The Descendants


I love the weekend.  It’s time for relaxing and for thinking about how to relax.  It’s been awhile since I last watched a movie and it’s been an even longer while since I last sobbed watching a movie.  Watching a movie on DVD at home where there are not another hundred or so people next to you, you find yourself fulling immersing yourself and embracing the emotions that come with it.   You can cry and laugh as loud as you want.  You aren’t going to be disturbing the person next to you.  So yes I cried when watching “The Descendants”, but it was a good one.

“The Descendants” isn’t one of those action movies that keep you grabbing to the edge of your seat or hiding behind a pillow, when it gets all bloody.   It’s one of those movies where you watch a family, lives and emotions unfurl.  It’s harsh reality beautifully portrayed.

It’s about a family, a husband and two daughters and what happens after the mother is seriously injured in a boating accident.

You might think, so it’s another one of those movies when everyone sobs and gets through it.  Well there’s more.  A possible death of a loved one or family member brings up all kinds of emotions.  There’s anger, denial and most often regret.

In the first scene of the movie, the lawyer husband and land baron, sits by his wife who is laying in bed in a coma and hoping that she wakes up.  They had not spoken in days and months.  He wished he had lived his life differently and spent more time with his wife.  But life has passed by and he cannot bring her back.  Their marriage had quietly disintegrated despite a seemingly happy life with a large house and money for all their needs.

There is no one cause, but a mixture of reasons.   He was probably too focused on his work and his wife busy raising the children.   Matt King discovers he hardly knows his daughters.  He doesn’t know what they like, don’t like nor what kind of persons they have become.  He didn’t know his wife in the past ten years of their life together.  He had neglected her needs. He had been too self focused.  He lost touch with the personal and emotional aspect of his family.

It makes you think really.

What is it you want out of life?  What is important in your life?  Families like a tree require regular pruning and watering.  Once absent, they will wilt and die.   Relationships and emotions have to be handled with care and nurtured with love.  Only then will the tree blossom into a strong and beautiful one.   Think about what you really want.  Once you have it, focus and do not lose sight.

Life once lived cannot be taken back.

Don’t end up sitting by the bed of someone you love full of regrets about all you hadn’t done, thinking about all you should’ve done.   Live your life and do what you want to do, but don’t forget about those most important to you.   There’s more to life than just fame and money.

It’s no wonder this movie won an Oscar and several other awards.  It’s reality beautifully made.

A Doggy Sunday

Today I leave flowers and Amsterdam for a day and instead want to talk about dogs.  There is just something about these loyal companions that make your heart warm and your soul soft.  For the past few months or so Alex and I have been enjoying the loving nature of our skinny black and white dog that came along with the house.  (Yes, once the house was finished we found ourselves with a wagging tail puppy that just looked at us with beedy eyes and melted my heart. I wondered what would happen to her if we didn’t look after her?  All the workers had left and the only living thing at our house was the dog.)  Today, in a few hours, we welcome another new member a Labrador Retriever.  It’s going to be a busy Sunday afternoon playing with the dogs.

First about our black and white dog. When we took her in and due to her white body yet two black patches on her head we called her “Zorro.”    We had the vet give her injections, bought her a bed and gave her a bath.  She became our little “Zo.”  She’s a Thai dog that means she isn’t any particular breed.  One of those local dogs you see running around the streets in dog gangs. She’s a gentle dog that wags her tail and has a bark bigger than her body.  The first time I heard her bark, I thought it was another dog.  As time passed,  “Zo” became “Zoey” when she seems to somewhat be like me and a little clumsy at times.  She’s a dog that sometimes misplaces her footing when running up the stairs.  Super excited, always hyper she just wants to be near her “pack.”

To make sure she knew what she can do and not, she is now slowly being trained, in English. Yes English.  So Zoey is a little clumsy Thai dog who knows how to “Sit”  and “Turnaround.”  Love her.  She doesn’t walk on carpets, bite our furniture or act inappropriately in the house.  (Outside is a different matter..she loves biting my plants!)

