Thursday, July 26, 2007

My life on the Harry Potter timeline

The last Harry Potter has hit the shelves and we got a copy the day it was released. I am only about a fifth through it now that my time is hardly mine anymore. I'm ok with that though because much as I'd like to know what's going on, I know that when I finish with this one, there will be no more and that makes me sad. I thought back to when I started reading the books rather nostalgically and realised that I could chart important milestones in my life by the books.

The first three books (because I read them together one time when I was ill)- I was in Melbourne and had found Packrat and was rather blissful about our state of affairs.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire- This was in my Honours year and it was one of the few things that helped me alleviate the great amount of stress I felt that year. And it was when the world changed for the worse. The year was 2001 when bad things happened.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix- This was two years later and we bought the book while we were back in Melbourne on our honeymoon. Sufficed to say, it had good initial memories. Unfortunately, I finished reading the book in a hospital waiting room while waiting for my brother to come out of brain surgery to remove a tumour and when Sirius died, I was petrified that life would imitate the book.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince- 2 years ago, not as eventful but I do know it was round about the same time we had decided it was time we wanted a baby.

Now, this last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- I'm not done with it, but now, I have 2 babies so life has progressed somewhat from the last book.

I wonder what I'll use next to mark the milestones in my life. We always find things, music, movies, books, all sorts of things to act as markers in our life. But for the last 7 years, this has been a consistent one.

Fare thee well, Harry Potter. I'll be sure to read you to my children.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 16:36

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mind Your Language

When I was doing my psych research year, I had the opportunity to look in depth at how our brain processes languages and all the other cognitive aspects that come along with it. This included how the awareness of our thought processes. In The Language Instinct, Steven Pinker attacks the idea that one's thought is affected by one's language. There are many schools of thought about this, no pun intended, and obviously, there are as many people who campaign and propound the theory that language and in turn culture does influence thought and then, there is the Pinker camp.

Even as a student of cognitive psychology, I never thought very deeply into it. It always hurt my head when I had to face convoluted arguments putting forward what sometimes seemed like the most common sense way of looking at things.

But in the recent weeks, I've become somewhat of a guinea pig, caught between Pinker and the Sapir-Whorf camp. Though this is technically superficial, I find myself amused that I'm a cognitive experiment all by myself.

I've been at home for the last 3 weeks with a confinement nanny and a domestic help for company for most of the day. My confinement nanny speaks only Mandarin and I spend most of my day either chatting with her in my beyond rusty Chinese. On the other hand, I spend less than 3 hours a day chatting or hanging out with Packrat. The result of this is many-fold. The one I choose to concentrate on and the most bizarre and surreal one is something I guess I would never have thought twice about had I not read Pinker's stuff or lived and breathed Cognitive Psych for an entire year.

More than once or twice this week, I've caught myself at the tail end of a thought, when it become available to my conscious mind and to my great surprise, this tail end of a thought seems to be articulated to myself in Chinese! Albeit broken, but Chinese nonetheless. Leading me to stop myself in mid-thought and go WTF????

It's an alien sensation to discover myself thinking in Chinese and wonder if I am going to change now that I don't think in my mother language. And this was a phenonmenon- ok, I know one person does not a phenomenon make but seeing my track record in Chinese, in my mind, it is of proportions that are that large- that snuck up on me when I wasn't looking and too busy trying to keep myself sane. My Chinese hasn't improved very much, if at all but it sure does show that my brain has adapted itself to the Chinese language. I told Packrat he was to blame for it because if we chatted more after he got back from work, this would never have happened to me. I wouldn't be conducting conversations in my head in a foreign and alien language.

My life, to say the least is ONE kind of bizarre now.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 17:33

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Star sign- watermelon

At the supermarket one night, we saw mutant watermelon.

water melon

That in itself wasn't all that was funny. It was accompanied by this sign.


Now, this was funny. On so many levels. I know the Taiwan-China region is infamous for food made from inedible and sometimes poisonous products, but food made from astrological signs? That's a first. Sliced pisces? New type of sashimi? Bring on the wasabi.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:39

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Want, not Need

It's got very little to do with the Live Earth concert that ran all day yesterday. It's got to do with me, slowly recovering and also being given fashion magazines like Instyle and trashy magazines like Cosmopolitan to read to pass time. It's got to do with fashion and ditziness more than any type of environmental awareness. Al Gore's going to kill me right about now.

This has to be recorded because it's my first real post partum hankering and it sure looks like I'm back with a vengeance. I read about the bag being released in the UK and thought it was a cool bag. Now, it's not just a cool bag, it's a bag I must have! And I'm happy and excited about wanting it because it's not a diaper, it's not nipple cream or diaper rash cream, it's not even a diaper bag or anything remotely to do with the babies. It's all me and that thrills the selfish me to bits. Now to turn the fantasy into reality. Step 2.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:01

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Who am I?

I've been a mother for about 10 days and one thing that bugs me is who I am now? Personal Psychology tells me that I've acquired yet another facet of self which is true. I am now a mother, on top of the various facets that I've been juggling around the last 31 years of my life. But then again, I'm sometimes made to think that this is the only facet of my life that I should be paying attention to, to the extent of ignoring the others.

That, I realise I can't do.

Over the last week and a bit, the happiest times I've had are not actually with the bubs. I say this with a bit of guilt but that's another post for the diaper blog. The happiest times I've had over the last week were when Packrat and I were out getting groceries or just chatting about what's been going on in the world or even our futures. The reason? Because it grounded me and reminded me that I hadn't changed. My life might have, but fundamentally, I'm still me and I'm still keen to know what's going on out there and that my husband and I are able to talk about things that do not revolve around diaper changes, feeding times and sentences that begin with "you know what your son/daughter... did today?" although it is now part of our repartee, it is not all that our repartee consists of.

It's a strange feeling to know that things have changed and I'm struggling to find myself in that change. A mother told me that, as soon as I accept that my life will revolve around my kids most of the time, it will be easier for me. I agree and that is one quest I'm still on.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 13:50

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" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"