Work!

My youngest started working part-time a month ago.

On her way back from school, she noticed a vacancy ad on a shop window. She came home and asked me how to go about applying for the job. I explained to her the process and that the first thing is to get her resume sorted.

When Yaya got back from work that day, there were her favourite cupcakes in the oven, courtesy of her youngest sister.  And I heard the youngest very gently asking Yaya, if she could have a look at Yaya’s resume. Well played, I thought.

She then suggested to her brother that they could take the dog to the dog park and spend some time together.. and they did

At the end of the day, she had both her siblings resume in her email inbox!

Next evening she asked me if I would drive her to the shop where she saw the ad and I asked her “Why didn’t you go there straight after your school?”

“Madre, I need to look presentable” And I noticed that she actually did make an effort to look presentable. Black top, with a matching skirt and leggings.. (as opposed to her normal attire of leggings and a t-shirt sans the skirt!)  Her hair was neatly combed and tied in a ponytail.(as opposed the messy Boho style she prefers everyday)

I agreed to drive her to the shop.

When we were about a block away from the shop, she asked me to pull over.

“Why do I have to stop here?”

“Madre, I don’t want them to know that my mother came with me. I want them to know that I am a confident young woman”

And so she did. She went there, handed in her resume and managed to get a trial the next day and got the job.

At home,there are two chores that all three of my children refuse to do. To take the thrash to the bin and to clean the toilet. And guess what? Her new job involves her cleaning the toilet and taking the thrash to the bin.. and she does it without any complaints. When I asked her how come she is willing to do it at work , but not at home, she replied..” you don’t pay me to do your dirty work!”

I was tempted to tell her that I don’t get paid to do their dirty work either.. but being the smart woman that I am, I kept quiet.. for I know for sure that her reply would be, you chose to have kids.. you made your bed and you better lay on it!

Will

A friend of Yaya passed away recently. (medical reasons) and it has made a huge impact on all three of my kids.

We have regular  conversations about death, afterlife, funeral etc..

Yesterday evening Yaya came to me and asked how to write her will.. and I asked her why she thinks she needs a will.

“Mom, until now, I didn’t really have much to give to my siblings, but right now I have close to 20K in the bank. I want you to divide the money equally between my siblings and it can only be used to pay for their uni.. I want you to give all the things I booked for my gap year to my friend L. (L is from a very poor family and dreams about travelling, but can’t afford a trip around the world and I know that is the reason Yaya chose L. Besides my son and Baby can’t go on a solo trip right now) I want you to give all my baby books, toys etc to your first grandchild., the rest of the books has to be divided equally between my siblings”

I said fine.

When I went to bed, I thought of my siblings.. Why is that my child could think of her siblings and care for them unselfishly, yet  my sisters and I will never see eye to eye?

In a way I am glad, I walked away from my family, or all my children would ever have seen would be how my sisters and I bicker and fight.. for every little thing..

TCK

Third Culture Kid (TCK)

This particular conversation started with Yaya telling me about how it is going to be when  she joins Uni..

People are bound to ask her

“So where are you from?”

She could say “Australia” and that would surely elicit the question “Where are you really from?”

She didn’t know how to answer that question.

There is a long version.. she could say, I was born in Malaysia to a half Malaysian parent, grew up in Canada and then moved to Australia, and admitting that she doesn’t think like a Malaysian or have a Malaysian Indian identity, or a Canadian identity or an Aussie identity.

Her normal accent is Australian, but when she is annoyed with you, her accent will change to Canadian and she will swear at you in pure unadulterated Strine . I do love to bug her enough to get her angry.. just to watch her accent change..

Her second language is Spanish and third language is French….

I have often been worried about how my children would cope with lack of an identity or roots..

A friend of mine who has mixed parentage and didn’t live in either of the countries where his parents are from, told me  not to fret..  he is confident that my children will bloom wherever they are planted..

But I have often  imagined this.. a guy wanting to date Yaya because she is exotic… (it is the same idea with  most men whom I met and wanted to date me..) and find that she is a coconut.. ( brown on the outside and white inside..)

I don’t have any answers or solutions..

I chose to travel and hopefully my kids won’t end up paying a heavier price for my decisions..

 

culpable

Mallu mothers are culpable for crime against their daughters. It is time they are held accountable for the emotional and mental anguish they inflict up on their spawns.

