Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, May 19, 2018

Writing is Always a Means to an End

Filed under: Writing — admin @ 8:20 pm

There exists a widely held misunderstanding among Chinese parents. That is, writing is for those majoring in humanities. It is not as important as STEM majors when, in reality, one’s emotional intelligence (EQ) is closely related to one’s writing skill.

The good thing is you can acquire a high level of EQ through proper training. And writing is the most effective ways of improving one’s EQ. Writing involves the following abilities:

(1) Ability to imagine
(2) Ability to create
(3) Ability to put yourself in other’s shoes.
(4) Ability to put in words your thoughts and feelings. If you find it difficult to write, it is often because you have not completed the task of good thinking
(5) Ability to think critically
(6) Ability to reflect upon your own life
(7) Ability to discover and systematize your findings
(8) Ability to observe and see what others can’t see
(9) Ability to collect and process raw materials.
(10) Ability to understand humans feelings and thoughts, the feeling of loneliness, of helplessness, of pride, of despair, of triumph…
etc.

For example, a child is asked to write a story, using the third person view, about the conflict between a teenager and his single-parent mother. He will not only describe what is going on between them, their dialogues and all the spoken words, but also go beneath the surface to narrate the goings-on inside each of them, that is, the unspoken inner activities, the misunderstanding between them. This writing exercise will help the child see things from parents’ perspective. Of course, parents will benefit from this exercise, too.

Regardless what your child will major in the future, he will inevitably need to express his thought or communicate with others clearly and logically. He won’t go far without a good written communication skill.

Another example, a scientific paper will be more effective and well accepted if it is well written. It is no exaggeration, a well-written paper can make or break in one’s career path.

One’s IQ is relatively stable when comparing to EQ. Therefore, it is a rather effective way of self-improvement when we make efforts to increase our EQ. Unfortunately, the training of one’s EQ is often neglected.

Among reasons for this neglect are:
(1) It takes a long time to raise one’s writing skill and EQ.
(2) Unlike math class, it is difficult to quantify the results of writing training and efforts on developing one’s EQ.
(3) Most importantly, writing and one’s EQ do not see relevant when it comes to college application.

Education is not a sprint. It is a marathon. If parents and their children cannot see beyond their immediate gains and losses, they will most likely lose the battle of life in the long run. Therefore, we should devote more time on sharpening our writing skills and developing our EQ, so that the accumulation of those little quantitative gains will eventually yield a qualitative leap.

Keep in mind, writing is always a means to an end. The end gain will be bigger than life when you look back.

1, May 13, 2018

What Motherhood means?

Filed under: Mother — admin @ 6:54 pm

I wrote this to a first time mom. This is also to all mothers.

1, May 11, 2018

Life would be easy, if parents set rules from very beginning

Filed under: Parenting 2018 — admin @ 9:37 pm

When I talked to my mom over wechat today, she told me an interesting story.

My youngest sister keeps a cat. She trained the cat to pee and poop outside her apartment. Every morning she would take the cat out and bring him in after he’s done using restroom outside. So the cat now never mess up indoors.

On the other hand, my sister has a neighbor who has a pet dog. It was a tiny puppy when they first got it. From very beginning, they trained the puppy to use restroom at a certain spot inside their apartment. Now the puppy has grown up. But it refuses to pee or poop outside when they take it out walking. It insists on using its assigned spot at home.

My mom comments, “It’s all a matter of setting rules from very beginning. So is it with human babies.” Very true!

1, Apr 29, 2018

You don’t have to be perfect now, you just need to do it each day.

Filed under: Daughter,Life — admin @ 1:24 pm

This is what my daughter told me yesterday when I talked to her. While we were talking about daily exercise, my daughter asked me how many pull-ups I could do now. I said I had not started yet. “It’s so hard.” This is when she said this,

“You don’t have to be perfect now, you just need to do it each day.”

I kept thinking about it even day after it. It is so true, as with many other things in life. If we wait till we can do a perfect one, it will take a hugely long time to get there. That is, if we ever get there at all. Chances are we might never.

Life is too short for waiting. We just need to start doing what we plan to do now. This very moment is the only moment we have. It will be behind us before we grab it. Just do it now.

1, Mar 27, 2018

Talking to a college graduate about self-improvement

Filed under: Career,Daughter — admin @ 1:56 pm

Happy Birthday, my beloved daughter! Today is her birthday.

