Posts Tagged ‘family’

Royal bloodlines

laelene Posted in stories,Tags: , , ,
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Before I forget, I want to write this down…

When I was young, my mom mentioned to me in passing that I could have been a princess/lady (??). Somehow that became a little joke I would tell occasionally, saying that I’m 2% princess. I also knew that I had Manchurian heritage from my mother’s side.

This week when my professor said I looked Han Chinese, I wasn’t so sure so I called up my mom to check. She confirmed my memory that our family had a lot of Manchu from her side (my grandma being full Manchu and my grandpa being half). Since bloodlines go through the men, we were technically considered Han because my grandpa’s dad was the Han in the family.

I also clarified the whole royalty situation (as best I could) and learned that my maternal grandmother’s paternal grandfather was the last generation that was supported by the emperor. What does that mean? Basically, he was closely related enough to the emperor that he was taken care of by the ruler. This was for a Manchurian dynasty called Huang zhu, if I heard correctly. So if they had hung in there another 100 years, I could be living a cush life right now. Per my calculations, that makes me up to 6.25% royal. 😛

Now imagine my amusement when one of my friends recently likened me to Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time… I know nothing about the show or about her, but I’m happy to embrace the title! 😉

Winter break

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , , , , ,
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Ah, inertia. Ever since Thanksgiving break, I’ve seen a noticeable decline in motivation in all my classmates. We sort of just didn’t want to get back into things after our first real break.

Now that we finally got through the rest of classes, finished up finals, and are on winter break, all I want to do is lounge around. I don’t want to check emails or read books as I thought I might have done. I don’t like watching TV, but for boredom’s sake I’d turn something on just to have it going in the background.

This is reminding me of the spring break I had once where I was one of the only people on campus and I basically watched a dance competition show nonstop. I completely messed up my sleep schedule that time, staying up until 7 or 8 am and sleeping through until 6 pm. At least this time I’m keeping somewhat normal hours, though I’ve lost all sense of what day it is.

I’ve only got two more weeks at home before leaving and I want to maximize my time doing nothing and hanging out with the cats. So that’s the plan.

I got my husband back!

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , ,
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It’s been 5 long weeks since Panda left me and I finally have him back again. I will never agree to such a long work trip again. It was far too much. I managed to stay relatively sane the first three weeks, but the last two have been much harder. I even gave up on eating properly and didn’t feel like anything, so I ended up resorting to instant ramen, mac & cheese, and frozen pizzas.

Now that he’s back, things are more lively again and the nights aren’t so lonely. I get to enjoy having food prepared for me and having someone to talk to after work. Even the cats get to have someone else to rub up against and spend time with. It’s nice to settle back into home life for awhile, before everything gets uprooted and I move to wherever I need to for my MBA.

I find it interesting that everyone asks me about my husband moving with me (and no, he won’t be). When I tell them, they are all shocked at how we will pass two years apart. I guess it’s more normal for Asian cultures to handle being apart for long periods of time. My parents do it all the time and much of my childhood was spent away from one or both of them. I wonder how many married MBAs go without their spouse. It seems like I will be the exception.

Anyway, I’m excited for the next couple months, where I’ll have a last chance to live this schedule before being engulfed by school. Soon enough there will be trips, orientation, classes, and so much more. I look forward to the change of pace. Turns out I get bored of a regular work schedule and I crave more unpredictability. Until then, I will appreciate having Panda back at home, being a complete family with our cats. 🙂

A string of travel troubles

laelene Posted in stories,Tags: , , ,
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For the past two weeks, my family has been struck by some really unfortunate incidents. It started exactly two weeks ago, when we happily drove from the hotel to Pier 91 in Seattle. My parents, husband, aunt, cousin, and I were set to embark on our week-long cruise to Alaska. After dropping them off, Panda and I drove to the nearest rental car location to drop off the car. The plan was to walk back to the pier, which was about 3 miles away. As we were enjoying the day, debating whether we should take a bus for part of the trip, I got a phone call from my parents: my aunt and cousin would not be allowed on the cruise.

