Thursday, September 27, 2012


A majority of the people on our cruise are from China. Like, 99% of the people. My family is Chinese, but they have resided in the Philippines for a few generations.  Although we may be genetically similar, the cultural differences weren't lost on us.

Some of the native Chinese people came from the more rural areas of mainland, where social maxims were not so strongly encouraged.  These same people also did not speak English.  I can't stress enough, that not ALL Chinese people were

Unfortunately, being on a boat with about 1900 Chinese people meant that I was getting pushed around a lot. So was my mom. It's super frustrating when you can't tell someone to stop pushing you out of the way because they don't understand anything you're saying.

<Huge sigh>

Unfortunately, it only took about a day for my mom to absorb this behavior into her repertoire.

We were standing in one of the ship's bars. I tried to get out of her way. She grabbed my arms, said, "No, stay right there."

Then she, full on, body checked me.

That's right. She pushed me....

Before I could snap myself out of the momentary bewilderment, she came from behind me, and DID IT AGAIN.

It was then that I really missed having access to my blog, because China blocks all sorts of fun websites.

What made me really laugh was whenever we ran into other Americans, Australians, or Europeans on the boat. She talked about how everyone just assumed that she was "just another rude Chinese person" on the ship.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I have this cousin named Kevin. Actually, it's Kyle, but we call him Kevin.
Kevin's a great kid. And about a year and a half ago, Kevin was diagnosed with Leukemia.  We were shocked and saddened, but we all rallied around him knowing that he would beat it.
We weren't wrong; earlier this year, he went into remission.
By the time we were headed for Manila, we received an e-mail from Kevin's mom. Unfortunately, the bad cells were back, and it looked like a bone marrow transplant would soon be necessary. Kevin's mother and sister were not matches.  She was asking if we would be willing to set of a donor drive?
I sat in the airport, trying not to cry. I looked over at my mom and she scowled, saying, "Your aunt is so dramatic. She acts like he's dying."
Um...he just had cancer. And he has cancer again. I think that counts. Nonetheless, I'm trying to stay positive.
So I say, "Um... I'm going to be honest with you.  I don't think he's going to die. He is pretty sick, but he's young, and I think he can beat it again. However, I can see why his mom would be pretty worried."
If you've ever felt like you knew a train wreck was about to happen, this was my moment.
My mom replied angrily, "I knew it! I KNEW you would take her side!"

In my head I'm thinking: sides?!? There are sides? And if so, whose side is she taking? Cancer?

She continued, "Every time I mention her, you get so defensive of her!"

"Well she's not here to defend herself. I think we should stop talking about her. It makes you angry," I said.

"I AM NOT ANGRY!" She glared in my direction.

I looked around and was grateful that most of the other people in the airport didn't understand English or didn't seem to invest too much interest into our conversation.  It was only a few hours, but it seemed like such a long flight.

Bottom line: My cousin has leukemia. He needs a bone marrow transplant. So many other people do too. If you are on the registry, thank you! If you aren't on the registry yet, please consider signing up.


I know. We're all thinking it, so I'm just going to put it out there.

I'm fat.

And I'm ok with that. Really, I am. My hope is that you're okay with that too.
My mom likes to point this out a whole lot. So does her family. She insists that doing so is a cultural thing. I insist that it's a family thing.

Unfortunately, she didn't seem to remember this whenever we were riding a taxi with my cousin and her husband. My cousin would slide into the backseat first, my mom would follow. Unfortunately, she wouldn't always slide across to the middle of the backseat.  She'd leave about half of a seat's worth of space and then gesture for me to get in.

Then, I'd gesture for her to scoot over. She'd tell me to get in. I'd tell her to scoot over.

It's a vicious cycle. I'd finally just try to fit on half the seat, then close the door on myself to show her that I really am not a magician and I do really need a whole seat.

After about 6 to 8 taxi rides, mom says "Hey! I have an idea. Maybe YOU should get in first."

There is a God.

I agreed, said thank you, and hopped in before she could change her mind. And yes, for a brief second, thought that this would be a great opportunity to leave her half a seat. I let it pass, because I can't consider myself evolved if I make the same mistakes. The thought did make me giggle a little bit though.