former IFES East Asia General Secretary who recently became the IFES Associate General Secretary.  (!)  It was fun to chat with all of the staff – super down-to-earth and encouraging to be around.

surprise meeting - Ting, Wesley, Janna, me, and Gideon Yung

surprise meeting - Ting, Wesley, Janna, me, and Gideon Yung

We joke that my niece looks like a Peanuts character – her head is really large, and her body (and particularly arms) are short in comparison.  (You know how the characters always have to reach their arms up really high to reach doorknobs, and can’t put their arms around their heads….)  So here she is, in the land of Peanuts characters.

my aunt, my niece, Sally, and my sister

my aunt, my niece, Sally, and my sister

Other things I hope to write about when I’m not so tired:

  • the wonders of public transportation (and why I love it)
  • immigration, language, and assimilation (you know, small topics)
  • the view from the other side of the world

good night all!

with a l’il help from emma thompson

We’ve made it to Hong Kong!  Despite the 3+ hour delay from O’Hare, we still managed to beat Typhoon Molave, which meant that we could land (a few hours more and we’d have been diverted to Taiwan).  The typhoon has passed – lots of strong winds and a l’il rain.

The sweet buhbee did great, sleeping most of the trip (!) but then that of course means she didn’t sleep much last night.  Poor thing, international travel is tough on adults who logically understand time changes and airplanes… must be so confusing for the little ones.

This adult tried to get more “Theology of the Johannine Epistles” read for class, and to finish a report for work – but it was pretty tough going.  Just when I thought I was going to lose it on the plane, they showed “Last Chance Harvey” – I hadn’t heard of it, but I enjoyed watching Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman in it.

She is such a great actress!!  I just read on IMDB that she was offered the role of “God” in Dogma, but couldn’t do it because she was pregnant… Alanis does a great job in that final sequence, but it makes me smile that it could have been Emma.  🙂

Alright, more updates to follow.  Time to go rouse the troops, I think, great (food) adventures await!

new family stories (or actually really really old ones)

None of my extended family lived in the states when we were growing up.  (well, there are some half-cousins in California and New Jersey, but I’ve only seen 4 of them once)  Later on, one of my older cousins moved to NYC to go to grad school and lives there now, but that’s about it.  We came back to HK a lot when I was young – 78, 83, 84, 87, 91 – but then had a big gap til 2005.  Last time, it was great to get to know my aunts and uncles as an adult, and get to meet cousins that were just babies when I was last here.  That’s the main reason I wanted to come to Hong Kong this year – to continue to get to know family.

Last week Dad and I traveled with my uncle and aunt (dad’s older sister) for 3 days in Guangzhou – a city of 10+ million about 3 hours away from Hong Kong.  It’s where my dad lived until he was 6, but he hadn’t been back for a visit since oh… 1960?  Anyway, we heard lots of stories those several days all about the family and Dad and I both learned lots that we didn’t know before (I obviously learned a lot more than he did, but there were still some big things he didn’t know).
Last Friday night we went to dinner with that aunt – she just turned 70!  We had already heard so many stories, I just wanted clarification on one or two things, especially about my grandmother.  Somehow though, we got to talking, and she was talking about how dad’s grandfather’s family was actually pretty wealthy before.  And we were like, “oh, how?”  And she said, “Oh, because my great grandfather went to Gum San to work!”  Gum San is the old Cantonese name for San Francisco.  And all this time we’ve thought Dad was the first of his family to come to the States.
I’ve been interested in Asian American history for awhile now, but this definitley puts a personal spin on it.  My great great grandfather and then my great grandfather’s brothers went to San Francisco to work in orchards and fruit picking.  Much of the village had gone – he probably went in his late teens and probably came back every once in awhile to bring back money, for a total of about 30 years.  My great grandfather didn’t go with his older brothers because his mother wanted to keep one son at home.  Later on, my grandfather decided to follow his older brothers to the Philippines to work instead, it was closer and they had seen others come back with money.
Somehow, knowing that my great great grandfather went to the States to work makes a difference in the way I think about my family history and myself.  I’ll let you know when I figure out how exactly it changes things, and how to explain it. 🙂

so much to say (4x)

I don’t have enough time to say much right now except a quick recap:

– Guangzhou was great, saw a lot of history stuff and also the house where my dad grew up! (he hadn’t even visited since he was 12)

– fun family dinners yesterday – lunch with dad’s side (12 of us), dinner with mom’s side (19 of us)

– my cousins (both sides) are hilarious.  It seems so nice that they get to see each other once a month.  I’m working on upping my average. 😉

– went to church yesterday (and last week) at St. Andrew’s – a great Anglican church here.  Yesterday was a communion service, which was wonderful, but it really made me miss _my_ church.  I’ll be back soon, Mosaic, don’t forget me!

simple but yummy!

Dad arrived last night, so expect to see pictures of him soon.  But first, some food pictures – they aren’t glamorous, but super yummy!  This was our multi-course dinner just down the street from my grandma’s old house (dad’s side).

First, won ton noodles at this teeny wonton hole in the wall.  It’s been around for 30-40 years, but we think may have changed ownership.

wonton (under noodles), and awesome veggies

first: wonton (under noodles), and awesome veggies

Then, we went next door to the Australia Milk Company for breakfast food.  It’s sorta like house of pies in the sense that it’s breakfast food and famous for their desserts.  Notice that toast in HK is super-thick, actually thicker than Texas toast and less greasy too! 🙂

breakfast food - toast, eggs, and macaroni with bbq pork

second: breakfast food - toast, eggs, and macaroni with bbq pork

Lastly – two bowls of ‘den dan’ which I guess might possibly be translated as ‘shaken egg.’  (I have been known to mis-translate, what with this tonal language the words get confusing).  This is why we came to the 2nd restaurant – they’re famous for it – it can be eaten hot or cold (we got one of each) and is sorta like creme brulee or egg custard but way better!  I was so excited about it, we ate most of the hot one before I remembered to take a picture!

dun dan (steamed egg custard awesome)

dessert: dun dan (steamed egg custard awesome)

Off to Guangzhou in the morning for a couple days.  It’s a city of 10 million people about 3 hours away where my dad lived til he was 6.  I’m excited about hearing about his childhood and the family in general (we’re going with his older sister and her husband).

One place that I’m particularly excited about is the “Chan Family Ancestral Temple” or the “Chan Clan Academy” – basically back in the day since there were so many Chans in Guangdong, they decided to pool some money and build a great big house.  Those are my ppl!  Or at least, that’s my version of it right now.  Will let you know more later…

Oh yah – Beard Papa’s mission was accomplished, but I was actually a little disappointed with the creampuff that I had.  Don’t worry though, I am going to give it another chance!