Some Thoughts About My Reconnecting with Old Friends In China

As internet advances day by day, I suddenly found myself reconnected with many old friends back in China. While each of them is different in many ways, they do have one thing in common: they are all richer than me. Many of them are wisely satisfied with their wealth, enjoying their daily life in China, but some are extremely unhappy, especially those pro-USA type. Their unhappiness is derived from their blind belief in democracy and western world. One of my high school classmates has houses (not really individual houses, but condominium type) in multiple cities, retired at the age I could only dream of, still sincerely believes my life is immeasurably superior than hers, only because of the fact that I live in US. She also believes that everything US has been doing to the world represents justice and humanity. The image of “international policeman” is so powerful and romantic, like a knight with shining armor during middle age.

This really is a marvel to me because it shows democracy really could work like a belief system to those who know nothing about it. To them, democracy is a religion, America is their Jerusalem! Sure I have no doubt democracy is a relatively better system than that system of China (whatever they call it), but at currently moment of history, not everything in China is so terribly behind, and not everything in US is so heavenly perfect (namely the notorious health care!).

I do like America more than China. Regardless the challenges I’ve been through since I came to this country, I had no slight regret of my choice. But I also know, there’s no heaven on this earth. We must appreciate what we have, and try not torment ourselves by things we could not have.

June, I Said Hello to the Sun

When the first wave of summer heat came in June, I set out alone
to greet the Sun
I wanted to see how faraway the horizon stretched
I wanted to know how tall maples and pines grew
I relished exuberant color of green
I rode on swift gusts of wind
The dandelion on the sidewalk – whom I secretly loved
nodded to me without knowing my ambition
Roaming clouds – whom I adored unreservedly,
joined my journey without knowing my destination
Oh June, I said hello to the Sun
with long lost passion
telling her that I was ready to write
another song of

Is Money Important?

Just because that money ALONE is not enough does NOT mean money is not important. As matter of fact, since humans invented money for the more complicated trading (than barter), making money has been the most important means for us to survive. So if we agree that survival is the most important thing for our life, money naturally becomes the most important thing in our life.

So people who say money is confused about the difference between sufficient condition and necessary condition.

(Sorry that I currently do not have any more mature thoughts to write. lol)

Spread Love, Not Hatred

Yesterday, I went to public library to vote. In voting room I saw a teenager working there who looked familiar. So I asked her:”Do I know you somewhere?” “Maybe”, she said, with a voice of boy. Instantly I realized her face looked identical to a student I taught long time ago, so I gave her a hint:”I teach art.” “I was in your art classes.” “R****!” I called out her name, though with low voice. She gently nodded.

I found, not only her hair was short, her voice was also totally changed. So I thought that she must be going through sex change. However, after we talked a little, I hurried to finish my voting business, then said goodbye to her.

On the way back I talked about this with my girlfriend, who was driving. She said I might be a little imprudent by mentioning HIS previous name, because he might not want to people know about it. I agreed. I also thought, after all these years, he was still a teenager, going through sex change he must suffer both physically and mentally, and my reaction of meeting him seemed a bit “cold”. So I told my girlfriend that I wanted go back to give him a hug. Instantly, she turned the wheel around.

Back in voting room I walked directly to him and said:”I came back because I owe you a hug.” He broke into a wholehearted smiled and we hugged, during which I told him that I was proud of him. Then we exchanged some more words and I said goodbye again.

Long time ago I read Ellen Degeneres’ mother’s biography Love, Ellen, in which she wrote about the moment when Ellen confessed to her about her lesbian secret. Her reaction was giving her daughter a hug, because what jumped in her mind first, was that her daughter had been suffering. I could never forget this detail of the book, because it made such a striking contrast with many of those parents who ditched their gay children.

I do not have children, but I am proud of what I did yesterday.

Yes, let’s spread LOVE, not hatred.

Padma Basic – Panacea?

It’s been a full month since I took Padma Basic, and my health condition completely changed. This is quite amazing, as I believe more in lifestyle than just one single remedy.

Prior to my taking this product, my health condition was overall up to 70%, and my root problem – shortness breath still occurred frequently, especially after I taught classes, when I had to talk a lot. Padma Basic seemed to stop this problem almost “right away”. Not only that, my overall condition has been elevated to a brand new level (up to 90% without any crash).

