Wednesday, March 26, 2008

thoughts like clouds

These days I am writing in my journal again. I like the space it allows, the privacy. Such a rare commodity.

The fire under the Goto Islands plan seems to have been extinguished. It's a pity but we'll figure out something else to do.

Do you think I would make a good nurse? Probably not but I want something to do that is pragmatic and gives us a livable income. Teaching is an obvious option though I wish the salary was just a tad higher. And that is only because I want to put Jason through university and enroll the boys in Montessori school.

I don't feel as anxious about things as I used to. Perhaps it is because we seem to be preparing ourselves in a better fashion this time. The combined total of our working hours is about 75-80 now. Jason is pulling in the most with two jobs that both require early, early rising on his part. We'll have enough savings to move wherever we decide. Now only to make a decision.

Sebastian keeps saying that we'll be moving back to Riverside (the neighborhood in Jacksonville where we lived before) soon because "we are Riverside people". Jason and I always exchange looks at this, wondering if we are in fact Riverside people. I would rather prefer to break away from Riverside once and for all. But what if Sebastian is right?

We are outside most days in my parents' backyard, blowing bubbles, riding bikes, and swinging. I enjoy laying on the ground, feeling the earth beneath me.

Monday, March 24, 2008

"I feel myself sprout like a cherrytree in this springtime.
Will it be possible that the feelings
return so secret, so autonomic
as if to go beyond oneself, to another dimension?
Wil it be possible to concentrate on each moment
and to reconstruct it in the heart,
that we be able to feign the faces until they are made present?"

-Richard Daniel PiƱa
from Light and Shadows for Sofia

a happy day to all of you. the bunny stopped here, leaving playmobil, fruit leathers, and bubbles (though i think he was followed by granny bunny who seemed to sneak some chocolates and dvds into the mix). we made natural dyes for the eggs yesterday from blueberries, raspberries, and spinach. i love the feel of finding real eggs, the weight they create in your basket as you slowly fill it up. as a child, easter was my favorite holiday filled with cousins and running around in shiny white buckle shoes. for us it was a celebration of spring and family, of lemonade and potato salad. and though it can't be the same (and shouldn't) for sebastian, in some way we'll share the joy of finding ordinary eggs masquerading as painted clay treasures for the day, hidden carefully in branches and buckets.

hope you enjoyed your day as well.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Support Tibet