Now the Labrador retriever is going to be a different story.  I’ve never had a dog so big whose size even as a puppy is larger than Dyzio and Zoey combined.  It’s going to have to live indoors while its still a puppy though we have already prepared an enclosure for it as well as a nice little dog box where he can sleep mosquito free in the case that indoors is not a good option.  He also got a cute bed with a cherry design (there was only a limited selection left at the store!  I’m excited and looking forward to our new member.  We’ve temporarily called him James but lets see if the name will suit…

Now its time to read up on dog introductions. Do you have dogs? Would love to hear your stories this doggy Sunday!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in this world!  Yes, in Thailand today is Mother’s day and everyone is out in droves taking mothers out to lunch.  Mother’s Day is always a happy day for me even if I’m not a mother, but I like it because it is a good occasion to tell our mothers how much we love them.  It’s a day that makes mothers all over the country smile.  It’s a day that allows children to remember their mothers, families to reunite, and reignite bonds.

Ideally we would treat every day as if it were Mother’s Day, tell our mothers how much we love them and show appreciation for their being there for us daily, but I realize sometimes with busy lives we forget.  For those whose mothers’ have passed I suppose it can be a special day of remembrance of good times past.   The great thing is that it is not only for the children.  Husbands too wish their wives a good day and make peace for a day.  Today is HER day. A day to cherish and remember one another.

Eventhough the roads are jammed pack, the restaurants are all full and people have been eating out since the early hours of the day, I somehow feel as if the air is lighter and that a certain happiness clouds the air.  Despite being stuck in traffic for hours, horns were hardly heard and every where I looked, cars were filled with families.  Happy families chatting away.

This is what life should be about.  Forgetting all other things for a day and remembering those closest to us.  Remembering what it means to love and to recognize the sacrifices that have been made.  Give them a hug or a kiss or give them both.   Make a mother smile.  Happy Mother’s Day!

An Unconventional Life

If you’ve read the New York Times this past weekend, you might have come across an article entitled “Baby Makes Four, and Complications.” It’s a very interesting article about how nowadays there are increasingly a number of “unconventional” families.

A conventional family is one with fathers, mothers and siblings. We get older, study, start our careers and the next step is most certainly a traditional settling down. We get married, have kids and continue on the cycle. This is what is taught to us in grade school. This is what kids play in the playground. I remember role playing this with friends.  This is what is expected of you.

However, due to the economy, circumstances, unforeseeable events sometimes we find ourselves in an “unconventional” life. So was the life of Carol. She found herself in the fourties and unmarried. No “Mr. Perfect” had come along. She wanted a child, but she didn’t have a father. One of her good friends helped provide the sperm. Mr. Russell. The only catch was that he was gay and had a boyfriend called Mr. Nimmons.

He didn’t want to be a parent, but he wanted to help his friend out.

When Griffin was born, Mr. Russell didn’t attend nor did he attend the birthday party. Things were a little confused as to the relationship. Was he a father? or an uncle? Things finally worked out though and now every Sunday they all have dinner together. This family of four. Carol and baby Griffin with Uncle Russell and Nimmons. One day Griffin will learn the truth.

It’s not your “conventional” life, but I suppose that is life. You can’t control the future, you just have to make the most of it. I don’t think Carol in her teens or twenties would have thought she would be a single Mom in her fourties with a sperm from her gay friend. It’s just not something you grow up thinking about.

So who’s to say which kind of life is better? There’s no easy answer, but in the end I suppose this is what you call “life.” You make the best with what you have. Life doesn’t have to be conventional, but if it’s what works for you then that is your life. You make the most of what you have and do the best with it. Carol wanted a baby and through invitro fertilization she got one. She opted for an unconventional life, and she seems happy with it. I suppose that’s what matters.

What do you think?

Help the Flooded South

This past week, one event after another, the world seems in turmoil in Asia. Japan is still suffering from the Tsunami and nuclear disaster and now Thailand has its own problems. Last week, torrential rain caused mudslides, high waves and flooded many parts of the south. Everything was disrupted.

It wasn’t just the usual flooding that usually accompanies the rain. This time it rained so hard that water gushed down from the mountains with such a force that it tore down houses and buried villages in mud. Villages and families have been left homeless and there are still many missing. Houses were flooded to the second level and people were left waiting on the roof for help. The navy had to send down large ships to help people evacuate but even then the waves seemed too deadly to pass. Not all could be evacuated. Helicopters too transported people to areas of safety. Homes and vilages had been buried under mud. I suppose this is nature’s way of reclaiming their land.

Yesterday on television I heard a story of how a group of people had escaped their flooded homes to higher grounds only to find themselves faced with a river of water that seemed as if it were ready to engulf them all. Fortunately for them, a group of large trees caused the river of water to separate into two streams and kept the land where they stood safe. Who knows what could have happened. These people said they had been ready to die. Who would have imagined that the water would suddenly split into two streams? They were lucky to survive, but now they and tens of thousands of people are left homeless and without food in the South of Thailand.

