Friday, May 28, 2010

My hair is just like Mommy's

I never thought I would get words of wisdom, or universal truths, from Battle Star Galactica, but I did. At one point, Adama is talking to his son Lee and he says and I quote loosely, "when you have children, you see yourself reflected in their eyes." It struck me as true when I heard it, and as I thought about it more I realized that I believe it. When I see my daughter look at me in her eyes I see love, trust, and her absolute belief in my perfection looking back at me. I'm her mom. I am her first role model, and her first model of feminine beauty. In her mind, when she thinks of what a woman should be like, her first thought will be of her mother.
And then it struck me. We are not losing our girls to image disorders through unreal images in magazines, or to super skinny tv and movie actresses. We lose our girls even before that. What is a girl supposed to think when she sees her mommy, the most perfect being in the world and mommy has nothing but negative things to say about herself? How is she supposed to feel when the hair that "looks just like Mommy's" is constantly being changed and treated to "make it more beautiful" on Mommy's head? Or when people tell her she has her mommy's eyes, nose, legs, hips, or whatever, and mommy spends all day talking about how much she hates her eyes, nose, legs, hips, or whatever. And she is watching us. I cringe now thinking back on all those mom's groups where spent the whole two hours talking about dieting, or tummy fat. I don't want her to think that her thighs, or butt or whatever are less than ideal.
We can talk about the media and the unrealistic expectations that these images place on our daughters, but she's watching. How is she supposed to believe what we are saying if we are essentially saying to her, "You are beautiful just the way you are, but Mommy just needs to lose 15 lbs"?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hao Ke ai!

So Babes and I went to the zoo yesterday and had a blast! I won't gush anymore about how wonderful a place the Taipei zoo is, or how much I like to go there... I've done enough of that. Instead I'm going to talk about the exhibit/celebrity status Babes has where ever we go in Taipei. Taiwanese people LOVE little kids. Men, women, girls, boys they all like little kids. Which is great, it means that you can take your child many places that you might not think about taking them in the US. We take Babes with us all over the place, restaurants, museums, malls, on the bus, subway, taxis, everywhere! And for the most part no one ever looks at us strangely for bringing a kid, and usually there's at least one other kid there too. And Taiwanese kids stay up late so often there are kids out doing things when Babes is already tucked in bed and well on her way to dreamland.
The downside to this is that it sometimes feels as if Babes is something akin to a celebrity. Not only is she a little kid, but she's different. She's got curly hair, big eyes, and long lashes (yeah, I'll admit it, she is pretty cute). Taiwanese people LOVE her. I have much sympathy for celebrities these days. There are many times when I'm sitting having lunch with Babes, and after we turn down the fifth person for a photograph, I just want to scream "WE JUST WANT TO EAT OUR LUNCH IN PEACE! PLEASE!" But I don't, because they mean well, instead I ask Babes if she wants to take a picture with these people, and inevitably she says no, and then I apologize to the nice people and say "I'm sorry, she doesn't want to take a picture." Then they look disappointed and go away.
And for the most part people are truly good hearted about it. They say "hao Ke ai!" meaning how cute. They mention a feature, they giggle, sometimes they offer her something (candy, toys, pens, pencils), sometimes they ask to take a picture, and then they leave us in peace. Very seldom do people take liberties, and it's mostly teenage girls (or old ladies) who try to touch her hair, or give her hugs. I generally don't mind it, because these people are teaching Babes better than words not to talk to or trust strangers. It's a little sad that she's becoming shy, but in the long run it's better.
Sometimes it's a little annoying. Although I usually get a kick out of kids trying to get together enough English to ask us for a picture. I love the discussion that goes on, and then the sacrificial lamb with the most English comes forth to stammer out a question. I usually feel bad denying them, I can see how much courage it takes. But Babes is pretty adamant about not wanting a picture. She will smile, sometimes, and sometimes wave, and she might answer a question, but generally no pictures. After a day of this at the zoo, I think even Babes was fed up with the attention. As we left the zoo, I heard her repeating over, and over, "hao ke ai! Hao ke ai!"

