Saturday, August 30, 2008

What my children would never learn in the US

My seven year old daughter flagged a taxi today. With confidence.

Is this a normal thing for a child to do?
She better not flag a taxi when I'm not with her.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Danger Working

Danger Working

"Danger working, keep away trom the wall"
This sign is across the alley from the front entrance of my youngest child's school. I'm not sure what the Chinese characters say on the sign.

My imagination went to work.

Is Danger a character?
Or is Danger something else?
Is there a story in this sign?

I want to include Danger in a story I write. The ideas are swirling.

Signs like this (or notes from school) are not a rare occurrence. In every country I've lived there are mistranslations. Translating is hard and a native should always read to insure accuracy. I've read papers (in English) for very educated people who realized they need a native speaker check their grammar and word usage.

Point of View

Point of view makes a difference in how each person approaches life.
I went out for lunch yesterday to meet some of the other women who live in my apartment complex.

I came home wondering why people think I need an ayi-- a woman who cleans, cooks and shops (full time of course), a cell phone (I’m eyeing my husband’s blackberry, but it doesn’t make sense to get one at this time and I’m home almost always anyway), a driver (yes, a driver for a car we don’t own because we won’t buy one here). Their pov is it is impossible to live without an ayi.

I’m not a picky eater. Yet I’m not the bravest with trying new foods either. They raved about how good the restaurant was, oohed and awed over the meals. We each chose an entre--placed the dishes in the center of the table and ate family style. I have a hard time eating things that still look alive. Sorry. I can't do it. The food was interesting, yes, but I had a plateful of food when we finished. At least no one ordered (or the restaurant doesn’t serve) 5 snake soup.

The following are some of the foods I've seen that some think are wonderful, but I hope hope hope to avoid. Anteater, jellyfish, snake, python (I know it is a snake), rat--that is what they looked like, seahorses, caterpillars, turtles, those special eggs that have stuff growing on the outside, the other special eggs and I won’t mention what they contain, and crocodile. (My kids disagree and would try some of the above--my kids ate food in other countries that I wouldn’t eat either.)

I’ve hardly cooked meat since we’ve arrived. I have no desire to eat any meat. Walking through markets AND grocery stores and seeing animals slaughtered is hard on my appetite. Any hints on vegetarian cooking would be appreciated.

It is useful to see such a huge range of viewpoints as I meet so many different people. It helps me create characters who are very different than each other. It reminds me that the most interesting characters have unique characteristics and have reasons for what they do.

There are more ways to view the world than I can imagine.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Typhoon approaching

Typhoon Nuri (a level 8 storm) will hit my area soon. It is passing over Hong Kong right now. We are inland a bit, so I assume the storm will lessen before it arrives.

My kids are coming home early from school. I just got the phone calls. There are signs posted near the elevators in my building warning us to stay indoors and to make sure drains are clear and windows are shut.

The wind is blowing. The palm trees branches are really moving, but the trunks aren't bending. Not yet. This wind feels like a normal wind in Iceland, but I'm sure it will grow stronger in the next few hours.

We live on an island and I have no idea what a bad storm will do to transportation or to the water levels of the river. Or if we will lose electricity.

Fridge is full and I have a lot in my cupboards. Even so, I'm headed to the store to buy some extra food. Some fun food for my kids.