Best Exercise

Being a fulltime parent, especially if the circumstances make you into a fulltime single parent, must be the best exercise in learning how to live in the moment. To be in the moment every second together with your kid. Nothing else requires your attention. Nothing else needs your attention. Nothing else deserves your energy. But it is only you who can decide to accept the exercise and fully commit to it. 

Klein Ding

Het zijn vaak de kleine dingen die verrassend kunnen aanvoelen als de grootste overwinningen. Met hem op mijn rug spontaan boodschappen doen. Het was om hem te leren wennen maar het ging zo goed dat we maar meteen even wat boodschapjes hebben gedaan. Het voelde bevrijdend want dit schreeuwt tesamen naar meer mogelijkheden. Nu is het wachten op mooier en warmer weer. 

Moon festival

Two days ago it was the Mid-Autmn Festival also known as the Moon festival. It is celebrated every year on the 15th day of the 8th moon. In the Western Calendar this is always somewhere in September. On this day the moon is full, and therefore round what actually symbolizes reunion of family and friends. Those who cannot make it to be with family and friends on this day look at the moon, knowing that their loved ones are doing the same, seeing the same moon and feel reunited anyway.

Moon cakes play an essential role in this festival. Weeks before you can already buy these little (about 7,5 cm in diameter, and 2 cm in thickness) cakes often made of e.g. lotus seeds, almonds and red bean paste. Sometimes a cooked salted duck egg yolk is placed in the middle of the cake. The crust is decorated with Chinese characters to wish one happiness, a good health and prosperity. People buy these moon cakes in beautifully decorated boxes actually more to give them away to friends and family and anyone else with who you have a good relationship (and want to maintain). Of course what you give, you’ll get back. Well..Maybe not always, but that is the way it should be.

moon3
I grew up with eating these moon cakes once a year, as my parents of course bought them and received them as gifts. We always had the ones with the egg yolk in the middle and I could never eat more than a quarter of the cake as the taste is very rich. After eating just a bit, I didn’t like them that much anymore. And as far as I can remember, we always had the same cakes, always the one with the salty yolk. Here in Beijing I discovered that there are many many different kind of mooncakes. I did not eat a lot of them, as I actually am not that fond of them, but when I ate the first one here a couple of weeks ago I was very surprised not to find the yolk in it. The yolk is the thing I like most.

So on this Mid-Autumn Festival, people gather together drink some wine or tea, eat moon cakes and look at the shiny bright moon. It was a bit cloudy in Beijing, but not too bad, I saw the moon, and I ate a cake filled with almond, and red bean paste. No yolk.

There are many legends about the Moon in China and one of the most famous is that of the goddess Chang’e ascending to the moon. I will refer you to wikipedia for the story. Just wanted to tell you that my father named me after Chang’e who lives on the moon. People here in China react positively surprised when I tell them my Chinese name. I think because it is such a typical Chinese name for such a non-typical Chinese girl like me. When I was younger I used to dislike my Chinese name, not knowing at all what it means. Now I think my dad made a good choice when he named his youngest daughter.

Bloody hot birthday

It is hot in Beijing! That is, for a Dutch girl like me, it is hot in Beijing. For my Australian friend, Simon, it is nothing as for him these are just normal temperatures. Last Saturday was the hottest day of this year, reaching a temperature of 37 degrees ! And it is not even June! I was walking in ZhongGuanCun, on busy streets surrounded by buses and cars and you can imagine how that even heats up the temperature more. Can you imagine how hot it will be in Summer?!?!

Today is the day that I reach the honourable age of 27. In the morning we visited the minorities park. A park dedicated to all the ethnic minorities in China, where you can have a insight view of the lives of minorities in China. It was too artificial for me. I’d rather travel around in China and visit places where you can find the ethnic minorities just living their daily lives. So no, this kind of parks cannot really impress me or draw my attention. Tonight I will go out for dinner with some nice friends here and hopefully I get used to the idea soon that it is only 3 years until I reach the ┬áhonourable age of 30! Pffffff…

Rochelhoest

Rokers…Ik ben helaas een roker..

Elke keer als ik wakker word in wat nog het meest voldoet aan de definitie van "mijn eigen bed" in Groningen sta ik op, neem ik een kop thee, een douche en ontbijtje alvorens ik mijn laptop aanzet en mijn mail en het nieuws bekijk onder het genot van de eerste sigaret van de dag.

In de zomer staat mijn raam wagenwijd open en kijk ik uit over een prachtige flat van 3 verdiepingen. Na gemiddeld 2 trekjes van mijn sigaret komt het gruwelconcert mij tegemoet. Een buurvrouw/man 2 huizen verderop heeft last van zijn/haar keel. Ongeveer een half uur lang is diegene aan het hoesten, rochelen, schrapen, en vooral rochelend hoesten alsof zij/hij elke ochtend haar longen eruit hoest, bijeen schraapt, weer doorslikt, ze opnieuw met grote moeite weer naar boven hoest en dit proces herhaalt zich gemiddeld 4 a 5 keer. Het weergalmt door de hele straat heen en echoed tegen de flat aan waar ik op uitkijk. En als je vindt dat dit al erg is dan kan ik je zeggen dat het in het echt nog erger is, ik kan gewoon niet de woorden vinden om te beschrijven hoe erg het echt is.

Na het derde trekje van mijn sigaret terwijl ik gedwongen luister naar het rochelconcert druk ik hem uit. Het is verschrikkelijk om aan te horen en nog erger om te weten dat het ongetwijfeld is veroorzaakt door die witte kankerstokjes waar ik ook te vaak aan lurk. Maar echt kappen, ho maar. Ik begrijp nog niet zo goed waarom ik er niet gewoon mee kap.