You will need to have a long-term view, like five years or a decade down the road. With the advance and wide application of AI and computing technology, job market promises to be changing more rapidly than we can imagine. It’s hard for us to predict what this market will look like in ten or twenty years.

At present you can do at least one thing and that can put you in a favorable position in the age of rapid change. That is to develop an open mindset, believing that nothing is fixed, that everything is in the process of changing, including you. Prepare yourself for and embrace the incoming change.

Take for example the girl who worked in customer experience section at my son’s company. She has a bachelor and a master degree. If you hold a narrow view about learning, growing and self-improvement, you would think that you cannot learn anything with an English degree doing customer service work.

But with an open mindset, you will realize that your growth and development involve not just skills but also in term of character-building, problem-solving, patience, empathy, and many other qualities which will help you in the long run.

The key is be aware of your surroundings and never miss an opportunity to grow and develop as a person.

1, Mar 26, 2018

How to Curb children’s desire to buy and buy

Filed under: Parenting 2018 — admin @ 11:42 am

Both of my children have moved to their own respective apartments since they left home for college. My son moved to NYC in 2011. I don’t know how many times he and his girlfriend have moved within that area. Each time they move, my son is keenly aware of the burdensome piles of things they have bought and accumulated over the years. Same experience with my daughter.

So I keep telling them, “Be careful when you buy and bring in. Anything you buy takes not only your money but also your time and space which are not unlimited.”

This is something that I should have taught them when they were little. I don’t think I have done a good job in this regard.

I remember a saying: anything you bring back home loses its value. This is especially true with toys for children. My son always remembered what toys the stores had that he didn’t.

Perhaps I should have taught him that our resources and the space were limited. Perhaps I should have told him to enjoy what he had instead of thinking about what he didn’t have.

I am not sure which trick would work for young children. But if I had a chance to start all over, I would do the following.

(1) Give the child small space for himself, so that he doesn’t have room for too much stuff.
(2) Insist on having the child putting in order his own toys and restrict toy to his room only.
(3) Share with him the experience of those who cannot afford even food on the table.
(4) Involve the child with family budget.

1, Mar 24, 2018

Don’t make your child a victim of your expectations

Filed under: Parenting 2018 — admin @ 9:28 pm

“I expect you to pass all the courses this semester. I won’t accept any fail.” Recently I heard this from one parent. This reminds me of so many times when parents tell their children, “I expect you to …” I myself was not free from this until my daughter was in high school.

First of all, in the long run, it will benefit children more if parents encourage children to have their own expectations of themselves. Instead of saying “I expect you to,” parents encourage children to think this way.
—“What do you expect to get this semester?”
—“What do you expect to accomplish this year?”
—“What do you want to do with your life?”

By shifting emphasis to children, parents are saying to them, “You own yourself an expectation. What really matters is your expectation of you and not mine. What is it that you want to become?” Of course, by the time you say all this, children already internalize your expectations.

Secondly, it would be nice if parental expectation coincides with that of children’s. Otherwise, it will be too burdensome and unfair to the children that they carry on their lives trying to live up to parents’ expectations, as if they didn’t have their own.

Make no mistake. Parents’ expectations are important since they support children financially. But if parents insist on their expectations all the time, regardless of children’s interests, dreams and even children’s resistance, parents are trying to make their children victims of their expectations. Nothing less than this.

A sensible alternative to always telling children what you expect is to encourage and consider what the child expects of himself.

Don’t punish your child with your rules

Filed under: Parenting 2018 — admin @ 12:38 pm

Initially parents set the rules for their children, regardless they like it or not. Because parents believe these rules are good for the children, like rules regarding their sleeping time or TV or cellphone or game time.

The children are normally not thrilled about any rules imposed on them. Who would be? They might feel even less thrilled if rules are enforced by certain punishment for violation that you define. Rules are necessary, but it will make a huge difference if punishment does not come from you.

Instead of telling your child the consequence of breaking the rules you set, you ask your child what the consequence would be, that is, inviting your child to come up with his own punishment. Right. He knows clearly what punishment he should get. He will be really thrilled and harboring no trace of resentment if you are receptive and lenient toward his version of punishment.

E.g. if the child says “No TV for a week,” you would say, “That’s too harsh. How about 6 days?”
This is how you hand over to your child the punishment for violating your rules. And make him a happy one at the same time.