Padma is supposed to be effective for cardiovascular problem. I am certain benefited from that, as heart problem has been my number one “foe” for all these years. However, it seems that what Padma does to me the most is “balancing”. I eat the same foods, do the same amount of work, but my energy increased. Where does it (my energy) come from? “A balanced system”, that’s my answer. Padma helps my body to put all the unconnected “pieces” together, so my body works more effectively. As matter of fact, after taking Padma, when I went to sleep at nights, I literally felt a harmony/peace that I had not felt for ages.

I’ve tried many herbs since last year summer, most of them worked well in different way, but comparing to Padma, they seems to be more or less temporary and partial. As the friend how recommended Padma to me said, there is no panacea, but if there is one, Padma is the closest we can get.

Many times during past years I have said I was up to 80% and on the way to fully recover, but soon I was proven wrong. This time, I have reasons to believe it is true.

As a “lifestyle believer”, I will still keep focusing on my daily routine – foods, sleep and exercise. I believe no matter how effective Padma is, it won’t work as well without good lifestyle. Health progress is a combined effort, that’s what I still believe.

I still have lots of problems, but after being sick for so long, I learned to be patient. 🙂

“Starry Night” – A Thanksgiving Note to Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night. Oil on can...
Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night. Oil on canvas, 73×92 cm, 28¾×36¼ in. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had an evening class the day before Thanksgiving day. One 10 year-old girl was painting acrylic, another three younger ones (about 7 year-old) were doing collages by using construction paper. One boy got tired of collage, so I just let him do whatever he felt like. He said without thinking: “I am going to draw ‘Starry Night'”. He looked at me.

“‘Starry Night?'”

“Yes.” He said.

“Yes, ” another girl Rachel Liu immediately responded, “I love that picture!”

“Are you guys talking about Van Gogh’s painting?”

“YES!” 3 of them “yelled” at me at the same time. Then they told me they had school projects that were based on this painting and they all enjoyed them very much.

I was “amused” by how they liked such a “profound” masterpiece, considering how many adults don’t even “understand” it. So I asked Rachel: “Do you really like that picture?”

“Yes, I like it!” She answered without hesitation.


“???… eh…” She thought a little moment, “I don’t know.” She said with a little shyness.

“But you do like it. I mean, you LOVE it, right?”

“Yes.” She looked at me, nodded her little head determinedly.

The boy was anxiously waiting for the conversation to end. He asked me: “I want to drawing ‘Starry Night’, do you have it?”

I immediately checked my Van Gogh books but found it was not there. So I rushed to my computer and printed it from online. When I brought the picture to classroom, they all cheered up loudly: “That’s the one!”

The boy’s recreating “Starry Night” did not succeed, because there was not enough time. Before he left class, I asked him if he wanted the print of “Starry Night”, he looked at me surprisingly: “really? I can have it?”

“Yes, of course!”

He grabbed the print with great joy and thanked me.

That night, the night before thanksgiving, I found myself keeping thinking of Van Gogh. I realized, despite the fact that Van Gogh was not accepted at his time, and he was still not “understood” by millions adults now and then, he nonetheless touched these children’s hearts. And from these children’s eyes, I know it was joy they received from his painting.

Thanks Vincent! How I wish there’s a way to let you know about this.Enhanced by Zemanta

My Dreams

Full Moon 2
Full Moon 2 (Photo credit: ecotist)

I was officially 48 year-old by last month. Somehow I felt an urge to write an auto-bio, but my instinct told me to wait a little longer, in case I get really famous so my bio could make me lots of money. Plus, my English isn’t quite “there” yet. Nonetheless, I decided to satisfy my vanity vicariously: instead of writing a bio – an experience that mostly related to what I did during daytime, I would write my dreams – an experience about what I did during my sleep. I believe dreams are more or less reflections of our daytime life experience.

Below were some quite interesting dreams during the first half of my life (if I could live until 96) , in chronological order:

Escape dream: these type of dreams occurred in my earlier life, from my childhood to my early teen years. In these dreams, I always carried my (older) sister on my back, running away from some dangers. The typical scenario was during WWII China (obviously adapted from some movies I watched), I was running away from Japanese soldiers who were chasing us. The dream was extremely intense, like some suspense thrillers, and always ended up with my waking up with despair in the last moment before I got really captured.
My interpretation of these dreams is very simple, in early years of my life I was burdened by my family, there were times that this burden was too heavy for me to endure. Poor me!

