Last night I heard the first of July fireworks through our bedroom window.  I felt a little left out, like Cinderella leaving the ball early, losing her glass slipper in her hurry.  It reminded me of all the Dominion Day celebrations of my childhood – of being left out.  I was that child, face pressed against the window, outside looking in.

July 1st would find most everyone down at the Maidstone Sports Grounds.  I never did know what the celebrations involved.  If it was not a Sunday, our cafe was opened.  Even if it was not, it was unlikely my father would take the family.  My mother knew no English then.  We were not part of the community socially.  We had the cafe.

Isn’t it funny how these feelings of want linger on?  They come out still, years down the road.  That child in me has never gone away.  It’s not that I don’t like special days or celebrations.  I know I am suppose to but I never knew how.  So I am uncomfortable with the unfamiliar.

charley brown xmasBeing immigrants, we did not celebrate the same occasions or in the same ways as everyone else in our small town of 600 people.   We did not exchange presents at Christmas, but we did have a Charley Brown kind of tree one year.  I thought that it was because we were poor.  We did not have birthday parties nor presents.  Instead, my mother made us a special treat for a meal.  Christmases and birthdays enhanced my feeling of being left out and being different.

Being different is something I value now, but not then.   The left out feelings are faded, though they still reared their ugly heads now and again.  At least now I understand their source.  I try to be a little kinder to that little immigrant child in me.  I try not to blame my parents for any lack.

They did the best they knew how.  We never went hungry.  They gave us a good education.  We grew up, became adults with successful careers and productive lives.

IMG_1248Now we do celebrate Christmases and birthdays with all the trimmings like everyone else.  And I wish for simpler ways.  How age change one’s perspective!  Now that I can fulfill whatever want that I thought  was missing, I have no want.


Blue SkiesToday is Canada’s birthday.  The sun is out and so are the mosquitoes.  Life does have its bite.  I wouldn’t want it any other way, would you?  So cheers!  Let us celebrate – to Canada and life with all its flavours.

This month brings with it new challenges for me – the Ultimate Blog Challenge and NaBloPoMo for July.  I feel up to the challenges as I have been habitually tapping out words almost every day.  .

I am reluctant to call myself a writer but words are my passion.  They come to me unwittingly, when I least expect them and when I most need them. Other times I struggle to find them.  They always come eventually.  I just have to have the discipline to put my fingers on the keyboard and start.

BlogHer is celebrating its 10th year anniversary, therefore the theme for the month is DECADE.  I like to take this opportunity to look back over my last 10 years or further –  to take stock and see where I have been and to decide where I want to go.  It is probably not easy.  Most likely it will be painful to do it honestly.

I know from experience that I can never go home again for that ‘home’ (China) is not the village or country that I once knew.  I can no longer read nor speak the language with any fluency.  So am I really Chinese?  Finding and feeling ‘home’ again is another challenge.

childhoodThere’s a lot of work ahead, a lot of material and memories to sift through.  It is worth the effort.  I am looking for Hafong.  I am searching for me.  I am up for the challenge.  I am going to type my heart out. How about you?  Will you join me?



It is day 21 and Easter Monday.  It is late evening.  I am catching my breath and sipping ‘Sleepytime’ tea.  I hope I won’t fall asleep over the keyboard before I am done!

Easter supper for the family last night was a success.  Sheba was so happy and excited with so many people here.  She let everyone know, too, jumping and barking with joy. That is how we should be, too – showing our joy.  And we did with good food, laughter, conversation, and home movies on YouTube.

My nephew is somewhat of a cook.

And my roommate likes to build bikes of a different sort .

The stress and worries of the day are washed away quickly in the midst of good fellowship.  We should do this more often!




IMG_1364I’m thinking of past Christmases and New Years as I awake in the dark this morning.  I’m thinking that it would be much easier if it was in July.  There would be no snow, heavy coats, scarves and boots, coughs or runny noses to deal with.  Life would be lighter and easier…would it not?

I’m also thinking back to my childhood in China, of New Year’s Eve.  Seems to me that is the only memory I have of a true celebration ….. a welcoming in of the new year and paying homage to the one past.  That is my interpretation of the rituals,  for I was but a child when I left my homeland.  That is how I like to remember it.

I’m feeling my loss, as a child of immigrants to this country….the  loss of my Chinese-ness, my culture, my heritage.  But I have spent many more years here than there and I can never go home again.  I am a stranger in both lands.   Sometimes it is necessary to feel our pain and losses in order to move ahead.  I have felt that pain many times.  But I also have gained much because of that sense of loss.

I really do not want to dwell on pain and losses.  They are not always real, but things our mind grab onto, maybe because of something someone said or done.  Who knows what is in another’s mind or heart.  And you cannot understand it so you write your own interpretation.  You allow yourself to doubt and you let poison in.  You hurt.  How does that help?  Better that we celebrate, however we can, to let in the light.

I like the Chinese ways of ushering in the new by cleaning and clearing out stale and stagnant chi.  Gung Hee Fat Choy! Happy New Year! Chinese tradition is to bring the new year in with clean house, new clothes and to receive/give red envelopes of money ..symbol of prosperity. My childhood memory is of our house being warmed by the fires tended by the women in our family as they made sweets and dim sims in the night.  Perhaps one day I will learn how to make some of them.


I’m sweeping out the debris of my mind, letting go of past grievances and hurts, opening my heart to receive all the goodness that there is in the universe.  I am baking bread, , making soup, blessing our home.  I am wearing the colour red, the colour of good fortune.

I am no longer a lost child. looking for my identity.  I have found my Chinese self, Hafong, alias Lily, the born again Catholic,  who admires the ways of Buddha .  I am a Chinese woman living in Canada, a country in the Universe.  And I am celebrating my life.