I took an essay writing course in university where I was assigned with a paper that required a focus on a current affair that included interviews. I chose the topic of Tibet, a topic that was initially met with skepticism from my professor who believed that I actually just had a thing for Brad Pitt (which I didn't, by the way). I had long been interested in Tibetan Buddhism and the struggle for a free Tibet and wanted to use the research paper as an opportunity to gain a better understanding about the situation. At the time, I was working at the front counter of an alteration shop where all of the seamstresses were Chinese. They were very lovely ladies, well educated and extremely kind and funny. When I approached them for an interview concerning their opinion of Tibet though, I was met with resistance. Why would I want to write about that backwards place? they asked. Eventually, I managed to pry their honest opinions from them. I was shown a viewpoint drastically different from my own. They considered the Tibetans to be dirty illiterates, and even followed the party-line by referring to them as barbarians. I was surprised because none of my co-workers expressed any allegiance to their homeland and most of them considered themselves very open-minded liberals. Yet still this deep-seeded prejudice existed. I was grateful for their candid perspective as it helped me to understand the cruel intentions and practices against the Tibetans by the Communist Chinese since their takeover in the 1950s.
I would continue to research Tibetan Buddhism and culture throughout my undergraduate studies. Jason and I met because of his Free Tibet tee-shirt and eventually we both took refuge in a Karma Kagyu practice center. Through our sangha, we have had the privilege to know many Tibetan refugees. They are among the kindest people I have ever encountered. They have been through an incredible amount but can still laugh so easily. Simply being in their presence can center you and readjust your perspective. Just read the biography of our teacher, the Venerable Bardor Tulku Rimpoche, and consider that he is perhaps the most amazing human I have ever met. Tibetan Buddhists deem the hardships imposed on them by the Communist Chinese to be more than the apparent turmoil. They consider it an opportunity for others to learn of the Dharma.
And yet despite my knowledge, I was still shocked and appalled to hear about the recent crackdown on Tibetan protesters. My feelings were put into words by Scott Simon in this piece on NPR's Weekend Edition. It is very rare to hear such a perspective in the media, especially since the U.S. is now so indebted to China. His Holiness the Dalai Lama's response to this recent conflict was to plea for non-violence from both the Chinese in their armored tanks and the protesters led by Buddhist monks. There are images on the news of protesters tipping over vehicles and breaking the windows of shops and banks. These images are being used by the Chinese government to portray the protesters as being low and mean rebels. The Chinese government, like other totalitarian regimes, were quick to declare such "rebels" as terrorists under the precedent of the War on Terror. Reports from the other side tell of streets being lined with armed soldiers and tanks. Tanks brought in to stop groups of people whose mightiest weapon are the rocks found on the street and their sheer determination. Personally, the situation and H.H. the Dalai Lama's request are both very inspiring. To extend compassion and loving-kindness to those who on a superficial level strive to be your worst enemy is the very essence of Buddhism. It gives me something to strive towards, to meditate on. The Communist Chinese are Mara, and the Tibetans are Buddha meditating under the bodhi tree. As for the protesters, for them I am now declaring a personal boycott of all things Made In China (like this family) as well as giving a percentage of our meager income to the International Campaign for TIbet. Anything related to the 2008 Summer Olympics is also banned. It's really easy to justify buying cheap goods when you are living on a tight budget, yet the true expense is being carried on the backs of those oppressed by the Chinese government. In general we are very wary of any Chinese made goods but now is the time for vigilance. Opening up China for trade has thus far failed to deliver any higher standard of human rights to the masses as was hoped. All it did was feed the dragon.
Free Tibet!
Edited to add:Comprehensive catalog of links concerning the protests

Saturday, March 08, 2008

and now, a shark's tooth

it's a windy saturday morning here. jason is at work at the _________ helping ________. in a bit, i'll get ready for my shift at the _______ where i work part-time with a bunch of young pups and their cell phones. i was offered a promotion there but i declined, for obvious reasons. i was also offered another position this week and am hoping to hear back from the preschool in japan before next week so i can reasonably decline it as well. i have been corresponding with the woman who arranges matters with the school and she is very kind and positive so i remain hopeful. the position wouldn't start until june and so we wouldn't leave florida for new york until may. she did go ahead and extend the invitation to stay at her house to the boys and jason. so at least she likes me. now if only the preschool director will approve... i am very excited about the possibility of working with preschoolers. i have been collecting lots of ABC materials like cookie cutters and stamps and those little beads we used as kids to make elastic bracelets with our names. i feel better, more awake and present than i have in a long time. having an idea about our direction is just what we needed.
i made a simple movable alphabet out of index cards and we've been working with sebastian on putting sounds together to make words. he's become more interested in painting lately and is actually producing images beyond his little scribbles he calls monsters. though we like the monsters, it is interesting to see his perspective on paper. nico meanwhile is building an impressive catalog of words: apple, apple sauce, nana, papa, sebastian, dada, mama, ball, book, bird, gomi, giraffe, elephant, tiger, dog, kitty, hana, berry, shoes, diaper, and diego. diego? sebastian's taken a shine to the nick jr. character but it is mainly because of the animal aspect. he still loves his regular dose of bbc's planet earth or life of - and amazes us with his knowledge of various creatures. his collection of schleich animals continues to grow because now we must obtain animals that are considered nico's so that they will share the menagerie a little more peacefully.
i have to go and put on my __________ and go to work. i hate going to work on beautiful days, especially following housebound day full of tornado and flood warnings. anyway, look at today's picture closely before you go. do you see it? i didn't see it myself until i was putting the photos on the computer. a good lesson about paying attention for me. hope you are all well.
take care.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sunday, March 02, 2008