Saturday, June 18, 2016

with love, c

June has been a long, but short month for me. We have been living with boxes everywhere and the living quality hasn’t been great {still these days}; in the short terms, quiet some last minute of errands to run, phone calls to make, and things to pack {still doing that}. I sounded quiet complaining, but I am not perhaps overwhelmed!

During this June month, I have gotten up in early morning hours; 5a.m.; I quickly brush myself off then go down to the kitchen; likely set the kettle on the stovetop then turn to medium-high heat then grain the coffee beans. These days, I only made 1.5 cups of the coffee for the whole day and likely it is gone before we left the house for morning exercises. While waiting the kettle whistles, I sit down in the kitchen counter and take a good look through the planner of the day. Last few days, I have started thinking about food in the fall season. I have been thinking making Apple pies {topping a scoop of ice cream}, apple crisps {lots caramel drizzle on top}, and a big pot of broccoli cheddar soup {creamy}, homemade chicken broth {all deboned chicken and vegetable scraps} and homemade bread. I know they are not really sounded delicious in the summer days, but I am quiet ready for the fall to com. It is my favorite season and I have firmly believed because I was born in the fall, so I love the season so much!

Summer days are great, there are more people out and about, fresh fruits {berries, peaches, watermelons, pineapples…}, fresh green ingredients and more outdoor activities, but somehow, I am ready for sweaters and cozy time at home. I have promised myself not to flip the planner pages and try not to get all autumn dishes into the planner these days. It would be nice to rest for a little and enjoy the summer from now! 

 I-35 N/ MN-52

One of our errands is going up to the Twin City for the violin 6 months check-up after the initial purchase. Everything turns out great; nothing needs to be repair, strings are still in great condition. The violin has started to have its own tune; I like to think it is the S tune! The new violin that we purchased is handcrafted by the last name Johnson in California. I should look up the invoice for the correct name; it is such a beautiful instrument to play and listen to. Prior we made our trip; we decided to purchase a better quality bow. S tried out a few bows and picked one in our budget range. {Oh, remember the last bow that was snapped? We were able to exchange to a new one, but the exchanged bow’s hair keeps coming off and I decided not to bother for the second exchange}. The new bow has been rosin well in the shop and it sounded beautifully together with the violin.  The newest piece S has been playing is Veracini Gigue. It is such cheerful piece. I love how when she adds the vibrato on the phrases and it gives nice vibration sound to that. 

On our way back from the Twin City, we took a detour route on MN-52. It takes us to Southeast part of Minnesota; Rochester. The drive was beautiful and the new crops have filled both side of the farmland. Although part of the MN-52 was under construction, but it really helped to car speed to slow down and able appreciate the nature a bit more. After a little over one hour and 45 minutes drive, we arrived Kim’s house {S’ piano teacher in Grand Forks, ND) and met her new twin girls. It has been another two years since we see each other. Oh, Kim looks so great! She always has a big smile on her and my S is as tall as Kim now. Over last two years, we have sent each other cards in the mail, text from time to time, and of course we have promised to come see her two years ago, but timing has not perfect each time when we try to reach out. S played Frozen on violin for Elise and Lucy, Kim’s bigger girls and of course S was a little shy to play piano for Kim. I had to show Kim all S’ spring recital videos from the phone. Indeed, I deeply think that’s how most of mamas do! Not showing off, but feeling proud. 

We had a great visit while the twins were napping; by the way, it was the first time I held a baby after 12 years. I totally don’t remember how to held babies anymore {laugh}!  We had almost 3.5 hours remain to drive home from Rochester; we had carryout sandwiches and started our way home. S napped after the first hour on the road and I keep myself strong for the remaining hours!

 Started with good intentions

All the good intentions started with i can do this! The night before our container left the driveway this week I ended up packing the remaining items in plastic bags finished most of packing around 11p.m.. Everything will fall apart for the last bit of what I packed. I was laughing at myself the container picking up morning because I was washing the vacuum cleaner filter at 5a.m. I though after so many moves that I have done these years, I should be good for another move, but the reality is that I am not the same me 2 years or 4 years ago! I am a little slower, both arms’ strength is not quiet up for lifting heavy boxes, and the mind is functioning slightly off to other things that need to be ready. This time, I had to do most of the move by myself. Staci was here and helped me moved the two large bookcases into the container, but I couldn’t ask her for more since it was 95 degree out there. But I made it!

 The opposite of what hoped for

The planner noted call utility companies and ask for disclosure and final readings on the closing day.  After made all the phone calls, it felt so great knowing that is being taking care of! Then the next day, I realized the wifi company disconnected the system! I was frustrated on the phone that Tuesday afternoon. It sounded it is impossible for them to reconnected the system back up right away, so I let them know don’t mind it and leave it as is. It has been awkward not being able to call ma and update her on this move. I believe she has been praying for us all these time. Hope soon, I will be able to give her a ring, so she is being updated.