1, Mar 19, 2018

The work ethic that we all should have…

Filed under: work — admin @ 2:52 pm

This is what I learned from my son last weekend. He has to let go one employee, which is the toughest job of all.

This employee works in customer experience section. The company paid her handsomely considering her lack of experience and the living expense in NYC. In her late 20s she got her first job from my son’s company.

I learned that she got both bachelor and master degrees in English. The job seemed ill-fit for her. Still, a paycheck is better than without. No one can live on an empty stomach for long. What she could do is to apply for other fitting jobs while working for an ill-fitting one.

But I heard that she hated the job and was not subtle about it. Plus she didn’t treat customers professionally, which damaged the company’s reputation. And her negative attitude became contagious at work place. Something got to be done in this case. This is how she became out of job at age 30.

I thought of my experience at my last post. I never really liked doing what I had to do most of the time. And the high-IQ-low-EQ manager was no better than a nightmare. Still smile everyday and no complaint. I did an excellent job for what I got paid and had never stopped self-enriching and looking for other opportunities while holding down my paychecks.

I think people should have this work ethic. The bottom line is hold dearly to your paycheck until you find a better replacement.

1, Mar 18, 2018

Aristotle: Moral goodness, rationality, choice and habit

Filed under: Happiness,Reading — admin @ 10:06 pm

Recently I was trying to read Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle. To be honest, it’s not a fun read. There are many concepts tossing around, like choice, deliberation, rational, voluntary and involuntary, teleology, “rational animals,” which means us humans.

First of all, humans are not rational all the time. Just look at all these mass shootings in the US. How can they be rational when they take drugs, knowing the danger and the damage of addiction? Why don’t they always make the right choice, like no addiction to smoking, alcohol, drug, and even smartphone?

Secondly, even if we voluntarily make choices, not all choices are made based on rational thinking. Often we knowingly make undesirable choices because we got into the habit of doing it and we are more creatures of habit than of rationality.

Lastly, it is really an illusion to believe that we are rational, as if we knew what we should do and always choose wisely when we are fully aware of the consequence of our choice. The harsh fact is we cannot be trusted to do the right thing all the time.

I believe very often in our daily life we follow our habit and fall into our default choice, whatever that happens to be. So it seems to me the key to our happiness is to form the habit of making right choices.

1, Mar 15, 2018

Let the children decide as early as possible…

Filed under: Parenting 2018 — admin @ 9:52 pm

On Monday, 3/12, I went to a friend’s house where her daughter gave birth to a baby boy about two weeks ago. The daughter mentioned one event that her friend told her.

What happened was her child wanted to do something that was not allowed. The mother said, “You will not watch TV for a week if you do it again.” The child never did it from then on.

It is a small event happened to a small child. However I would not recommend this parenting style. Because I doubt if the same method would work to a bigger child or dealing with more troublesome event. Plus the child needs to learn to make decision, to choose the right option by themselves.

From early on, in fact, as early as possible, instead of deciding for the children, parents should encourage children to make their own decisions. Let’s call it giving them the right to choose and the chance to be responsible for the consequence of their choices.

In situation like this, parent should let the child decide the consequence or the punishment for doing thing that’s not allowed. If you allow the child to make decision, to have choices, he will learn, with your help, how to choose among various options and the consequences associated with his choice.

I think of many Chinese parents who tend to decide on the children’s behalf, so much so that the children either become dependent on the parents when it comes to making decisions or make wrong decisions later in life because they have not learned how to make decisions when they were at home.

1, Mar 13, 2018

Children pressure on parents

Filed under: Parenting 2018 — admin @ 7:26 pm

Yesterday I went to a friend’s house to see her brand new grand-baby. Today she told me the boy’s height was “100 percentile rank.” He must be the highest in the range, though I don’t think one can have the perfect 100 percentile.

“He will be a tall boy,” I said.
“Looks like it. When he grows up, we will be small old men and women,” she said.

It doesn’t sound upbeat. So I said, “Don’t think about it now. Enjoy the present. We will be lucky to be around when he grows up.”

Even better. I told her if you think you have a wonderful grand-baby, don’t you think the baby deserves a wonderful grandmother? Think about what kind of grandma you want to be for this baby? Of course you will be a great grandma! But in what way? I don’t think he will be in want of any material things. Here’s the niche that you can fill in — you are the key to his being bilingual [given the fact that the baby’s father is an American]…

This reminds me of the time when my daughter told me about her friend who was an inspiration to her. I said to her, “Don’t you feel you want to do something to prove you are as worthy a friend to her as she to you?”

