Tag Archives: Beijing

~Well Well Chanel

24 Sep
A few months ago I wrote a post in complete and utter anger to Coco Chanel in regards to something she always used to say; “Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping it will transform into a door.”
No, I’m not taking my words back at all. In fact, f**k you Coco Chanel for your blunt stupid words that take hope away. I’m bringing up that post simply because we were beating on that wall, so hard and at times that we’d crumple in tears and in vain we’d sob. I wished, I prayed with every fibre of my being and soul that this wouldn’t be the outcome. We all wanted to take my mother’s place, the world would be better if she stayed and we went. I’m bringing up that earlier post because I want to reflect. Reflection is good. 

The entire time we were moving on a crumbling dance floor, it was coming out from under us and yet the only thing we could do was continue forward. What choice did we have?  We can’t just jump off this crazy train and say “Alright, I’m done, tired of this, I need something new and exciting.” No. The choice was made for us, and it’s too bad you know? Cause we’re all such control freaks; for something like this to happen beyond the reach of our grasping fingertips; it’s unimaginable. What on earth? How can this be? How will our world continue to spin without such love and beauty, devotion and care?

Well it must spin on, I guess. I am beyond thankful for my family and we’ll move forward together…

A few months ago, when my family discovered what Mom was suffering from we, none of us, understood the gravity and the result of the circumstance. But here we are now, and it’s been a week and day since my family has said goodbye to mom. It’s surreal. I can’t even think to describe the ache and the weight of hurt our hearts feel. Only those who have also lost someone so dear and precious will comprehend…hardship is not relative, hardship is hard.

A few months ago, I had believed with all my aching heart that Mom would recover, because loosing her would mean living without her. Of course I’d thought Mom would go to the hospital, have the extra bout with chemo, come back and she’d be ok, not fine, not great, but ok, she’d be alive. I’d even signed up to do a FearlessChallenge thinking if I threw myself into this… ugh. My heart and my head were floating on a cloud of illusion and they’ve come down now. Because now Mom is gone and yet, not really gone.

BUT, and here it is Coco Chanel; I’m not angry. Of course I’m hurting. Of course I’m broken. Of course I miss her terribly, and I hate that I can’t hug her or tell her I love her. BUT I am not angry. You know the clichés are true? I feel my mom everywhere. No I’m not crazy. I feel her, and I talk to her always. It’s a constant conversation. Here’s the thing, even when I was living in Beijing, I would talk to mom, when I got on a plane I’d say; “Well Mama, here we go again…”I wish I’d told her that. Now I know that she won’t see the photos I take or hear about my adventures I have. But I’m not angry Coco Chanel.

There is beauty if you choose to find it. On September 20th, the day of Mom’s funeral, the sun was shining and it was my nephew’s birthday. He turned seven. And when we came home from saying goodbye, there was a rainbow waiting for us. There was pain and there was life and throughout the entire day I felt Mom just smiling away.

smiling mom

We were hammering on that wall and I truly do believe it turned into a door. I truly do Coco Chanel. It’s not the door I had wanted it to be, but it’s a door none-the-less.

That being said, we will forever and always love and miss you mom. That won’t change.

Us happy people gotta stick together.

Giving won’t bring my mother back it will let someone else keep theirs. Please check out blood.ca to find a clinic and give.

Oh hello hi! Have a Happiness Experience you'd like to share? Well share it here by sending me an email (triciamariadm@gmail.com). AND after you've done that the paradigm of logic states you should like FindingFelicity on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/findingfelicityproject) Pretty please help me spread a smile, and some awareness. Muchos Gracias! Merci Beaucoup! 谢谢! 
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

6 Apr

Some hutong art, painted on the walls near Renmin University.

I simply love happening upon random beauty in a place that I’m so used to. You know how to just become so accustom to your surroundings where you live. You begin to mistake the “unusual” as “usual” and the “beautiful” as merely “plain”.

Sometimes I need to stop, take a deep breath and open my eyes.

My point?

Hooray for graffiti and people who can actually paint on a rough canvas.

Marilyn in Beijing

Marilyn in Beijing

The Human Issues

3 Jan

How my job in an English school in Beijing has taught me to be apathetic.

You got ’em, I got ’em. The whole entire world has ’em. Issues! Yes they are out there and I hope that you understand this writing is operating on a certain level of factiousness.  It’s whether we admit them or not. The real conundrum lies in the “simpleness” of how we’re able to admit it. Can you admit? Can I?

But of course I can. They say that the first step to realizing you’ve got a problem is admitting you have one. Yeah, well I’ve got a problem. Am I gonna spill it to those faithful few who read this blog? Of course not. That would be mostly my family…maybe a few friends if I’m lucky. That would mean that the closest people to me would know my deepest darkest secrets, and what is healthy about that? I ask you. Some things need to be kept in the dark.

Exactly.

Disregarding that obviously sound logic at work, here’s the beginning of my issue: recently I have been a little more than slightly obsessed with drinking red wine (no particular kind although I’m partial to dry wines like Shiraz) eating some sharp cheese (an old cheddar from Kerrygold, imported from Ireland) and crackers (sesame seed crackers are the best in this case). It’s a habit for each night of the week I guess. Something that I treat myself with for making it through a day of rewarding working here in the great Beijing.

My sister, Kara, author of http://www.droppedspaghetti.com.au recently wrote about the issues with her job. And it inspired me to write about a few of mine. My post won’t be as funny and maybe not as poignant…but here goes.