Stranded on islands of higher ground, roads cut off from transportation, these people are not having a good life. Without electricity, without telephone lines it is as if they are in another world where you have to use your survival skills. Deep in mud that sucks you down, it’s not easy to rescue people. What’s buried will probably remain buried until future generations of archeologists dig them up.

Somehow floods don’t seem to gather as much aid money as other events, but it is just as devastating. Water bourne diseases are bound to follow. So now that we’ve prayed for Japan lets also pray for Thailand’s southern provinces. Let’s pray no such disaster happens again and that all we will be able to recover from this string of disasters.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s that time of year again when couples walk hand in hand and everywhere you go there are red roses and heart shaped goods for sale. Everything is in “chocolate.” Chocolate hearts, chocolate bears, chocolate drinks, and chocolate flowers. Tomorrow, flowers will be everywhere and looks of happiness from those who give and those who receive. Those without, might just choose to escape somewhere far away from all this heart wrenching mess. Yes, its a huge marketing fiasco out there every Valentine’s and sometimes it gets a bit too much, but I have to say that there is some merit to it.

For many who dare not mention words of “love” on other days, Valentine’s sounds like a good opportunity. It gives one an excuse to reach out to those who matter to us. It basically gives one a good opportunity to overcome our “fears” and just go do it. What da heck, everyone is doing it! Although it could be said to apply mostly to youngsters and teenagers, I think it’s something that can be and should be applied to all ages. Why can’t older people feel equally excited about V-day?

So if there is someone out there you like and love (doesn’t always have to be a boyfriend/girlfriend) or friends and family alike, inlaws, just go ahead and tell them how much you love them on Valentine’s. It’d be great if everyday could be Valentine’s Day but we humans are forgetful beings and these “little” gestures of love can be forgotten in the rush of everyday life. “Little” gestures that make a big difference 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone! :):)

Sunday of Love

This morning as I awoke I noticed something different in the air.  It wasn’t bright and sunny and the air wasn’t heavy.  Before I could look out the window, I heard the sound of rain pouring down on Bangkok.  How wonderful it is.  After days of humidity where the air was so heavy I had trouble breathing, I’m glad the rain has come.  It feels like a whole new day and what a wonderful way to start off Sunday.

Sunday is my favorite day of the week.  It’s always the day when things seem to go on at a slower pace after the hectic weekday and the busy errand filled Saturday.  Some shops are closed on Sundays and it reminds me of my childhood days in Europe.  There Sunday is church day and most of the shops do close.   It’s family day and time to just have quality time with those you love.  Bangkok is trying to make Sunday family day too.

Therefore being the Sunday before Valentines’ Day, remember that it’s not only a day of love for your better half or that special someone, but it is also a time of love for family and friends. 🙂  There are many who touch us in our lives, perhaps this is a good time to tell them so.  Have a Happy Sunday everyone!

“Home” Is Where The Heart Is

After two weeks roaming around Singapore I have to say I am happy to be home. Although I enjoy going around and exploring new places, trying out new dishes and meeting friends, nothing beats the warmth of being back home surrounded by family and loved ones.  Even if we don’t meet everyday, somehow the thought of being in the same city is reassuring.  It’s warm and I feel fortunate to have such a lovely family.

It’s funny when you look back on years past.  There was a time when I would want to go away for weeks on end and not miss a thing.  Life was fun and I was young.  Now, I can feel the years creeping up on me ever so quietly and I find myself saying “I miss home. I miss my family.”

“Home” for me has always been a funny thing.  I remember being asked on countless occasions what I considered “home” since I moved country every couple of years.  I wasn’t really “Thai” becaused I hardly lived there and I was hardly a citizen of any other country.  I had grown up in Switzerland, Belgium, Poland and the US.  I was a traveling citizen of Earth.  Where was my home?

And so my definition of “home” has always been a simple one and one that I still hold dear.  For me, home has always been where my heart is.  Home is where my family lives.  Home is where all whom I treasure and love reside.  Everything else is just exernality.  It’s the family that makes any place “home.”  It’s not the house nor the country, nor the belongings.  Nothing materialistic.   “Home” is where my heart is. 

What do you consider your home? What is your definition? Please feel free to share 🙂