It was one of those surreal moments where I thought, “Could this actually be happening?” But indeed it could and it did. Turns out they needed Canadian visas since there was a stop in Victoria, BC. We were never informed of this and didn’t even realize there was a Canadian stop along the way. It was too late to do anything at that point, so I started looking up last-minute flights to Oakland, where my other cousin was. We found the nearest bus stop and got to the pier as quickly as possible. On the way, I managed to find a decently priced flight that afternoon. It was pretty devastating to see my aunt and cousin for the last time, having to send them off to the airport when we should have spent a week together on our “family honeymoon” (as I called it).

That totally changed the tone of our trip and it just wasn’t the same. We still managed to enjoy ourselves, but not nearly as much as we could have.

Upon arriving home after the vacation, I then heard from my mom that my dad nearly missed his flight back to China. They overestimated the time they had and he barely got let on the plane while his luggage was not allowed. So my mom had to ship the contents separately. We’re having some bad luck, my mom told me, don’t go out if you don’t have to and let it blow over. She felt that we needed time for the pattern to break.

The next day, I was thinking about my upcoming plans (and the other big vacation of the year, to Europe) when I suddenly realized that a week of team events at work coincided with my grand vacation. The very week that my team lead had asked us to check our availability for was the week that I’d be gone for my trip. I can’t believe I had not made the connection earlier; everyone had likely already booked their flights. I felt absolutely awful and didn’t know what to do. I considered the costs of rearranging the trip, but with multiple flights and some prepaid hotels, it would be too much. This was my first big screw-up and I profusely apologized when I told my team lead. Luckily, he’s a very chill guy, so he didn’t make a fuss about it. I still feel bad though, and irresponsible.

So then I thought that maybe things were on the up and up. When my mom told me about my aunt losing her bag and having it stole in SF, I thought the troubles were back. But then it turns out the thief got hit by a car (what?!) and the police were able to return her purse when the processed the scene. Wow. And I did get a smile first thing Monday morning, when I had a gift on my desk: a bag full of cat toys. One of the guys who worked in our co-working space dropped it by over the weekend. Last Friday was his last day (of course his two weeks had to be during my vacation) and he’d been meaning to bring his extra cat things, but he kept forgetting. So I was super surprised when it actually showed up!

I’m hoping that this all means the unfortunate circumstances will stop plaguing us now. I’m generally a pretty lucky person, so I’d like things to return to normal.

A walk around Macau

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Last year, when Panda and I went to Hong Kong, we also got a chance to swing by Macau! His mom had spent some time there as a child, so it was pretty special. I don’t remember much from the time I went myself, so it was good to visit again. Check out some of the random things we saw, starting with some guys feeding the sea creatures at the MGM Macau. I want to do that!!!

fish tank feeding frenzy from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

fish and ray swarming diver from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

second diver entering tank from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Over at the Wynn, we watched a random show about the Tree of Life. The ceiling opened up, a tree came out of the ground, and there was some epic music. After some storytelling, the tree went back down and the ceiling closed up again… I vaguely remember seeing this the first time I was there.

Macau casino ceiling closing from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

And I got to witness a lady making treats! It’s like a crepe cookie wrapped with dried pork and seaweed. What a strange combo.

making handmade Macau treat from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Sleeping positions

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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How do you like to sleep?

Since Panda sleeps much earlier and I sit in bed on my computer, I’ve noticed some strange sleeping habits and positions that he’ll get into. He loves to be tightly tucked in under the blanket, complete with a tight tuck under his chin. It shuts in the hot air so much that he’ll sweat at night and I recently observed a drop of sweat making its way down his face and neck (ick). I prefer more air flow and will sometimes lay on top of the thick blanket with a light blanket or have various body parts sticking out of the blanket (typically my feet or one leg). I also like to have one leg bent up and one straight out. Since I leave a low light on, Panda will sometimes find creative ways to block the light – usually he’ll crook his elbow over his eyes, but I’ve found him with my nightgown wrapped around his head like a turban before.