She and I grew up together and I always envied her. She had what you would call a ‘real’ family, they had all the P’s. ( panam, pathras,..there were other P’s..but I can’t remember them now) Being the only daughter in a house full of boys, she was pampered and spoilt. I didn’t so much care about the money or prestige, but I envied the way her brothers took care of her.

When it was time, ie when she reached the grand age of  20 ..following the Suriani Kristiani guidelines, her parents found a suitable boy.. from a well to do family with the ancestral history written on palm leaves from the palm trees  St. Thomas himself brought.. or so they claimed. The fact that he held a foreign citizenship was boasted to all and sundry.

But there was one small problem… Nothing happened in the bridal chamber at night.. Her mother knew it.. and told her..it is normal..some guys can’t perform under stress and all will be well eventually.. 2 weeks of the holidays(honeymoon) went by and nothing happened. Then he went back to his country of residence.

Her mother packed her bags for her and sent her overseas to live with her husband.. and still nothing happened..

25 years went by…. and nothing happened.

From day 1, he talked to her only when necessary.. and never came back home till midnight. (Her mother told her, that too is a normal behaviour for guys who were raised outside India)

I must write a bit about my friend.. The part where I told I was envious about the way her brothers took care of her…. it also meant she had no freedom at home.. she never read a single Mills and Boon.. Her brothers walked her to school every morning and picked her up every evening.. between school and home, she went no where and met no one and knew nothing about sex.

She had no idea about intimacy between partners.. she thought this was how it was with all married couples.. and worst of all, her mother convinced her, that she was the problem.. because women have it in them to seduce a man and she failed..

Sometime ago, while checking her husband’s pant pockets before doing the laundry.. she found a packet of condom and after 25 years… It was one of those tube light moments…it dawned on to her that her husband is gay….

Now she wants a divorce.. and her mother had the audacity to ask her

“at 45, you are still thinking of sex?” Instead of telling her, I am sorry, I screwed up your life, because I was more worried about what others think.. even though I knew something was wrong the first day of marriage.. Walk away now.. at least you have the rest of your life to live..

Intimacy is every woman’s right.. but not if it affect your family’s honour and prestige. Pathetic..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walk on the wild side

My son had his school semiformal last week.

And we had a little argument..

Normally after a school event, kids would host an informal party. The best part of the semiformal is the informal party. My son decided he is not going for the informal party because there will be drugs and alcohol.

That is when the trouble started. I let Yaya go for the informal party knowing very well that there will be drugs and alcohol. She attended, had a good time..

I felt my son should attend the informal party. Because, this is how it is going to be..all the parties from now on..will have drugs, alcohol, unprotected sex etc. Instead of saying no, I am not attending, I wanted my son to say No, I am NOT  doing drugs, or drinking or having unprotected sex. Instead of hiding, he should be able to stand up and say No.

I told him, he is going to the party.. but at any moment he felt unsafe or uncomfortable, call a cab and leave the venue. (it takes me an hour to get to the venue from my place)

These are the tips I gave my son

  1. Do not take drugs..even if you are being peer pressured . Say No.
  2. If you are drinking, make sure you poured it yourself and watch your drink always.
  3. If people are behaving irrationally, or starting a fight, leave immediately
  4. Do not get in to a car with a driver who consumed alcohol.
  5. Call the cops if you feel your life is in danger.

He attended the informal party and when I picked him up at 1 AM, the first thing he told me was

“Thank you Mom for forcing me to go for the informal party, I had a good time”

It turns out, only few people drank and smoked weed.. the rest just danced and ate pizza..

 

Uni

My son got admission to study first year engineering maths at a local Uni. He is very excited. I am not so pleased and I absolutely hate his school for pushing him like this. No doubt, his school is well renowned for overall academic achievements and that is precisely the reason why son wanted to go there.. but is this necessary?

Last term they gave my son a gold medal for scoring GPA of 6.5 (of 7) And the poor kid has not had a weekend free because he wants to ensure that he gets the gold medal this term and this will go on.. till he graduates grade 12. I can see how the school is manipulating the kids.. They set the bar so high.. Apart from the GPA cut off points which is already very high, they only gave the gold medal to kids who has the word ‘excellent’ for all the activities in the report( behaviour, homework etc) And now, he is been promoted to do Uni level maths. Of course this will help him to get admission to top unis as well as give him credits for the courses already done. (Yaya got 3 credits off for her Uni based on her IB score, which my son will get anyway). But at what cost?

