Archives for category: Imperfect America

summons

When my father-in-law handed me this, he said, “Must be all that publicity. Too much publicity!”

That’s right, that’s how the American judicial system works.

“Hmm, this lady has been in the news. Let’s pick her!”

I’ve not even been on jury duty back home in Malaysia, which by my FIL’s logic, I should have been called at least once, for am I not – ahem – more famous back home?

Anyway, I’d have to be a citizen first before I can serve.

Sorry, King County Superior Court. Maybe in another life.

We decided to watch the American Independence Day Parade at a neighbourhood town this year, where we baked in the sun for a couple of hours in this incredible summer weather. I think it reached a sweltering 90 today, don’t you?

Here are some pics:

Uncle Sam on stilts

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These ladies did not even crack a smile the whole parade. Their faces were the picture of Asian severity.

I, on the other hand, laughed my ass off.

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A funny play on wheels.

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The girls, hand-in-hand, waiting patiently for the parade…and candy.

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 La familia.

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Nice little pony-drawn wagon at the kiddie parade prior to the real thing.

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What’s a parade without cheer leaders?

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Saxy!

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My favourite part of the parade.

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No, THIS is my favourite part. Check out the last guy on the right. Pheweet!

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Prancing to avoid its own poop…

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Don’t wanna mess with this one.

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Stars of the show, the vintage cars.

At the end of it, Skyler went straight to slumberland and we all ducked into a nice, cool air-conditioned Chinese restaurant because it was the only place open for business. God bless the relentless Asian work ethic – and air conditioning.

And America!

Happy Fourth of July, my American friends!

I swear, it’s either I am losing my mind, or that McDonald’s Drive Thru is stealing my food.

Each time I go through the Drive Thru and order something – and I have done this a fair amount of times ‘coz c’mon, I have two little kids – they almost always manage to ‘forget’ my order of Chicken Selects.

Today I had this nagging feeling that they would screw up again, and so I parked at one of those conveniently Check If We Facked Up Your Order bays located right next to the Drive Thru lane AFTER you pick up your order?

Lo behold, THEY DID IT AGAIN.

And it was my Chicken Selects AGAIN.

I mean, what the heck?

This is the FIFTH GODDAMN time.

And you know what’s weird?

When I went in to claim my chicken (I was jabbing angrily at my receipt at the words CHICKEN SELECTS 5PCS over the din of screaming babies and frying…food), this lady looked at me with eyes as round as saucers, exactly the way Rae looks at me when I catch her trying to do something illegal, like trying to eat lip balm.

And from a corner of those metal counters and shelves with blinking lights, she fished out my box of Chicken Selects, quickly stuffed them in a bag and thrusted it to me.

It felt like she’d just handed me a colourful paper bag of coke, I shit you not.

I mean, aren’t there a MILLION Chicken Selects in there? WHY MINE?! I had carrot sticks for breakfast, for God’s sake!!

I wish I could say I will never go to a McD’s Drive Thru again but I really can’t. I love their Iced Coffee too much. And their Chicken Selects.

MY Chicken Selects.

Sheesh.

Also known as I’m too darn tired to write so I’m posting random pics I took during the week instead.

Also known as, it’s so beautiful outside who wants to sit at home and blog!?

(I will try and write something substantial soon – I’m just a little preoccupied these days with the setting up of the preschool and the sunshine. Yes, I am loving the sun again, isn’t that hilarious? Months of freezing rain and subzero windchills would do that to even the most cold-blooded of creatures).

But enough talk. On to the sunny, summery pictures!

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This morning, Lokes and I were on our way to his office for a meeting with his boss (well, he’s the one with the meeting – I had to go get Rae’s cake), and on the radio, we heard about Senator Barack Obama coming to Seattle.

We heard that they were charging people $25 to $100 to get into Qwest to see him?

Did we hear that right?

I Googled the event and got hit with this blog.

Now that is just hilarious.

I’m not into politics (although I imagine if I were, I’d not be very good at it being something of a pushover and a wimp) but is this common practice, to have to buy a ticket to watch a senator speak? Really, I’m asking, ‘coz this is just too funny!

It’s like he’s a rock star or something (all due respect to the Senator, I mean, I think he’s kinda cute). But isn’t he trying to get votes or something to be the next president? So, looking at it very simplistically, one is PAYING to hear why one should vote for him?

Conflicted, no?

Please, educate me.

I spent all day working on our new blog.

(yes, I took that photo!)

This Saturday, we’re going to be shouting it from the rooftops as we join Duvall’s annual festival celebrating our little town.

Well, from the sidewalks, anyway.

Please hope and pray that we will get enough enrollment to kick things off.

So exciting!

Yooooooo peyyyyayyyeps!

Okay, no, this is not going to be another lame lazy-ass-lyrics- passing-off-as-insightful-poetry entry (although Brandi Carlile is really hotter than, than, than, like, even my husband, who’s back after three and a half weeks, so I really shouldn’t be sitting here and typing although we are planning for an evening of hot welcome-to-summer sex so I can spare 20 minutes to throw something together for my favourite peyyyayyayeps so y’all know I’ve not gone soft or just gone).

First of all, school’s out. Rae cried through her little not-graduation graduation ceremony in school because she didn’t get to be first. I cried because I am a wimp. And that’s why, my preschool mommy friends who are reading this, I took off quick today because I didn’t want a redux. These things have a nasty way of replaying themselves and if I don’t watch it, I might just be known as That Silly Blogging Lady Who Can’t Stop Crying before the summer is over, so No More Crying! You girls promise to meet up, like, everyday over the summer and I will be A O Kay!