Perhaps we all feel this way when we are among good friends. Call it peer pressure. But I don’t know how many parents or grandparents ever feel the pressure to be equally great when they are holding a great baby.

1, Mar 9, 2018

Morality is a shared experience

Filed under: _Today I learn... — admin @ 12:40 pm

Morality is a shared experience. I learned of this before but didn’t give it much thought. I used to think that morality existed everywhere, alone or in a group. This is true, but we behave morally only after we have internalized the socially defined moral rules.

This shared experience came back to me when I prepared for my trip home, when I came back and recalled how I felt at home, when I said nice things to people and see their happy reactions, or when I tried to have kind thoughts toward those whom by default I tend to think negatively. I realize I have intentionally tried to make others happy. Because I feel happy when I make others happy. I feel miserable if I do the opposite.

We have to make others happy if we want happiness ourselves. It seems a paradox, though it is not. Because morality is a shared experience of all social beings.

Be very careful and selective when purchasing

Filed under: _Today I learn... — admin @ 11:52 am

While I was in China, my folks there carried out spring cleaning as part of preparations for Spring Festival. Part of the cleaning involved throwing away unwanted stuffs.

Boy, that’s not an easy task. My youngest sister has stuff crowded here and there. One’s space is limited but what you can buy and bring in is unlimited. Once brought indoor, they are hard to be disposed.

Lesson learned: be very careful and selective when purchasing. They will cost you not only money but time to clean and dispose.

For any gain, you have to initiate the effort

Filed under: _Today I learn... — admin @ 11:44 am

Yesterday at Beijing airport, as people started boarding, I checked my boarding pass to see which group I belonged to, group 4, seat 44B, middle.

I felt dreadful at the thought of the long trip sandwiched in between. So I approached a girl working at the desk, asking if it was possible for me to change to an aisle seat because I needed to use restroom frequently. This is true. I normally drink plenty of water on the flight.

She checked and reassigned me to 38C. It turned out to be a bigger favor than I asked. The seats from 38A to 38C were all empty, so that I was able to lie down most of the trip from Beijing to Chicago. No more leg sore, feet swollen, and back pain from long sitting. Good thing I asked.

Lesson learned: for any gain, you have to initiate the effort. Nothing good will come to your way without your asking for it.

1, Jan 20, 2018

Education is a lifelong pursuit

Filed under: Learning,Life — admin @ 11:05 pm

Today my daughter asked me, “Are you upset about the re-education? Going to the countryside at age 18.” I told her, “Not really.”

“I think it made me value the opportunity to go back to school years later. Also it made me tougher and able to undertake hardships.

When looking back, I wish I had some proper guidance when I was 18 years old. I was told to get re-education in the countryside, but I didn’t see the good qualities that I was supposed to learn, because I had no idea what to learn and what education really meant.

If you were to spend a year or two in the countryside now, I think I could give you better advice than what I received. At that time my definition of education was very narrow.

There is no such thing as re-education. Education is supposed to last lifetime and knows no restriction regarding when and where. For those with an open mind, they educate themselves wherever and whenever they find themselves.”

Learning without teachers and classroom. Learning anywhere, anytime. This is what I want to share with my daughter now.

1, Jan 18, 2018

Keep a log tracking how you spend your time

Filed under: Daughter,Parenting 2018 — admin @ 1:47 pm

This is what I write to my daughter today.

“You want to get more things done. You want to get a paid job. You want to get more skills. You want to be on your own. Since you got nobody but yourself to watch over your shoulder, you really need some mechanism to meet your goals.

I suggest this
(1) keep a log to track how you spend your time. You must be honest with yourself as we all must. If you spend one-third of your time on your cellphone, it is good for you to admit your addiction to whatever you’re on and you must wean it off. HONESTY is the key.

(2) When you were home for holiday, you bought something from online shopping and also tried to get something from second-hand stores. I hope you have stopped online browsing by now. This is what I suggest: every time you do so, associate spending money with making money.

(3) Try to get into the habit of asking yourself to learn something new each day, each week, each month, and each year. I believe this is a better habit than spending time on your cellphone.

You will soon be 23 years old. I spend time thinking about your situation and writing to you, all because I care and I know you are not happy with your current situation and you eagerly want to see a big change. I want you to be happy. And you want to be happy, too. So please do the right thing for yourself.”