I haven’t always been this way. Work never used to stress me out as much as it does now. Perhaps it’s because now, I’ve moved up a tad higher and I can see all the problems behind the facade of a smile and a flaccid compliment. This is what I know, it’s my experience in the “grown-up” world. Forgive my stereotype, forgive my bitterness and my negative thoughts towards humanity. How can I go against life experience?

Bias

So, I’ve read a lot about psychology and I’ve stumbled upon an article about  biases and how they’re categorized. As you most likely know, a bias is something that skews the reliability of anecdotal or legal evidence (fact or fiction). Further more a social biases (otherwise known as attributional biases) inhibits a person’s ability to interact in social construct.

In other words, each person suffers from a distortion on how we perceive reality. Doesn’t everyone love being able to say they suffer from something. My generation loves being able to say “I’m going through something.” Ain’t it the truth, ain’t it the truth?

Biases affect us no matter how hard we try to guard them from entering our opinions.  A person can pretend, but the show can only go on for so long. And the truth is, nothing beneath still waters is truly as it seems.

Positivity is great, a toothy smile is wonderful but really it’s nothing tangible. It isn’t firm and stable; most people use it as tactic to “stall”. I’ve been fooled countless times by the compliments; they’re only words. Meaning is lost, most people say them to get what they need. Perhaps people are inherently good, perhaps they generally want to do the right thing. But it’s not a standard rule applying to humanity.

Nope. I’ve met enough people in my short span of life, who have proven positive assumptions about humanity to be misleading. Better to assume singularity, you could live longer. Am I bias?

Aristotle wrote: man is a conjugal animal, meaning we like to “couple” (find a mate). He also wrote that we are political, we like the law and he also wrote that we are mimetic (we’ve got imaginations and we learn from and enjoy using them).

Portrait of Aristoteles. Pentelic marble, copy...

Portrait of Aristoteles. Pentelic marble, copy of the Imperial Period (1st or 2nd century) of a lost bronze sculpture made by Lysippos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While I agree with the last two of your theories Aristotle, I do not agree with the first. Some people are born to be: alone. Look at me. Observe aspects of my life. I am alone and I and absolutely fabulous. Am I bias?

You tell me.

It’s quite hilarious, actually because as a journalist and a student of pre-law, I’ve been trained to be unbiased. Ya, but what human can be? Guaranteed: none.

We journalists only write the stories that will gain the most readership, the most publicity.  And I have learned in my job at in Beijing, that awareness and communication is “fool’s gold”.  A hope warranted but groundless.  Am I bias?

Again you tell me.

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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F-dora

3 Nov

So, now I am back in Beijing. If someone were to ask me on Monday if I was glad to be back. I would bluntly reply, “No.” But then maybe on Tuesday or Wednesday, if asked the same question…I’d probably say the same thing.

Come on it’s still only the middle of the week. Cut me a break.

Thursday comes around and that same person asks again, “Tricia are you glad you came back?” I’d say, “Yeah, it’s super great! Couldn’t be happier.”

Yeah, you see, and I’m certain it’s the same for most foreigners living abroad, it’s a day-to-day thing. Maybe for some a week-to-week thing, others a month-to-month…you get my meaning. All of the above to say that well we’re here and not dwelling on why we came back. We should focus on the moment.

Here and Now.

Right now…here and now. I mean if we’re going with this whole “focus on the moment” thing;

I am currently:

  1. Listening to Def Leppard
  2. Wearing a fedora, alone in my apartment
  3. Drinking some wine (it’s cheap stuff)
  4. Writing this post

Seriously. You think I’m joking? No, not even. I even went to the trouble of taking a photo of myself. Here:

Mhmm. Let’s address my current situation.

1. For starters Def Leppard, has been my “go-to” band for music. 80’s rock for something sparks a something in me. Allows me to pretend like I’m in a band or that my life is a musical.  They make me feel awesome when I’m going for a walk, when I’m blowing off steam and even when I’m in the mood to reminisce. I particularly love the song: Pour Some Sugar on Me. Great song. Love it.

Maybe the reason for why I desperately cling to them relates directly to the fact that many of their songs were used in the musical movie Rock of Ages. I watched that movie on the plane ride back from Canada. I was hysterical and I needed something to make me forget…and I was handed a musical. What better way to forget sadness, than to sing through it?

2. Wearing the fedora bit. Well I’ve always wanted one, wanted to be like Marlon Brando, or like Frank Sinatra in “Guys and Dolls.” They are so suave and untouchable it seems. And as pitiful or as amusing as it sounds. I kinda would like to be like them; suave and untouchable. You call it lame, I call it “super-cool.”

3. Bought at the 7-Eleven for about 30 kuai which is roughly 5$ CAD. Good stuff. I am not ashamed. I am also not being facetious.

4. Well, just felt like writing. Haven’t been in the mood lately and suddenly the thought struck me…why not write a post.

Really this post is about nothing.BUT I guess the message I’m trying to send is that I’m okay with it. I am. I mean it. Sure it might not be the most awesome way to spend a Saturday night. But for me the combo (Def Leppard, a fedora, cheap wine and writing) is parfait.

Now this is turning into a self-help post. So if you’re feeling; well alone. Find a combo that transforms  you from a regular drone into a human being and just go with it. All ’em haters (love that term and have always wanted to use it!) will say things; but really, they’re jealous. You’ve found a spark and they’re still searching for it.

Now that’s metaphorical gold that you can take to the proverbial bank.

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