There are some commonalities we share though – for one, we both like to sleep with our arms laying next to our heads, elbows bent. Perhaps we like airing out our armpits? We also like to take up a lot of space. For me, this generally means spreading out and draping my leg over him if necessary (he hates that). For him, it’s usually some strange contortion he managed to get into while twisting in his sleep. I’ve had to provide photo evidence of his transgressions to prove how he overran the bed and left me no space!

cat sleeping on bed with body twisted in strange positionI also like to keep things fresh by changing where we sleep in the bed. At first we’d swap sides every now and then. A few times we oriented our heads and feet the opposite way. Most recently we are sleeping sideways, parallel to the wall that the bed is against. Each time we change, Panda complains and hates the idea, but I’ve found that if I keep pushing, he tries it out and ends up enjoying it. Then that new spot is the default and the next change is another little battle (it’s like he forgot he didn’t want his “spot” the last time we changed either).

Even the cats have their funny sleeping preferences, like Smokey’s “happy nap” where she lays on her back in the middle of the floor, belly up and all paws facing the ceiling. As soon as she notices someone trying to take a picture of that, she quickly rolls over and runs off. When she’s in boxes, she loves to prop her chin and one paw over the edge. Meanwhile Missy is a huge fan of crawling in under the covers to snuggle up next to you. Or, if she’s on top of the blanket she’ll often end up belly up, chest to the side, and head twisted back. That’s when you know she’s really sleeping well. 🙂

So do you also have your own sleeping quirks?

Touching

laelene Posted in general blog, relationships,Tags: , , ,
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Monday night I was chatting with my dad about how grandpa was going to be visiting him in Beijing in a few months. He mentioned that grandpa had given me a ton of money for my wedding and that he’s so happy I’ll be married. That was so sweet of him. In my family, money is not really important – it exchanges hands rather freely and nobody hoards it all selfishly. Everyone earns their keep and family members help each other out as needed. The giving of money is really more symbolic than anything. It’s such a touching thing for my grandpa to give me money because he wants to celebrate. It’s completely unnecessary but a really nice gesture. I don’t know why it affects me so much, but it had me gushing tears.

For some reason, whenever I talk to my dad about my grandpa, I get all teary. It’s this crazy weird emotional thing where all the joy of unspoken love is just too much to keep inside.

My grandpa is undoubtedly the patriarch of our family. He is the father to four grown children, each with 2 kids of their own (well, except my father, with just me). We grew up having family gatherings each summer to celebrate his birthday. It was always a big deal, and we’d so some of the traditional Chinese things, like offer a peach bun. My cousins and I would sit at the children’s table as the adults marveled at the years gone by (and how big we were all getting). I always was meeting new relatives at these things (someone from each family including his nieces and nephews had to send a representative to be respectful to my grandfather, after all).

As a child, I would only spend a few months in China before returning to my American life. Most of my time I did not get to spend with family. What precious time I did have I wanted to hang out with my cousins (they were more fun, you see). I never sat with grandpa and had long chats or got to know what was in his mind or heart. We just aren’t that type of family. I have a deep respect and love for him that doesn’t require me to spend tons of time with him or say certain things just to feel or express it. He sits in the tenderest part of my heart.

One year when I went back to China, I was presented with an essay he’d written. In his 80s, he decided to put together a little summary of our family history. He outlined his family lineage all the way through to my cousins and their children. It was such a precious thing. My aunt sat with me and patiently helped me read through it (my Chinese isn’t great, but manageable). Maybe I get my sentimentality from him. That’s exactly the sort of thing I like, knowing some of our past. Now I have a full account of his parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren. It was then that I learned that I would have had another uncle, but he drowned as a child. Wow – the quietest bombshell ever.

Sometimes I do ache for the time that we could have spent together. What would it have been like to grow up being able to visit all the time? What I do know of him is that he loved raising birds. Whenever I was there, he was always checking on his birds, making sure they were doing well. He was enterprising too – in retirement, he found activities to keep his mind sharp even as his body started to weaken. He’s a bit deaf and his eyes are getting droopy, but he’s still got his mind and that’s a blessing.

