51. Even further back
What I’m up to
Today is the last day of the 2021 - 2022 school year.
In some ways, it’s been the smoothest end-of-year I’ve had yet (I was not grading last-minute; I completed my check-out form a day early). BUT it has also been frenetic and emotionally draining, what with pivoting to online school, Anna graduating 8th grade, too many goodbyes, and our pending move.
At one point yesterday, I had to be in three different places at the same time, which was obviously impossible (and frustrating!).
At another point yesterday, I cried in the shower because of a plant (don’t ask).
Those are two of many reasons I opted not write this newsletter yesterday. I was (am) tired.
I am so ready for a vacation, and even more, to feel like I’m on vacation.
Anna and I are determined to intentionally do “summer things.” Tonight we went out for a late dinner, then took a walk by the water around Pier 2. Anna got a popsicle and I did some pasalubong shopping. We made plans to go to the beach this weekend.
What I’m reading
I have been in the mood for cheesy romantic comedies. I read The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood and it, as the kids say, gave me all the feels (content warning: one “open door” scene). I am also inexplicably watching one cheesy romantic comedy after another on various streaming services. So far, the only one I truly recommend is The Valet on Hulu (which is not about what you’d expect).
What I’m thinking about
I watched a Filipino movie on Netflix the other day, and I noticed a couple things:
1) I understood 99% of the dialogue, which is kind of crazy because I only know Tagalog from listening to my mom. (I guess our conversation topics are varied enough to include lots of vocab?)
2) Filipino movie characters are constantly yelling both playfully and not-so-playfully. This explains… me. I get worked up easily, and you can hear it in my voice — but then I always feel bad afterwards because my North American friends think I’m yelling. Realizing that maybe I come by this intensity honestly is comforting.
I have a confusing relationship with the Philippines. I am Chinese-Filipina by blood and American by citizenship (but the latter only relatively recently). I spent the first three years of my life in the Philippines, returned every other summer my entire childhood, and lived there for my entire freshman year. I love the Philippines, but I never felt Filipino “enough” until I discovered the Filipino diaspora (similarly to how I never felt Asian or American enough until I realized I could identify as Asian-American). #tcklife
There are parts of me that are Filipino, parts that are American, and parts that are Taiwanese, but it’s can be tricky for me to nail down what’s my personality and what’s a cultural trait. #tcklife
What I’m learning
NOTHING, because school is over!!
(J/k life-long learner, etc. etc.)
I’ve had to make myself reach back, back, even further back, to remember what it was like to be a little kid. This kind of remembering is necessary to be an empathetic parent, I think. But nowadays, it doesn’t take as much of an effort because I don’t have to reach back as far.
I actually vividly remember being Anna’s age. I can easily recall my 8th grade recognition ceremony. Like Anna, I gave the student grad speech (along with my good friend and eventual colleague J!). I remember exactly what dress and shoes I wore and where I bought them (First Square! #iykyk). I remember how I felt.
It’s wild to be a parent of a teenager, of a new high schooler.
As a mom, I’m thinking — be careful, make good decisions. But as the person who remembers what it was like to be thirteen, I have to admit it’s the risks, the silliness, and even sometimes the mistakes that I think back on fondly, that I realize now were formative.
Take risks, daughter, but be careful. Be careful, daughter, but take risks.
What I’m doing
Planning our move: I made a checklist and calendar listing everything I have to do each day (e.g., Saturday - box up books, Sunday - go through pantry items). Somehow doing this made me feel so much better (it’s an illusion of control, but I’ll take any kind of control I can get).
Missing Paul and Lucy. Paul just returned to the US, and knowing they’re in the same place somehow makes me miss them more.
Taking Anna out for Mexican food to celebrate the end of middle school.
What I’ve saved
This poignant and harrowing poem by Maggie Smith.
This article puts into words some of the complex feelings I’ve had as an Asian woman in a biracial marriage.
Sent this to my fit friends ;-)
Until next week,*
*Next week marks ONE YEAR since I started writing these newsletters!