I’ve often felt a bit awkward about the July 4th holiday. You’ll understand my ambivalence when I say I was born and raised in England of Chinese parents, who immigrated to the United Kingdom from Hong Kong in the early 1960s. Love, marriage and a sense of adventure brought me to a new life in the United States. Having lived here for well over a decade, I still make a joke of the fact that I’m originally from the country of the losing side!
Joking aside, moving to a new place is a complex process and I can testify that it takes longer than the average of two years that the books say it takes to feel like you belong. It’s taken me nearly as long as the years I’ve lived here to feel and call the US my home.
I equate myself to being a pioneer here, just as my parents were in England. I’ve lived and learned new cultural norms, just as they did and, everyday, I feel the enormous weight of raising my children without extended family support, just as my parents did.
There are many practical considerations to making a new place feel like home. Oftentimes, you have to start from scratch with your networks, from finding doctors to babysitters, and there’s nothing more challenging than having difficult access to all that’s familiar.
But, underlying all the practical details are the emotional realities, like missing family and the loss of your previous worldview. It’s not for nothing that, sometimes, I gravitate to people who understand my love of Marmite, real fish and chips with malt vinegar, and authentic Cadbury’s chocolate!
With the birth of my two children, I understood why my parents instilled in me the mantra: “To know who you are, you need to know where you come from.” Knowing this, you then have a choice of what and where you call home.
Through my example, it’s my hope that my American-born children will carry forward a strong sense of their Chinese heritage and values (the respect for family and hard work, and love of good food), along with an open-minded attitude, and my British sense of humor. Ultimately, I want them to know they have my love, support and guidance, whatever they face on their life’s journey and wherever they chose to call home.
So where is home? I’m a citizen of the world, who chooses to make her home and raise her children in Franklin, TN.
Happy Independence Day!
Susan Shifay Cheung has turned her hand to many forms of writing in her various roles, over the years, as corporate trainer, management consultant, journalist and writer. You can contact her at email@example.com.
So I was perusing some of the Mommy blogs (there’s only about 5 million) and came across “Weekend Table” written by a mommy, lawyer, and self-proclaimed amateur cook from Connecticut. She loves to entertain in her free time and shares her recipes on her blog. The recipes are diverse-from main dishes to sides to desserts, etc. There’s even a gluten-free section of recipes.
I realized recently that I only have a handful of “go-to” favorites in my repertoire of personal creations and one of those is “mac-mac” (yea, I still say mac-mac rather than macaroni & cheese and my child is 8-I need to stop). I really need to broaden my culinary horizons and enjoy real homemade cooking again. I’m going to try one new recipe a week. Luckily our daughter will eat a big variety of foods so hopefully we will find some new fun recipes that she’ll love and that we can even make together. Here’s a link to Weekend Table and a recipe I plan to try this week:)
What are your favorite recipes or recipe blogs?
So I was meeting with a couple other moms recently regarding our local Meet Up group…..our group is growing and we are planning some fun activities in the near future. A local college (Anthem College) offered their facilities for us to have our upcoming meetings. While brainstorming about types of speakers we’d enjoy for our group, potential outings, etc. we were wrangling children in a conference room. One was a 17 month old little boy in addition to a set of 2 year old twin boys who enjoyed running laps around the large conference table. I remarked that I was sure I could only have handled one child at that age (mine is now 8 years old). The mom of twins has only known this double duty which I simply can’t imagine. The other mom mentioned that she herself was actually a triplet! She calls her mom often to just say “Thanks!” and “How on Earth did you do it?” She told a story of how her mom had actually been banned from a few places when they were small due to their……well, interesting behavior:) At a McDonald’s, story has it that she and her two brothers decided to strip off all their clothes and run around naked much to the dismay of the McDonald’s manager who quickly asked her mom to take the kids, leave, and never return! While, we enjoyed a compassionate laugh, many years later, I can only imagine how her mom felt at that time. Later , when we were leaving, one of the moms remembered to buckle everyone in but almost backed over her empty stroller. I have done that – more than once! Just another day in the lives of moms in action. Being with other mommies-especially those with little ones-is always fun. I never want to forget just how challenging (and rewarding) those early years are.
Today is Mother’s Day! A special day set aside to celebrate Motherhood and all it nuances. What are your plans for today? Sleeping in and having breakfast in bed? A special lunch or your favorite meal? Or just snuggling with your little ones. Perhaps you are sharing this special day with your own mother or a special person that may not be physically related, but you share the kindred spirit. Regardless of your plans for this Mother’s Day, may it be filled with sweet memories and some relaxation.
It is another weekend of rainy days here in Middle Tennessee. As I pen this blog, rain drops casually fall from the sky creating a soothing rhythmic melody against the skylight in the office. The sleeping dogs lie gifting me with residual flatulence from the umteen retriever rolls they have consumed this morning as a way to calm them down, and our kids are ever grateful for their self proclaimed “much needed” time to unwind while watching Disney in the playroom.
With all sports event called off and the inability to do any more gardening, it leaves this mother begging the question, ”What are we going to do today?” Well, there is laundry to be folded – well, it is actually in need of washed before folded…..dishes to be put away – well, they actually should be cleaned before put away…..and projects to be completed – well, actually started before they can be completed…and the list goes on.
Then it dawns on me that there are also books to be read….cookies to be made….nails to be painted….and maybe even naps to be taken. What is it about the rain that beckons its listener - well this one at least – to just throw everything off her desk and to do list and forsake all productivity for laziness?
Perhaps instead of viewing this day as another opportunity to satisfy my to do list, I need to take my own advice that I give to my clients to take time to just hang out as a family. To spend some time actually conversing with one another over meals rather then shoveling food in our mouths as we travel back and forth to school, music lessons, soccer practice, church and our other whereabouts. Or listening to their hearts as we get our nails done. Time is fleeting as they grow up and I often wonder how much of it I end up squandering rather than enjoying with them.
So today I’m thankful for the rain and the much needed prioritizing it brings.
Rain Rain Don’t Go Away