these are the posts tagged ‘rants’:

work in progress

i’ve been making an effort to write more lately, not just because it helps me think, but also because looking through the photos on our (freshly organised) backup discs gives me both chills and a pang of guilt. there’s so much i wanted to tell and write about on the blog… so many things we did and saw, which we’ll inevitably forget if i don’t write them down. somedays i feel like time is slipping though my fingers, and it’s been getting worse as we move on through life, routine and work slowly expanding to fill our waking hours.

and yet, so many beautiful things happen! some insignificant and some amazing — but in their small way, all these things i write about made me stop and look.

so i’ve been trying to write a few minutes everyday, just a few, keeping it simple and sustainable. sometimes i’m dead tired and it’s just one minute, sometimes i make it a full 20min before it’s 10pm and i need to be in bed *pronto*. yup.

it’s working though – words are quietly coming to my fingertips again, and i like it. let’s keep this success spiral going.

get your act together!

i don’t do a lot of posts where i complain, but the cats saga is taking its toll on us. our return tickets were long booked on british airways, but if we knew it’d be such a nightmare to ship the cats home, i think we’d have chosen a more pet-friendly airline. say, lufthansa, where your cats fly with you in the cabin, saving you half the trouble.

the service on ba has been appallingly clueless. first they don’t fly the cats in cabin – only cargo. that’s fine, i guess. so what do we need? we call london, we call lisbon, we call shanghai: nobody’s got a straight answer, always ending up forwarding us to somebody else. in shanghai, they forwarded us to the logistics person who is supposed to know these things, but doesn’t have the foggiest idea… first we’re told they can’t ship them to lisbon, to which we reply “but why, if the flights we are flying in have cargo service as well?”, then they suddenly can, then we need extra documents – documents which the entity supposed to issue says we don’t need…

what are these people doing?! so far, this has been the most stressful issue of the whole move. we don’t want to leave them behind, and we surely don’t want to take them to the airport and suddenly realize we’re missing a paper! how hard can it be to figure out these procedures and get a clean algorithm, step by step?!
this is all i want. kthxbye.

on being happy


i’ve just read this quote on mareen fischinger’s blog (she’s an excellent photographer, btw):

“Being happy does not mean everything is perfect. It means you have decided to look beyond the imperfections.”

apparently, the quote is from albert camus. it stuck with me because i think it sums up rather beautifully my sentiments towards living in shanghai/china these days. in the beginning, we would whine about everything, from the non-queueing to the loud spitting on the floor, the messy and the dirty. and then somewhere in the middle of this year, slowly, things have started to change for me. i started to enjoy life here, in a way that i didn’t before. and i realized that all the imperfections were still there, but i wasn’t giving them as much importance. i wasn’t going to change them, so why bother with raising my eyebrow or complaining?

which sounds simple, but it isn’t. it’s kind of like finding the beauty in the chaos.

(and now i’m going to make some gingerbread cookies)

so… yeah… and it’s all true!

posting on this blog has been scarce, and gently replaced by other tasks… here’s a bit of what has been going on:

– i’ve been keeping things running more or less at anita na china and hanzillion, while studying chinese and learning new characters like a mad woman. i’ve finished my first textbook and we’re moving on to a harder one, which uses characters all the way for the texts and exercises. it feels really good to read them now, in full sentences! but i am still too shy to strike up conversations in the street, on the elevator or even with our ayi… which is slowing my learning process a lot, says my teacher. i have to agree, things would go faster if i made the effort to use the language i am learning – must work on that.

– meanwhile, i’ve discovered the wonders of taobao, the chinese ebay site, on which i am now completely hooked. it feels like an online version of my dearly missed mama mini, a shop where you can find the most amazing treasures or everyday items for a small percentage of the price. oh! and all with the chinese convenience of things being delivered to your doorstep on 24 hours, for one euro. :) it’s perfect, and it’s working as a big chinese learning motivator.

– after considering guilin, sanya and thailand, we’ve set or heads on malaysia! we’ve been planning a trip to redang island, which will include lots of sun, sandy white beaches, coral reefs (and some sharks!), blue turquoise sea and snorkeling every day. looking forward to escaping shanghai for a while, especially now that the much dreaded steamy summer season seems to be here to stay, with 30ºC temperatures already!

– i’ve been fighting distractions… and headaches. daily headaches and some dizziness that sent me to the nearest pharmacy, to get checked on my blood pressure. “too high!”, said my mom on the phone. so we’ve been reducing the caffeine & salt intakes to nearly 0. not as hard as i thought it would be. the headaches persisted for a while (lack of caffeine?) but now they are gone and that also seems to be the case with my caffeine dependency too (not that i was that dependent). so how about that? a blog called meia de leite (café latte) written by someone who doesn’t drink coffee anymore! :P

whatever he’s been drinking, i want some of that too!

There are many people studying Chinese now. I hope that all of you reporters, and the other ladies and gentlemen in attendance, can take up the study of Chinese. I believe that Chinese is one of the easiest languages in the world to learn. Otherwise, how can you explain why 1.3 bllion people have chosen it as their mother tongue?

said by china’s foreign minister, mr. yang jiechi in a press conference this morning.

i have a class in half an hour, am struggling to remember a dozen characters and starting to feel like i want to kill someone. because, you know, it’s so simple!

(from danwei.)