My son hasn’t had a friend over in months. He hasn’t gone for his weekly swimming for the past 3 months. It is as if his life is kept on hold.. and he is only in grade 11. If it is this hard now, what will they do to my child in grade 12?

Ideally I would like to go to my son’s school and tell the Principal off. At least explain to her about work life balance.. But then she would tell me off… that she is not forcing my son to study there.. he chose it.

I don’t know what to do.

Life goes on

First of all let me apologize for the missing posts. Life has been pretty hectic the past few weeks and this madness will last till Yaya leaves home.

Last Sunday, I was up early to watch the Meteor shower (Eta aquarids, associated with Hailey’s comet)). Kirra came and sat next to me. I did think of waking the kids up, but they were up late in to the night spending as much time as they can with each other before Yaya leaves home. I explained to Kirra the difference between meteor, meteorite and meteoroid and she slept off with her head on my lap.

The last time Hailey’s comet was visible, it was in 1986. I was in 10th standard. Even in my wildest dream, I never imagined I would be where I am today. ( let alone write few sentences in English!) What a journey this has been..

My youngest woke up first as she takes Kirra to the dog park at 6 AM every day. She made hot chocolate for both  of us, gave me a kiss after she gave a kiss to Kirra and wished me Happy Mother’s day.

Mom, What cake would you like me to bake today? I told her to bake Ina Garten’s lemon cake. It is a pretty straight forward cake recipe.  When the cake was ready and I tried to cut it, it fell apart. This is a cake I baked so often that I knew right away that she tweaked the recipe.

“What did you do?” I asked her?

She looked at me a bit sheepishly and replied

“Well, the recipe asked for 4 eggs, I changed it to three cause I felt 4 eggs a bit too much”

I am a perfectionist and a strong believer of if you are going to do something, do it right and do it well. There is a reason why the recipe calls for 4 eggs.. you need the eggs to hold the whole thing together. I glared at her because I didn’t want to open my mouth and say things I might regret later. I understood my mother’s need to pishukkufy when she cooked..like taking the meen puli out of the curry and using it again the next time she made fish curry.. I always have a tray of eggs in the fridge!

My son then jumped in to the fray and told me

“You can’t complain mom, you always tell us to wing it.. when it comes to cooking”

He likes to make oats for breakfast and take a measuring cup to measure 60 ml of milk and I get really annoyed when I see him do that.. He should be able to add just enough milk in to a bowl to cook oats without having to use a measuring cup..  I glared at him too.. If eyes could spew fire, both would have turned to cinders…

Finally Yaya emerged from her room holding a A4 size envelope.

“Mom, I am working today, but this is for you, Happy mother’s day” She said

I opened the envelope. .inside was a beautiful photo of the 4 of them (3 + Kirra)..

I am glad my eyes couldn’t not spew fire.. I know my children have their own way of doing things and I can’t force them to be like me and do things the way I do things..

There is nothing in this world that is more precious than the love they have for me.. and that is what I need to remember even those moments when I feel a bit murderous..

Measure

My youngest was cooking yesterday and as usual she refused to measure. It would have been ok normally, but in this case she was making spaghetti for the four of us and cooked enough pasta for one!

I had already told her that she needs to cook 125gm of spaghetti/person and she felt that was really too much. It was too late to cook another batch of spaghetti, so we had pasta sauce with few strands of spaghetti as garnish along with garlic bread!

I was a bit annoyed with her and told her, “everything in life can be measured”

“Really?” She asked

“Really” I replied.

“How do you measure love mom?”

It isn’t very often where I am lost for words.. I watched the siblings high 5 each other..This was even more poignant for me, cause I solved the IQ puzzle faster than the three of them and have been gloating just a few minutes earlier. (http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/mind/can-you-solve-the-intelligence-test-thats-sweeping-facebook/news-story/27981be57c7e02a711ddbc9502ac3501)

Anyway, I spent most of last night trying to think if there is a way to measure love.

This is what I came up with.

The measure of love is the adjustments you are willing to make to accommodate that person in your life through the vicissitude of seasons and fortunes.

I had always felt guilty because I could never love anyone as much as I loved ‘Beautiful Eyes’. It was because until recently, no one ever matched up to that measure of love that I experienced with him. Every time I tried to love, there was always something missing..