1, Jan 17, 2018

Lady Bird, teenage girls, challenges to parents

Filed under: Parenting 2018 — admin @ 8:40 pm

Today I read this article on Time magazine, “Lady Bird: the pains of being pure at heart,” by Stephanie Zacharek. At some point it reminds me of my daughter when she was in high school, and some of my friends’ daughters.

“At one point, Saoirse Ronan, as disgruntled high school senior Christine, begs her mother, Laurie Metcalf’s Marion, for a magazine at the supermarket: “It’s only $3! I’m having a bad week!” Marion brushes her off, and it could be the usual mom move of just saying no–until she reaches the cash register and you realize that this respectable-looking suburban woman can barely cover the family groceries.

…Metcalf’s face betrays nothing so obvious as frustration or anxiety. Instead, it’s as if every molecule of her body has been, out of necessity, trained to count money. Meanwhile, when you’re a teenage girl wanting a magazine–so you can look at makeup ads, or pictures of rock stars, or fashion spreads featuring clothes you can’t afford but want to ogle anyway–it it among the world’s most straightforward, achievable desires. This measly dream costs $3, and Christine’s mother won’t–can’t–let her have it.”

I’m not here to make any judgment on either the mother or the daughter. I see myself as the mother, the parent and can see the same challenge facing thousands of parents like me.

On the one hand, we want our teenage children to be happy, healthy and ready for their life ahead, and we don’t want to upset them by saying no to them.

On the other hand, I can definitely understand the need to say no to this trivial thing when a mother can “barely cover the family groceries.” Also I can see a capricious teenager would want something else tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. There’s always something new that she wants everyday. Obviously, $3 magazine will make her happy for long, won’t buy her appreciation, won’t buy peace and won’t make us happy. In fact, it will do more damage than help in the long run.

If I had a chance to start all over again, I would teach my children before they turn teen about finance and the need to save for the rainy days and for their college expenses. I would ask them to save for their own expenses.

I would share my financial worries with them, trying to win their sympathy and understanding. With this understanding, they would be less selfish and would be willing to make sacrifice for the whole family. I would teach them the value of learning, the need to eye on the bigger prize, and focusing on the important things at this point of life, etc.

I can’t say I will be better off with this preparations. But I will keep trying and talking and making sense with the teenage children, and always keep in mind they won’t be teen forever.

Good luck, parents of teenagers!

1, Jan 16, 2018

You must have a plan for a semester, a summer, a year…

Filed under: Father,Learning,Life — admin @ 11:00 am

Lately I had a rather difficult exchange with one of my relatives. He goes to a local college here. He went back to China for winter break and came back on New Year’s Day. As soon as he got back, he made it clear that he would go back to China in May for the summer. That means he would spend both winter and summer breaks in China, totally four months out of a year. Two trips and four months in one year! This is crazy. I mean when I went to school back in 1980s, I lived on scholarship. Not much, of course. I made a trip back home once in three years. I just cannot wrap my head around this!

I know they have money now, still it makes no sense. I cannot advice them not to waste money since they seem to have too much on hand. I can only approach them about making good use of time, three whole months in summer.

I wrote to my relative, “What ultimately matters is no matter where he spends his summer, he needs to have a goal, a plan, so that he can get something done, so that he won’t waste his life. It’s OK if he desires the comfort that Beijing home offers to him. It’s OK that he wants to be high with his friends in Beijing, but it’s not OK to waste the whole summer without getting anything done.”

“I remember when I was in elementary school, my father always asked me to make a plan for the summer break, expecting me to complete at least one thing during the summer. I didn’t know better at that time and was rather resentful of writing any plan. When my children were little, I set the same expectation of them. Now both of them have got into the habit of planning and finding a goal for a set period. So much so that even my son’s girl friend is going to write a resolution for this year. I think it a good practice. It helps us not to waste time.”

Since I spent some time on this issue, I found it rather meaningful, helpful. So here’s the record.

1, Jan 11, 2018

Remembering my father…

Filed under: Father — admin @ 1:08 pm

On 5/4/2017, while I was in China, my sister mentioned one thing about our father. When he was around, he never spoke ill of people behind their backs, neither did we at that time. But after he passed away, we all started bad-mouthing people, including our mother.

What she said is true. Why so? Why do we start gossiping and bad-mouthing after my father left us?