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Friday night

We've been trying to find things for our racially/culturally/religiously blended family to do together. I've been taking Babes to church on some Sundays, we celebrate some of the Jewish Holy days as well as the Christian ones, and since she has started to understand more we have Shabbat dinner on Friday nights. As a Protestant I find the whole thing a little odd. My brand of protestantism does not have quite so much ritual. In fact, thinking over things, I don't think there is anything of ritual at all as a Baptist.... no wait, there is communion... which could be a smaller version of the shabbat ritual I guess.
But anyway, on Friday nights we gather around the table. I lay out the freshly baked Challah on a plate with some salt, and a glass of wine in a special cup. When the sun goes down Babes and DH light a candle. Then we sit at the table while DH says a prayer over the wine and we all take a sip. After wards we have a ritual hand washing then return to the table where DH breaks the Challah and holds it in his hands and says a brief prayer over it. Then I say grace and we eat.
Anyway, here are some pictures of the fresh baked Challah.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


One of the good things about living in Asia (specifically Taiwan) is 7-11. Now if you are from the US you are probably thinking, "what? 7-11?" Because you are thinking of US 7-11 a dirty, dingy, badly lit convenience store where you can buy overpriced milk, chips, and an assortment of low-grade fast food. 7-11 in Asia, is a bright, friendly, well-lit place where you can do almost everything.
Let's start with the food. Babes and I often pick up lunch at 7-11 (it's on the way home from her school). They have a pretty good selection of semi-fresh things, from weird sandwiches, hand rolls, and noodles to bagels and thousand year old eggs. They also have a small selection of frozen things like dumplings, and LOTS of dried noodle packages. Babes and I often pick up Fantuans (which are like triangle shaped hand rolls) and/or a package of instant noodles. The rest of the stuff is just like any other 7-11; chips, sodas, juice, bottled teas, alcohol and convenience items.
And then there are all the other services that 7-11 provides. I have paid my phone bill at 7-11, added money to my transit card. You can pay your water and electric at 7-11, your cable bill, your cell phone bill. I have seen people send packages from 7-11 and I have heard that they will make travel arrangements (but I can not confirm this from personal experience). You can also pay your parking tickets, no need for meters in Taiwan, they print you out a bill and you take it to 7-11 and pay. You can also buy concert tickets! Who needs pesky government agencies when you have 7-11? And with one on every corner (sometimes both corners!) most people can make all of their utilities payments on their way to work.
Yes Sir! 7-11 in Asia really is your one stop shop, open day and night!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Lame Duck

*SIGH* We have now reached that place in an assignment where there's not enough time left at post to start anything new, but not yet soon enough that we are actually leaving. I have actually put it off here longer than I usually do because I've been in denial that we are actually leaving. But I REALLY feel it today. I am antsy and bored, but I don't want to do anything. Add to it an antsy child who is *supposed* to be home sick from preschool and you have one irritated mommy.
The Foreign Service is very good for people who constantly like a change, because there are always new challenges, but this lame duck period is frustrating.
It's like the last semester of high school or college after you've been admitted to the next college or grad school. You don't feel like studying, you don't really want to leave, but you can't wait to get out. Similarly, I don't want to start packing because it's too soon, I don't want to start anything new because it's too late. I'm not looking forward to leaving, but I'm anticipating getting out.

**On another note, a friend of mine is going in for her final fertility treatments this month, if you are so inclined please pray for a successful visit, if praying is not your thing please send happy conception thoughts her way. She really is the sweetest person I know and would make a wonderful mother.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

So I thought I was doing something

I have been so smug and proud of myself this year. I thought that I was making healthier choices because I generally walk or take the bus where I want to go. Most of the time I walk with Babes so we walk, and we walk, and we walk. When we go to the store it's a 45 min walk. Walking to the bus stop is 10 min. Walking to friend's houses from the bus stop 15 min or more. I thought I was getting TONS of work outs. But no. Since Babes has been going to school I've been walking by myself at regular speed. It turns out that the store 45 min with Babes - 10 min tops by myself. The bus stop is just a hop skip and a jump away, and it really is faster to just walk to the grocery store than to get on a bus.
I knew Babes had little legs and likes to walk slow, but I didn't know HOW much she was slowing me down. And let me just tell you, it's not usually a pleasant 45 min. to the store, it's a grueling drag on my patience and arm. Because after about 20 min the rest of the time is spent dragging a whining child who doesn't really want to walk anymore, so I get to the store/home/wherever wiped out and irritated.
However, this explains why I haven't really lost any weight. I'm not really exercising, just taxing my patience. Ah well, it's worth it not to have to drag a stroller around.