When ‘he’ and I went camping the first time..it was about to pour when we were pitching the tent and so he tied the tent poles while I went to get the sleeping bags. As soon as we pitched the tent, it started to pour..and  it poured all night. We were in a remote area, in a national park, the shower and toilet were rudimentary.. The next morning, I desperately needed to take a shower, but I couldn’t bring myself to take a shower in such a crappy set up with questionable hot water supply.. Add to that, I hardly slept the night before because the tent was pushed back and forth by the strong wind.  When it was time to pack up the tent, I noticed that he had tied the tent poles with double knots..24 knots.. When the tent is moist, the knots get tighter making it impossible to undo them and double knot makes it next to impossible. If I cut the knots off, then the tent is useless.. So, there I was, carefully undoing the double knots.. and I was not upset.. which really surprised me.. I am never known for my patience..and yet there I was, patiently undoing the knots.. It occurred to me that I was doing exactly the same thing ‘Beautiful Eyes’ did for me.. He was always patient with me.. all my faults didn’t matter to him…. that was his love for me.. undoing the double knots without a complaint was my love for ‘him’.. that is my measure of love..it  is unending, patient and is through the vicissitude of seasons and fortunes..

 

So

I am fond of people who can write well. Writing is an art in itself and you need to be well read to be able to write things that are fascinating. One such person was Astrologer Jonathan Cainer. I don’t believe in astrology, but I  have been reading  his horoscope forecast even before I had kids. I love the way he strings words together and often he writes quotes and facts that require me to google for more info. I remember him writing about Buckley’s chance years ago and I had to actually google to find out what it is. When I came to Brisbane and I told a mate ” you have Buckley’s chance…” He was impressed cause it is an Aussie lingo not many immigrants know about. Cainer passed away two days ago and I read in the paper about his own sign forecast for that day

‘We aren’t here for long. We should make the most of every moment. We all understand this yet don’t we forget it, many times? We get caught up in missions, battles and desires. We imagine that we have forever and a day. In one way, we may be right — for are we not eternal spirits, temporarily residing in finite physical form?’

And it got me thinking..and then I did something I never thought I would do. I emailed a real estate agent in Tasmania..

These were my requirements.  Must be located in St Helens, lots of land with an option to subdivide, close to the beach, small house, preferable with no neighbours. (I know I am weird!)

An hour later, I received a reply..

When ‘he’ and I visited Tasmania, that day it was my turn to drive. As we were heading to Anson’s bay, I noticed a large dam with lots of birds on my left. I love watching birds and I did a three point turn in the middle of the road(it was very narrow road and there was a ditch on the right side) so I could park the car near the dam and observe the birds. My driving terrifies most people. Let me rephrase that, my driving terrifies anyone other than my kids and in their case, they have been exposed to my erratic driving since birth. I waited for him to say something about my driving.. and he didn’t.  I loved him more for that. Where I parked the car, there was a’ for sale’ sign. I did think how lovely it would be to stay there and watch the wild/migratory birds every day..

The first house on the list the agent sent  was the exact same house I saw in December….the agent even sent me the photo of the dam..

Spooky? I think so.

Plans

Until now, I pretty much had some sort of idea as to where I am going with my life. At the moment I am pretty clueless. There is so much I want to achieve.

These are the things I want to achieve.

  1. Learn Spanish and read some of the books I have kept in my to do list. These are the books that are translated to English, but I haven’t read them, because I want to read it in the language it was written. Mario Vargas-Llosa : “La Casa Verde”, Benito Perez-Galdos: “Fortunata y Jacinta”, Miguel Delibes: “Cinco Horas con Mario” are few of the books I really want to read.
  2. Sail around the world for a year. This is something I plan to do when my youngest leaves home in 4 years. I have yet to figure out the financial implications of this particular dream, but like all my dreams, I intend to jump head first and then figure out how to get out ..(I know zilch about sailing shouldn’t stop me from achieving this)
  3. Buy a beach house. (Where? I still don’t know)
  4. Write.  My dreams have always been a bit unusual compared to everyone else. I like money for the comfort it provides and for being able to travel. But at the same time, I don’t want to be a slave for someone and work Monday to Friday and make money. My idea of the life I want to live is to get up each morning listening to the birds, go for my usual 10 km walk, come home, spend time doing the things I like to do (read, write and cook). I feel it is time I seriously consider how to get around to do the things I really want to do..

So onwards I march.. I know I will eventually get to my destination.. even with all the set backs..