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Clenched Teeth & Baby Faces

6 Dec

English: Beijing subway system Dawanglu statio...

China. Beijing. The land of many many people. They’ve got pulses. Hearts that feel.

So do I.

There’s a soft and steady tap as I walk under the bridge near Guomao (国贸); Dawanglu specifically. My only thought is getting home. “Gotta get home. Gotta get home.”

Guomao

I can’t lie, I’m excited about the 50 kuai bottle of wine I’m carrying in my right hand. It’s from Chile, Cabernet Sauvignon, specifically La Cara. Not my favourite, it’s not the best, but it’s a red and I always enjoy hongjiu (紅酒) . Let’s be honest here, it’s a $8 CAD bottle of wine. Ha!  Definitely not the best. But I like drinking wine…what can I say?

I’m content. Happy. And things are seeming to go my way. Maybe work is not as great, maybe now there are problems and my boss isn’t the best. Maybe the fellow I like isn’t answering my texts, or whatever. Let’s be clear:

I don’t care. Meh…

I come walking at my jet speed; I learned it from my mother, and then I see them. I’m crossing the Dawanglu bridge and I see them. A tall Chinese man, very thin, chasing a shorter man around a small three-wheeled tuk-tuk so to speak.  Another man comes, he’s holding something. Staring is something I’m good at. So I do. I grit my teeth and I stare.

The third man holds a hammer and he starts hitting the shorter man with it. The tuk-tuk belongs to the shorter man. How do I know? He’s wearing knee-pads and his coat barely fits. He’s barely living. He’s surviving.

Soon there are ten short Chinese men running at him and then the short tuk-tuk driver is on the ground and they’re hitting him.  Crow-bars appear from no where, lead pipes seem to pop into their hands. They’re punching him. Kicking him. I’m still staring and they see me.

They say ” Foreigner, she doesn’t understand.” (她不明白.)

I do. I understand. But what can I do? What can I say?

Now these thoughts are floating in my head. After-all I am foreign. I am a woman. I speak Chinese but only on a basic level. Are these excuses?  What should I do? Dear Lord what should I do? I stare. I stare and I stare.

I stare as they carry this man to a van. I turn away and I hear screams. That’s all and there are a few others who are staring with me. They are native speakers. A man and I exchange a long look. But he looks down and continues to walk. There are people who can do something, but it’s not their job. “Why do something that you’re not paid for?” Why stick out your neck for someone who potentially did something wrong? Justice. It’s lacking.

So what’s worse? A land full of people who won’t take a chance? Or a person who could have stuck out her neck and didn’t? I continue to walk. Damn. DAMN. I am so angry.

Subway: Line 1 to Xidan. Subway transfer: Line 4. Renmin University (人民大學). At the Wangfujing stop a baby runs on. His smile is as big as his pudgy face. Soon he’s crying to his mom, stretching his arms up, he wants to be held. Carried.

His eyes meet mine and we begin to make faces, well I do at least. I puff out my cheeks, make a fish face.  Yeah that’s right. I went from witnessing a gang beating, to making a little child laugh.

The cuteness of the situation dissipates and that adorable baby becomes the annoying baby. Spoiled, loud, crying. I transfer to line 4 and then I see a mother and daughter. They are cold to each other. Uncommunicative. They don’t even talk. I think of my family.  I consider my father, my mother, my older sisters and my younger one. How on earth could I not talk to them?

I’m plagued with what I saw. I care. I care a ton. But it’s not enough that I simply care. It’s not enough that I’m crying on the subway home. It’s not enough. My compassion without understanding, doesn’t help at all.

I’m overwhelmed with a feeling. Shame. Shame is all I feel now. Shame then, shame now. Shame at being obsessed with my damn romantic life, with damn money and damn materialism, with my damn happiness. Happiness. I am desperate for it and that short tuk tuk man most likely…won’t know it for a while. That baby’s got boat loads of it, and that mother and daughter will have it but won’t know what to do with it.

Shocked at my nativity, astounded at how ruthless and heartless humanity can be, I won’t pass judgement. I don’t know.  My uncertainty about life is heightened and my humility has deepened. I can decide to be better, but I can’t hide the simple truth; I am humbled.

Die ahead?

Die ahead? (Photo credit: cobblucas)

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Passage to India

3 Oct

They say in India that to have patience, mercy, and understanding means to have a good mind. How convenient that in India to travel you’ll need a huge dosage of patience and mercy.

And you’ll need to understand that different folks simply have different strokes. And you have to be okay with it. Well enough of that now. How about some photos.

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As I wrote in an earlier post, Thailand was beautiful. But I didn’t have to work hard to find that there. In India, mind you I spent most of my time in the northern part, I had to work to find it. Not convinced?