I don’t know the answer at this moment. In fact, the answer is not important. What matters is the fact that we realize this and we want to get back to the way my father wished if he were still around.

I am genuinely sorry that I have deviated from the teaching my father exemplified in his life. I want to be a nice and kind person like my father. Apples do not fall far from the tree. I want to show to myself that I am my father’s daughter in deed!

1, Jan 10, 2018

How I handle distractions

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 3:00 pm


If I sit for too long doing one thing, my legs get sore and I tend to become less attentive and efficient. So I always set a 30-minute timer when I sit down.

Very often some random thoughts crop up while I am reading or in the middle of a 30-minute timer. On the one hand, I am tempted to do something right that minute because I don’t want to forget these thoughts. On the other hand, I hate to “break my concentration during pomodoro sessions” or get sidetracked.

So I write them on a post-it note and will take care of them later. When I handle one issue, I set timer for however long I allow myself for this issue, so that I don’t let one issue take over my day or my plan for the day.

I wrote to my daughter today, “I am sure the situation sounds familiar to you. I hope you have some mechanisms to handle this.” She wrote this to me, “Yeah, I also write things down on a notepad window when I don’t want to break my concentration during pomodoro sessions.”

1, Jan 9, 2018

End of holiday, Start getting serious with New Year Resoluton

Filed under: children — admin @ 2:32 pm

We drove to the airport early this morning. My daughter needed to catch 6:40 am flight to NYC. After getting back from the airport, I was waiting at home for news of her safe landing.

A little after 9 am, I received a message from Delta notifying me of the arrival of the flight. Soon I also heard from my daughter. It made me feel better after hearing from her. Then I drove the car to Firestone for oil change. From there I walked back home.

I planned to do some cleaning after I got back. But as I moved around the house, seeing clothes lying here and there, I felt rather sad, so much so that I felt like crying. I miss my children very much. They are so far away now.

So I thought it not a good time to move around the house. I need to focus hard on something. I need to start working on my New Year Resolution. I really need something to keep my spirit up, something my children will be proud of.

For today, I picked up John Grisham’s novel The Firm.

1, Jan 4, 2018

New Year Resolution 2018

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 8:42 pm

I am going to save this as the desktop screen on my laptop. I will check it at least once a month.

1, Oct 29, 2017

Don’t punish yourself with other’s inconsideration

Filed under: Life — admin @ 8:36 pm

It is a bright autumn day, a very comfortable day until I had these two encounters.

I went to Barnes & Noble’s today to check some books for a newborn baby, my idea of gift, no matter what age you are at.

I bought some cotton books for babies. The salesgirl told me I could save 20 percent if I signed up for $25 membership. I would have 20% instead of normal 10% membership saving if I signed up today. So I did.

When I was sitting in my car, I thought of CloudBit Starter Kit by littleBits Electronics, which I liked very much but was discouraged for its price. Even at 50% off now, I still see it an unnecessary luxury. But wait. Now with membership, I can get 70% off the original price. I should grab this deal.

So I went back to the store. After confirming with the same salesgirl that 20% would be taken off whatever I bought today, I went back to grab the CloudBit Starter Kit, already feeling guilty for this indulgence.

When the salesgirl told me the final cost, I thought she made a mistake. It doesn’t sound like 20% off. She told me it was correct and I couldn’t get 20% off clearance goods, which was not true. Because I did get one from my previous purchase that day.

She talked fast and sounded rather impatient, which made me very comfortable, as if I caused her to be so unpleasant to me. When she asked if I wanted it, I said “Oh, forget it,” and left the store.

As I drove back home, her unpleasant manner and attitude were with me all the time. I couldn’t sweep it out of my mind.

Unbeknown to me, more unpleasant thing was waiting for me.

When I approached the front door, I saw the pot that I asked to be returned sitting at there. “Why didn’t she contact me before coming over?” I searched my cell phone and wechat to see if she had contacted me for this visit. She always does. No, not this time.

So I wrote to her, “You came over today when I was at the bookstore. When are you leaving for China?” She didn’t reply. Of course.

About two weeks ago, I gave her husband some plants. But I forgot to tell them to return to me the fig plant pot after re-potting. So I wrote to her later, asking if I could have the pot back after they re-potted the plant.

That pot is actually the best one that I have now. So I thought it better that I tell her this honestly. To my surprise, she sounded unhappy when I asked. The fact that she came today without telling me beforehand only confirmed my previous feeling.