Deepest gratitude

I wrote each customer a little note and hand written their addresses. It was probably the first time that I was able take time and pay attention to their locations.  {Thank you} for the last bit of loves of quarter inch mark patchwork handmade (my works)!  I also like to thank the Postal lady who took time with me, so I could note the proper tracking number for each order!  The great heart felt gratitude has been keep coming to me lately; friends called, emailed, stopped by in and sent their well wishes to us on this big move.  It has been so encouraging and positive!  {Thank you}!

Time with S

It has been a difficult move for S this time. {I decided not to get in details}. It was the very first time; I have felt vulnerable as a mother. It was hard to reach out to her the first time. Even school is out of session, I still wake her up at 7a.m. and made her go to exercise with me. I have been asking her to make breakfast now {likely wash some fruits, and two pieces of toasted toasts for each} and keeping her busy during the daytime. I keep reminding her that she still needs to do her duties at home even it fails and keeps study her music even it is summer.

It is a hard pulling phrase for her and me, but I think it is working slowly day by day! We have been talking about summer reading and made extra trips to the library since summer starts. S has got three new books that she enjoys and each of them is 1.5 inch thick. I got four books and each book is 0.5 inch thick. Of course, hers is all words that will take her up to the imagination world and I on the other hand found some new cook books {Southern dishes} and a few sewing books. This will be a long summer for us with the big change ahead.  I will keep spending time with her and keep talking just like every mama does!  Balance! Balance!


Time take me back to late August in 1997. I took three flights and arrived America with two pink eyes and little English. I have no intention to live in America after my study, but life, it takes you on the journey.  The last flight landed in Sioux City, Iowa. It is such a small airport. In this day, I still vivid remember a lady with short gray hair approached me. She quickly introduced herself- Mary, the international advisor for the university that I will be attending that time. The way from the airport to school seemed so far away and the arrival time to school seems so late. It was almost 10p.m., but the sky still was so bright.  After I was settled into the dormitory room I called ma and I sniffled, tear out, and told her I will come home after this year’s study and ma said that would be fine, but try your best! But the truth is I stayed and felt in love with the Midwest culture and even raising my own child in this part of the country land. 

Last few weeks, as I was packing, I have looked into photo albums from the college years, S’ toddler years, and time that I spent here in Midwest. So many flash back moments and memories of this place and people. I can’t quiet tell you what is this about the Midwest, but I have been given the helps when I needed them, continually extended friendships over the years, great support from friends that we somewhat became families in someway. The hostility of this land and the cares that people have given to us.  I could not ask for more!

As a young immigrant, I have been like an insider, but yet an outsider of this country. Somewhat I fitted everywhere, but nowhere as well. It has taken me last ten years to find my comfort zone and to feel a fitted corner of this country.  I know I will never become a true American because deep inside of me have a strong belief that holds on what ma and pa and where I grew up taught me, but I true am Midwesterner after nearly 20 years living here. I am thankful the humbleness, thoughtfulness, and kindness that this place has taught S and me. We’ll keep these Midwest hostility in us!


In a few days, we will leave our West Des Moines home; handing the keys to the new owner and farewell to our first home that have us settled and contended in last two years. We will be heading our way to Northwest Iowa for a few days and spent some time with our closed friends and visit S’ childhood friends before we head out.  Carol sent me an email this morning and letting me know that our beds are made and ready for us! That brought warmth and big smile to me this morning! We’ll drive through more corn and bean fields. Measuring the height of corn stalks, as they say by Fourth of July the corn will be in knee height. We’ll try to get few 1” thick Iowa pork chops on grill before we head out and soaking up all the bit of Iowa air and greens!

Oh, it will be great time, I assure!

 The upcoming journey

We will be driving through lands of Illinoi, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey then arrive our new state New York! It will be a long driving ahead of us!  I wondered what are on the fields of these states that we’ll be driving through? We’ve got our camera set and map planned!  Just need some good rest before we started!

with love, c

It will take me awhile to return here! So, let’s not plan on when to meet again. It will be a big leap for us to move back to New York again, but we will keep our family heart together and try to settle in quick! I will still be sewing from time to time, not much! I have been thinking about unpack what I have just packed. It will be a big job ahead of me {us}. 

Maybe when the apple pie season arrives, I will return, but don’t count me in for that. Maybe when I make the first batch of caramel corn, or perhaps a little sooner. Let’s just play by ear from now!  If I don’t come back here before the jungle season, I like to make sure to tell you, Merry Christmas and have a great time with families and friends.  I will be making some favorite cookies that time and probably sewing by then, crossed my fingers for the sewing moments.

Let’s not say good-bye, but ciao from now! 

With Love,

West Des Moines, Iowa