A woman and child, begged for a photo and immediately afterward wanted money, charging me for taking it.
“Photo?” they ask innocently. They even begin to smile to show me what the photo could look like.
I nod. Take a photo. I show them.
They shake their heads, they don’t care, “Money, money, money!”
I’m shaken, speechless, and I hand them ten rupees.
They run off to the next tourist in line.

insert (Gripping Title) here

29 Sep

Same photo that has appeared on the FB. This is Pawan and I in Vrindavan, India at Jaisiyaram; singing “Row Row Row Your Boat”…I would have to say that never have I ever had so much joy than teaching these simple songs…if I could relive a moment. Thank you Ramona for sending me this photo.

Promise me you’ll read the entire post.

I don’t know what makes people read my blog, and maybe my readership consists mostly of my family. Oh well it makes me feel good to look at the stats now and then and see someone in Qatar is reading my words. It puts a bit of pressure on me to be super awesome when I write something.

That’s hard!

Oh the competition these days, oh the weight of trying to “make it” in a world that is so empathetic to the petite efforts of little me. One could succumb to the depth and enormity of it all you know. Give up entirely. I mean really, why am I writing these blogs? Am I trying to make it “viral” someone accidentally be discovered?

You want honesty, I’ll give you blunt honesty. Yes, I want that. I want to be “discovered.” Like Justin Beiber,  like Colbie Caillat. Who else? Oh J.K. Rowling. And that girl, Julie Powell, who wrote a blog about trying all the recipes in Julia Child‘s cookbook. She made it, her blog became a book, and then a movie for goodness sakes! Yes I want that to happen to me.

Let’s carry it on a little further. Listening to AM640 Talk Radio yesterday, while driving to Toronto, and The Mike Stafford came on. They were discussing a fellow who had made a public comment, and now he was on the news and TV shows…I thought to myself, “Yes, this is what I will do!”

My Devised Method 

1. Upload a video of my awesome singing/dancing skills and then Usher will see it and I’ll hit the “big-time”.

2. Have superbly awesome writing skills and an imagination to create something that would capture the hearts and minds of the world. Write in a cafe, where I can look out the window, see a castle and envision an entire fantasy.

3. Create and keep up a blog many people will read and appreciate. But what’s his face (I think his name is Ryan?) on The Mike Stafford Show said, “Who blogs anymore these days?” Dang, okay. And I’ll be honest I’m going to tag all those famous people in here, and hope they read it…who knows maybe they will.

4. State a controversial comment on this blog, or my FB or my Twitter, and have the news focus on: Me. What can I say that hasn’t been said?

Hmmm

Let’s check in with reality…

Will it happen? Most likely no. And I have to settle myself down with the simple fact that my strength lies in being the Canadian, Tricia Demmers. Also please don’t read with judgment because I’ll bet somewhere deep inside your “denial of fame”, you kind of wish it would happen to you too. And that is okay. BUT I’m still reaching for the stars of course, I’m not giving up my dream of somehow making it as a writer/journalist/foreign correspondent/whatever will come along. Nope. Who ever got anywhere by giving up on their dreams? NOBODY.

Sigh*                                           You still reading?

Okay so why is there a photo of me with a little boy singing a song in this post? Excellent question dear reader (whoever you might be…mom if it’s you, well I give you a “high-five” through the internet cloud). It is to remind myself (and the reader) :

1. Wonderful opportunities come without asking. We need to be thankful for what comes my way when we go searching.

2. Power in being small. Sometimes hitting the “big-time” means you lose individuality. I would like to keep mine. 

3. You never know who will influence with the character you’re becoming.

Basically I shouldn’t have to “need” thousands of readers or “Likes” on this post to know what is captured in the photo above is priceless. It would be reassuring, but it’s only because my human need for approval unfortunately outweighs the purity of the above knowledge. Sad but true. I mean why else would I write this up on the world-wide web right?

To be honest I’m uncertain about how to put a “slam-bank” finish to this…so

The End.

 

Four You (A Mix Tape)

28 Sep

In India on the back of every truck you’ll find these words “Blow Horn!” And you know what, everybody blows their horn like it was going out of style.

You know I am a little bit of a coward. I mean it. Here’s what I mean, instead of coming out and voicing my feelings or thoughts…I write them up here. Oh, don’t know worry, I talk a lot. I get thoughts out there, ones that matter too. But the ones that could be rejected or viewed as unwelcome.

I put those up here. Kind of like an announcement board. And then I cross my fingers, my toes, my eyes, legs…and pray that the person who it’s meant for will read it and feel inspired, or know that I care. Perhaps it’s that I feel I’m the only one on in each specific relationship who senses the overbearing need to Say Anything (that’s a movie isn’t it?). You ever feel that way? Of course you do, if you’re writing a blog well that’s clue number one. Don’t worry, there’s no need for shame, at least you’re saying something. If you’ve read  earlier posts you’ll know that I’m not a fan of bottling things up. Dumb.

I’ma “Blow my Horn” ~these are for four different unrelated people I’ve met in life.

1. I don’t know how many times I have to tell you “You’re beautiful, you’ve overwhelming because you’re so wonderful and you shine so bright!” I don’t care either, I’ll be here to tell you. Let me tell you. Listen to me tell you.  If it weren’t the truth; I wouldn’t say it. Do I have to go so far as to name names? I don’t think so. You know who you are. Just start believing it, because it’s the truth. Man, I wish you would just believe it.