For a moment I was tortured by a wretched feeling. I can’t say I don’t care. Then I realize that I have done nothing wrong. They threw bad attitude toward me without caring how I feel. It is actually they who should feel bad now.

Finally I told myself that I should stop punishing myself for other’s inconsideration.

1, Sep 20, 2017

The Fountain of Youth is inside you and me

Filed under: Thought of the day — admin @ 6:30 pm

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will have truly defeated age. -Sophia Loren, actor and singer (b. 20 Sep 1934) 

1, Sep 5, 2017

Thinking vs watching vs doing

Filed under: _Today I learn...,Best quotes — admin @ 3:24 pm

When you do nothing but thinking, everything is a problem to you.
When you do nothing but watching, you are forever an onlooker.
The solution will start to take shape only when you start doing something.
Remember a problem will not go away by itself.
—ywx

1, Aug 23, 2017

Action is better than inaction; Be humble is better than swaggering

Filed under: _Today I learn... — admin @ 11:22 am

I wrote some notes a few weeks ago, left them there and forgot where I picked them. Here are some of them.

1. In most cases, action is better than inaction; decision is better than without.
2. Work with people who complement you, not with people who are like you
3. Be humble, no swaggering. Be yourself.
4. Try to have a good mood everyday. Mood is not your life, but it can definitely influence your life, for better or for worse. Very often you don’t lose to others. You lose to your own mood.

I wrote to two of my former colleagues/friends today. One returned to me immediately with contagious excitement. The other not. We were in the same office for half a year prior to my leaving. This is the second time that I wrote to her without a response. I guess I have lost her. Sad. Flowers blossom and fade on their own. That’s life.

1, Jul 20, 2017

Things that can hurt you, potentially

Filed under: Life — admin @ 9:15 pm

Among many things that can do huge damages to you in the long run, here are some that young people should not ignore.

(1) You don’t know what you want to do with your life. That is, you don’t have a goal in life.
(2) You tend to be pessimistic. When you always think “It’s impossible,” you place a limit on what you can do.
(3) You can’t persist to the end. You give up halfway when things get tough.
(4) You lack objective self-evaluation. That is, you don’t know yourself, your strength and weakness.
(5) You rely too much on others. You are not independent enough to be on your own, mentally and psychologically.
(6) You are hesitant and indecisive, spending too much time balancing cost and benefit. You dare not risk taking a step into the unknown, the unfamiliar. You remain in your comfort zone as long as you can.
(7) You indulge too much in the past and regrets, which only ends up wasting your time and life.
(8) You try to avoid headaches and problems. Problems won’t go away by themselves. Often you experience a leap forward by taking on challenges in life.

1, Jul 11, 2017

Remembering my father, 30 years have passed

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:30 am


7/11/1987, 30 years have passed since my father left us. I can’t believe 30 years have gone and I feel like I still can’t get over the loss.

Today my old classmate shared some of her travel pictures with me. Above is one of them. For some reason, I think my father would love this picture. It looks so quiet, peaceful, sunny and green, as if life should be like this. I wish he could see it.

Here’s to my father. I remember what you taught me when I was young. I will always keep this in mind. I will try my best to live up to your expectation, to be the person you wanted me to.

1, Jul 3, 2017

An unforgettable meeting with an old friend

Filed under: Friend,Life — admin @ 3:01 pm

It’s been nearly two weeks since I came back from China. I was in China between 4/4 and 6/20. While I was in China, I had many gatherings with friends and old classmates. Some I met more than once.

I met up with Bin at 11:30 on 6/3/2017, our second meeting. We initially planned to meet at Fangjia hutong, but we changed the place because it was too crowded with a wedding activity. We ended up in a small coffee shop on Beixinqiao avenue, close to san-tiao.

Before saying goodbye, he gave me some advice. He said I am at the best time in my life–free from financial worries, free from parental responsibilities, free from physical constraints, free to do whatever I want to do previously but was held back due to this or that reason.

That’s so true! I keep asking myself this question: what is it that I want to do? I know I still have a lot to contribute and to share with. I have this or that plan. But what is it that I’m so passionate about? Teaching? But where? Writing?

In order not to waste time, I have been pouring efforts on Italian language since I came back.

Time is running out like crazy. I need to roll up my sleeves now. More on this later.

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