Flying dream: my happiest dream ever! Inside I would literally fly, high or low, I had that wonderful view of earth. Sometime I seemed to descend unwillingly, but with a little effort I ascended again, soaring through mountains, cities, forests, and oceans!
This dream is the dream of freedom – while flying high, I had a tasted that ultimate freedom I yearned for. I don’t know when I started having these dreams but I know I started when I was very young, and during my early middle age they seemed to vanished. Maybe that means I felt trapped during my years of middle age hazard. But now I do feel free again, and I hope they come back soon!

Supernatural dream: these dreams are quite unexplainable. Here is the latest example which I would call “phone dream”, it was about my phone. In reality, I have this normal telephone set, if someone call me, the light in screen of my phone would turned on first, also the red light signals on answering machine would flash a couple of seconds before the phone rings. One day (about one year ago) I was taking a nap, I dreamt my telephone handset started flashing some signals, then it rang. I know this is no miracle at all, but what really happened was, my phone in reality rang at the same time as in my dream, EXACTLY the same moment! This means, somehow, even if I was sleeping, I foresaw the upcoming event in perfect precision.
Here is another example which took place much earlier in my life, about 20 years ago: in a dream I was sitting inside a room. The room had a window that was on the same side of the door, which means, if someone come to my door, I usually would see him/her passing through the window first. Then in my dream I saw a person walking pass the window, as if she (I believe it was a girl) was walking toward my door, then I heard the sound of knocking door. And just like my “phone dream”, the sound of knocking occurred at the exactly same time in my dream and in reality – someone was outside my door. Of course I woke up, startled, opened the door, and there stood my friend!
This type of dreams happened several times in my life, for what I can remember, at least 4, or 5 times. I found they are quite unexplainable.

First-lady dream: another unexplainable dream! In this dream I was a first lady of the country (China) during Nationalist regime (before Communist). This is a big deal, because it means, as a lesbian, somehow I managed to be the wife of Jiang Kai Shek! The “scenario” was simple, I was standing beside my President husband, posed idly for press conference photo taking after some important meeting regarding some important international matters.
I have absolutely no slightest idea about how I had this dream, but one thing I do understand is the choice of scenario – after the “important meeting”, because even in my dream I deliberately avoided the situation that would expose my completely ignorance about those “important international matters”. However, I have to admit, the choice of Jiang Kai Shek was extremely unsound, consider I had total freedom to choose any president I wanted.

1986, I walked through a plank road on Hua
mountain in China, the most precipitous
mountain in China. Underneath about
one foot wide wooden plank which I
stepped on was thousand feet high cliff
 (over 80 degree steep).
P.S. this photo was not taken in my 
dream:-) and I indeed reached the top
of cliff – see next picture.

Climbing Dream: I had this dream a few times in different phases of my life: I was climbing a very steep cliff, either by hands or by driving (a car). The cliff was so steep that it almost passed the 90 degree and I was at the edge of falling off. A few times I woke up in panic condition, a few other times, I don’t remember how I ended the “story”, but I do remember couple of times I did reach the top of cliff.
I had these dreams usually when I had some “goals” to achieve. Indeed, sometime my goals were just too high. I am glad I do not have any “goals” anymore.

Blind Dream: these dreams were devastating. Inside them I either drove a car with a broken break, or saw the heavy snow or rain covered my windshield, in whatever way, I could not see things in front of me. The worse thing was, the car was always moving, which made me felt complete loss of control.
These dreams happened during first half of my middle age (I suppose I am still in middle age::-)), when I was totally lost, totally don’t know where to go. Good thing is, after sky fell, I saw another wider sky. So I don’t have this kind of dream any more. Thank God!

Journey Dream: I started having this dream during recently years. In it I usually rode bike, needed to go somewhere that seemed to be too far away to reach. It usually happened in the night, where I could not get any helps – no bus, no train, but only a bike,… During the dreams I was not terribly dreadful, but I did feel tired, and inadequate.
These dreams reflect my chronic physical problem. It lasts so long that sometime I did have doubt that I could ever get recovered completely. I occasionally still have this dream, but hopefully, as my physical condition improve, they would go away.