 

2. I don’t know if you’re reading these posts of mine. Maybe I’m too much of a romantic. Maybe I stifled what could have been a beautiful friendship and something more. Maybe I’m the only one who felt that way. You want the truth?  Ah yes, well, its only because I thought I was the only one who felt that way. I wish I had let myself love you. So I wrote you off. And for that I’m sorry. Haha, you might not even know it’s you I’m talking about. But I think it’s too late to change any of that…isn’t it? Do you know who you are?

 

3. Are you reading this? I gave you the opportunity to take the honorable option. And you took the wrong one. How could you take advantage of me like that? Wasn’t I kind and generous to you? Wasn’t I your friend? I don’t understand. I trusted you too much and you ripped away just a bit more of my trust from humanity. I never should have trusted you. You should know who you are. Step up and take responsibility for your actions. You broke my proverbial heart

 

4. I know you’re not reading this. You. There is no way. You’re illiterate. For you there aren’t any words, only names. Bad names. And I refuse to write them up here. You know who you are, but you’ll never hear anything from me.

 

Would you pick different songs? Of course you would, there are so many out there, but then this post would only be music videos. Aren’t they simply fun though? The images make you think and the words make you ponder. Of course life is not like a music video, but who ever put a ban on living like you’re in one? No one.

I’m not trying to escape reality, simply just trying to find another way to embrace it. And there. You have it now. I’m a closet coward. And if these four people were to walk into the room right this moment, would I say anything?

Hmmmm…

As it Happens

26 Sep
2nd third of 17th century

Perhaps I envision myself like this lovely lady…btw, what is her name?

Got to thinking the other day about why I feel the need to write my thoughts and feelings down online for whoever would wish to read my words. There was silence in my brain. Not just any silence really. A deafening silence.

I mean everyone. Or almost everyone writes a blog or aspires to write a novel of some sort. So what on earth separates one from another? Content. Style. Media. If you don’t reach the right combination then what are you doing? Throwing random words up there for no one to read.

And it isn’t as if one person has something to write while another doesn’t. Simply because everybody hurts. Everybody harbours pain in their lives. Everyone is beautiful in their “broken”ness and everyone is writing about it in their blogs, online, for the world to see if the world wishes to.  And what happens when we (everybody) throw up our words? Nothing, we wait, and nothing happens. And maybe someone is “discovered” labeled a “talent” and their lives move on from simply blogging.

And we, everybody else, we continue to blog. Which is great! Go us! I say let’s continue it. Why not? It really isn’t a waste of time. In fact its a constructive use of time. Well at least I believe it is. So keep it up, you intrepid blogger you. Kudos, high-five!

Just because everybody feels pain, it doesn’t lessen yours. You still have the right to feel. So write. Write young grasshopper, write.

Why is it that I feel the need to write things down, post some photos, and maybe a few videos here and there?

  • Is it for the fame? Am I secretly hoping that some big shot will read it. Think ,”Hey, this Tricia girl, she’s great…blah blah blah.” Haha. Yes, of course I think perhaps that could happen. Oh man I can only hope for that to happen, it is a dream. Something that would only ever happen in the movies. But as it happens there isn’t any fame associated with blogging. None. But I’m still going to write.
  • Is it for the practice? Yeah, I guess so. What writer, blogger, or whatever wouldn’t relish the chance to hone their skills? But as it happens, you will not find to best literary prose. Not every blog, but in general.
  • Is it for the readership? Oh man, to develop a following of readers who think that my writing is the be all and end all. Or not even that, for them to think that my words are something of an insight into something that helps them see just a small glimpse into how I see and understand life. But as it happens every human being is a philosopher and psychologist by their own standards.
  • Is it an outlet? But of course it is! I sometimes find that when I’m very angry, happy, depressed, ecstatic or frustrated, I write the best posts. I use it as a venting machine. Other times its simply a way of updating people who care to read.
  • …I really don’t know. Just something to do? Yep, and you know I am going to continue this “theme-less” blog of mine  until my fingers fall off my hands. And even then I’ll find a way.

What is oh so special about MY blog?

  • Nothing is particular actually. My mother and father would beg to differ. But then they’re my mother and father…they have to beg to differ.
  • I’m honest. But then aren’t we all? At least I would desperately like to think humanity is honest. But as it happens, most people seek the chance to rip another person off.
  • I’m quirky. And I come by it honestly. Other people try attempt “quirky”ness. I was born…quirky.
  • I’m decisive.
  • I’m random.

But then maybe you’re reading this and thinking…I’m all of the above and more! Well good for you. Great! Take that and soar with it. I hope you go far! But as it happens, I’ve come to find that some simply look at my blog and like it in the hopes that they would increase their readership. And of course I’ll “like” yours if you “like” mine. Isn’t that how it works? Of course. Yeah it may seem pointless, maybe it is, but who cares! Write, blog, share and let it all out. Throw your words up there.

Are you sensing that I’m sending mixed messages?

It’s only because I’m trying to convince myself too.

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