Anyway, this week is Crazy Ass Week because we have a gajillion things going on.

So graduation’s over, and next, we have Rae’s fifth birthday party this Friday, held five days early because Lokes is back only until Sunday – no, don’t even GO there – when he will be flying off again for a little less than ONE MONTH. So the plan is the girls have to spend like every second of every minute of every hour of every of the THREE AND A HALF DAYS with their dad before he’s gone again. Skyler was a little stunned this morning at breakfast.

“Where daddy? Where?!” she asked, panicking. It’s a good thing she’s two ‘coz it might be cause for concern that she’s JUST noticed her dad’s not around when he’s been gone almost four weeks.

Next is the parade this weekend for our little town, and the girls are actually going to be IN the parade with their little trikes and carts. And while Lokes is taking them through the thing, I will be fielding questions for our new preschool around town, handing out flyers and trying to convince bystanders and parade-watchers and sidewalk-walkers that a cooperative preschool is the Way To Go, people!

Our one reprieve? Free pancakes all morning Sunday morning at the fire station the day after the parade – after which Lokes will take off for Orlando for Tech Ed and then to India and then to Japan and to Germany.

But first things first: The hot sex.

(no podcast for this ‘coz I can’t say ‘sex’ and not giggle a little. Sorry!)

I consider myself an easy-going person.

Hell, some will even consider me a pushover, the kind of easy-going I’ve got going on.

I am the type of person who gets onto a train and while everyone is pushing and shoving their way to a seat, I scan for a place to stand.

I am the type of person who listens to a conversation and waits for everyone to give their opinions before rendering my own, for fear of sounding stupid or judgmental.

I am the type of person who almost never sends back food. Which is why I always give soup a few good stirs, to work up anything that’s at the bottom to make sure there are no surprises. And if I do find a fly at the bottom AFTER I’ve almost finished, I will often just convince myself that I have eaten things that are far worse, rather than make a fuss.

Which is why I rarely order soup. Unless it’s French Onion. I love French Onion. I’ll eat pretty much anything with onions.

Moving here to the US really tested my easy-goingness. Even with a very healthy sense of adventure (I’m always up for a good time or at the very least, good food, bugs and all!), I found myself hopelessly lost in a new world, as though I’d been misplaced instead of having voluntarily relocated. For months, I was very lonely, even as I’d found new mommy friends and my kids had already picked up faint American accents. And then, slowly but surely, I’d adapted. It took half a year, and while America is still not home yet, I am pretty sure I will get there – even if it kills me.

A few days ago, an old friend of mine who’d relocated to San Francisco with her husband last year, called to catch up. We engaged in the usual small talk and soon, the conversation turned to how each of us were coping with the change. As she and her husband have no children, they live very differently from us. Each weekend was almost always a mini vacation. Evenings were spent entertaining or being entertained. What about me, she asked. Oh, you know, playing chauffeur to the kids. Playdates, playgrounds, playgroups. Boring mommy stuff.

“But you’ve integrated so well, Jenn,” she said. “Most of my friends are Malaysians and Singaporeans.”

The conversation veered to news back home, where she’d informed me that a friend of ours was marrying royalty. And then she talked about Mahathir having had a heart attack. I wasn’t aware, as I hadn’t read Malaysiakini in a while.

“Aiyo, have you become an American?” she teased.

I laughed uneasily.

Fact is, I do read Malaysiakini. But I also read the Seattle Times. I do keep in touch with my family and friends back home, and read their blogs from time to time. But I also read American blogs and socialize with my American friends. After all, I have children and I don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing who my children want to be friends with. Not for reasons of wanting to get back into my comfort zone anyway.

It worries me – no, it ANNOYS me – that I may be a little out of touch with the country I was born in. But it’s not like I was Mrs Malaysiana even when I was IN Malaysia. Nobody faults you for being less Malaysian when you wear Nikes or watch every American TV program that Astro can get in, or when you can’t even name your own Deputy Prime Minister when you are IN Malaysia.

So I fall out of touch with things Malaysian some times. Who cares?

Apparently I do. And it irritates the hell out of me.

This is what bugs me: I find it hard to subscribe to the belief that patriotism, or ethnicism, if there is such a word, has anything to do with how much history you know or where you have chosen to live in the world. Neither does it have anything to do with the kind of parent or child you are.

In this day and age, why are people still so hung up on sticking to a set of rules or practices just because of heritage? Isn’t it better to absorb and distill the best you can get from all the cultures and people you meet?

I am a Malaysian Chinese, and I love and respect my heritage. Does that mean I should only go to a doctor of Chinese medicine or a bomoh? And speak only Malay and Mandarin?

Home is not where you’re born, but where your heart finds peace, says Tommy Nordgren, a computer programmer. Or where you belong, says artist Tonda Koroma. For me, home finds you. You walk into a house and despite the rickety stairs and the leaking roof, you know that’s the one because it just feels right.

Same thing with moving to another land. You meet the natives. You eat the food. You celebrate their festivals. Something clicks. And you’re home.

Yes, it is hard to integrate or adapt to a new place, no matter how easy-going or xenophobic you are. It was hard for me. It is still hard because hell, I was 32 when I left Malaysia. That’s 32 years of living in the same place, eating the same food, reliving the same experiences. And while I will never trade my heritage, friends and family for anything in the world – I am not going to let that stop me from finding home – wherever I am.

[mp3]http://theimperfectmom.com/podcasts/tim052307.mp3[/mp3]

Listen to The I’mPerfectMom Podcast, featuring Amanda Avigdale‘s ‘Enchanting’, available under the Creative Commons licence.