Above are some dreams I think worth to write down so far in my life. I think they somehow interpreted my life experience. There must be tone of other interesting dreams but unfortunately, I can only remember them on the day when I die. Most of these dreams I remembered happened multiple times during different phases of my life, except “first lady dream”, which was a “one time privilege”, I suppose.

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Meadow, acrylic painting, by Maggie Xing, 17 year-old


A tree, acrylic painting, by Maggie Xing, 17 year-old


Portrait of an unknown person, by Rosemary Yin, 13 year-old


Flowers, pastel, by Rosemary Yin, 13 year-old


Flowers, acrylic, by Rosemary Yin, 13 yr-old


Lighthouse, Acrylic, by Sonya Zhang, 15 yr-old


Portrait of an unknown person, by Casie Xin, 13 yr-old


Portrait of an unknown person, by Cathleen Chen, 13 yr-old


Acrylic painting from a photo, by Cathleen Chen, 13 yr-old


Still Life sketch, by Grace Xiang, 10 yr-old


Portrait of an unknown person, by Jenny Xin, 15 yr-old


Self-portrait, by Jessica Wu, 15 yr-old


A bird, sketch, by Lauren Su, 15 yr-old


Portrait of an unknown person, by Jessica Wu, 15 yr-old


Sketch of an eye model, Jessica Wu, 15 yr-old

Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety
Performance anxiety (Photo credit: Jen SFO-BCN)

I have performance anxiety since ever. I guess partially because how I was brought up, partially because of my “special” or “different” nature. I pretty much do anything better without supervision. One example is learning driving stick shift car. By all means I am a talented driver, but in the first lesson of stick shift driving given by my friend, in his new car (I had hitherto learned basic driving skills in automatic car with help of another friend) , I was so nervous, and stopped engine every time when I started it. But same day at night, when I was trying on my own car by myself, I “miracally” moved my car out of parking lot at the first attempt. And by that single move, I knew pretty much all the secret about gearshift. After couple of times practices by myself (yes, illegally), I felt I was an experienced driver already. So when another friend checked on me several days later, he was surprised by my performance and said: “you already know how to drive, let’s go to highway”.

Having such problem, as a teacher, I always try my best not to let my students feel nervous by not staring at their performance all the time, as I fully believe that they could do better if they have more chances to experience the process by themselves. Most students are doing well, no matter I look at them or not, but a few of them do have such “anxiety”. One of them is so obvious that whenever she knew I was looking at her direction, she started drawing or painting “nonsense”. What’s worse is, she doesn’t listen. And I know this is not because she can’t, but because she could not focus her mind – instead of listening me, she was thinking of how others (especially her father) would think of her if she could understand what I said. Not only she has this problem, she also learned “smartly” to hide it. I don’t know how many times she quickly responded my questions/suggestions before I even finished my sentences, or before my points were fully represented. I also notice, her anxiety went worse when his parents was present at classes, which always is the case.

Her father was overall happy with her works but as soon as she did works not so outstanding, he would show his concern, by occasionally standing in front of his daughter, worrying her mistakes. Obviously, more and more, Her father realized my teaching “philosophy” a “little” hard to understand, and implied in conversations that he didn’t think it’s a good idea to leave students alone. I tried my best to let him understand what I think, but I don’t think he could get it.

This student is only 10. She already learned to pretend to be someone else. I know she is trying very hard to be smart and quick learning, as those qualities are what her parents encourage in all possible situations: schools and family or social gathering. That’s why she always respond me instantly (or pretend not hearing me at all), regardless she understands or not. Yesterday, I finally told her, while her father sitting somewhere a few yards away: “if you didn’t understand me, just ask me again. It’s nothing to be ashamed of if you cannot understand your teacher, but it’s not good for you to pretend you understand things you do not.” I said a little loud, clearly, just to make sure her father heard every word.

Not sure how my straight forward style works, but I am sure these students could do better if their parents do not expect so much from them. I don’t doubt these parents’ love to their kids (though I do doubt the quality of their love), as I could see they indeed give lots of love to their kids, but sometime I feel, this love, like “tiger mother”‘s, mix with high expectation, might do some different kind of damage (if not more) than those child abuses without love, because, with this “love”, kids get even more confused.

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