I see him clearly in my dad and uncle, and maybe that’s why I have similar feelings about my dad. As the only male I grew up with, he was somewhat intimidating but a strong figure I respected. We are not much into expressing ourselves, but in adulthood we’ve started to explore ways to be more affectionate. Funny enough, digital interaction has allowed us to open up more. When I see him I see all the sacrifice, the hard work that he has given. It’s so touching how much he has done to make my life far less difficult. I don’t see him much, but he’s certainly in my heart too.

My father and grandfather’s actions are so subtle in their love that many may miss or dismiss it. But for me, they speak volumes. Ours are not relationships of hugs, praise, and hoopla. It is a quiet, joyous love that touches the heart deeply. And sometimes that’s a little overwhelming.

Caulking those cracks

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , ,
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For awhile now, Panda’s been talking about caulking the cracks we’ve been seeing. The builders left us with a tube of it, which we have been meaning to use. So two weekends ago, we went shopping and got a caulking gun. We opened up the caulk tube and got to work in the coldest part of the home – the stairway leading up to our unit. It turns out that I’m far better at it than he, so I ended up doing a lot of the work. I even had to fix some of the caulking he did (what would he do without me? ;)). The cats were also super fascinated by this activity, so they sat around watching. Panda was a bit worried that they may try to sniff and then lick the stuff, but they didn’t seem that interested in it.

Have you caulked your home before? We still have plenty to go and I keep putting it off. Would you hire someone for jobs like this or do it yourself like us?

crack by stairs of home prior to caulking

These were the cracks that we tackled.

caulk gun poking hole into caulk tube for use

We poked a hole to let the caulk get squeezed out, but eventually it clogged and came out the back end so I just scooped it out with my finger from the other end.

midway through caulking process with globs of caulk covering crack

Putting the caulk on in all its globby goodness. We tried smoothing it with a plastic card, but I found it easier and faster with my finger.

two cats sitting on stairs watching caulking project

The cats love to oversee our home improvement projects.

crack by stairs of home concealed after caulking job

Finished product! Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

Tandem weights

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,
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Panda and I seem to be in sync when it comes to our weights. We’re mostly around 122-124, with some spikes after eating a lot. Of course, he is a few inches taller so he’s certainly more slim overall. It’s funny how our natural weights just seem to coincide though. Recently when we weighed ourselves, we had both gained some weight. It must be from all the lazing around in the winter, so now we’re nearly 130! I’m sure it’ll go back down as the weather warms up again and we resume a higher level of activity in general. I wonder how many couples out there can say they weigh the same…

pair of women's feet on scalepair of men's feet on scale

When sisters meet

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , ,
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It’s been long enough now that Smokey and Missy are getting along pretty well. They still have some spats, but they mostly keep it civil. Here’s what it was like the first night Missy arrived after her trip. Smokey spent a lot of time stalking her and staring her down. She’d then hiss (I’ve only ever heard her hiss once prior to this) and sometimes run off. I was concerned about them both, so I kept a close eye for hours into the night. Panda and I ended up sleeping in separate rooms so both cats would have someone with them.

Missy first emerged into a brand new home.

Missy first emerged into a brand new home.

Eventually Smokey came by to smell what all the commotion was about.

Eventually Smokey came by to smell what all the commotion was about.

Missy took to the stairs nearby as her hiding spot.

Missy took to the stairs nearby as her hiding spot.

At some point she found a box to hide in and Smokey didn't even know they got so close!

At some point she found a box to hide in and Smokey didn’t even know they got so close!

Most of the night was spent monitoring Smokey as she stared at Missy from afar.

Most of the night was spent monitoring Smokey as she stared at Missy from afar.

Missy hid under the couch a bit and only emerged with coaxing.

Missy hid under the couch a bit and only emerged with coaxing.

Eventually we settled in for bed around 3, though Missy decided hiding under the bed felt more safe than being in it. Maybe she didn’t know that Smokey was stuck on the other side of the door.

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