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

1, Mar 22, 2017

Happy Birthday, my son!

Filed under: Son — admin @ 10:26 pm

Today is my son’s birthday. He and his girlfriend fly to Sweden for his birthday. He talked to me via facetime from the airport. Ever since he left home for college in 2007, he started having his birthday with his friends. It’s been 10 years. I am so happy for him! I’m so glad that he is always surrounded with friends, and he is able to create a home-away-from-home. I’m happy, as long as he is happy. I miss my children, especially on their birthday. Here’s a birthday cake for him!

1, Mar 29, 2016

Progress with my son’s work… what a delight!

Filed under: Son — admin @ 12:10 am

Last Sunday, five days after his birthday, my son told me that their product now has around 8000 users/customers. I was extremely excited about it, so excited that I wasn’t able to go to sleep for a long time that night.

Prior to this, I was worried about his company. What would they do if they don’t have enough users to generate revenue, especially when they run out of sponsors’ money? The three boys have given up so much for this. They did get some publicity after my son’s presentation at Money 20/20 in October 2015. It’s been a few months since their initial launch last October.

I know my son very well. I know he would not give up if this one didn’t work out. He would try another one. But he has worked on this one for about two years and I wish strongly that he will make it work this time. I think this is his fourth or fifth or even sixth startup, counting those he started during college years. I was worried especially around his birthday. I know his girlfriend is eager to get settled down. It will be five years after his college graduation. I know he has worked so hard all these years.

He keeps telling me not to worry. I should have listened to him. I am so happy for him that I kept thinking about it all day on Monday. I have to write it down here.

1, Mar 22, 2016

Happy Birthday, my great son!

Filed under: Son — admin @ 8:10 am

Today is the 27th birthday of my son. I created this to celebrate the day. I wish him a happy birthday. I hope he will do something special to mark the day.

I am so proud of you, the greatest son of all!

1, Aug 2, 2015

Sending my son back to NYC today…

Filed under: Son — admin @ 5:56 pm

I told my son that we were going to NYC to see him during a weekend in August. He said it was a lot easy for him to come back home for a week. So he did.

He came back last Saturday, 7/25. It has been the most joyful week for me. I feel extremely blessed for having him back, even if it’s only a week. He told me his company was going to launch their product on 9/1, so August would be a busy month. Today we drove to the airport again to send him back to New York.

I felt sad and was quiet as I helped him packing things up and sadder as I said goodbye. It’s like before, like every time I went to the airport to send him off. I can never get used to his leaving.

We hugged each other goodbye. I told him to keep fit and get more values out of our time here, together or separate.

1, Jul 26, 2015

My son came back yesterday

Filed under: Son — admin @ 4:10 pm

Yesterday noon, we drove to the airport to get my son home. He came back from New York City to spend a week with us. He will be going back next Sunday, 8/2. It’s not a long visit, still I already feel blessed with his coming. It’s a highly joyful moment for all of us seeing him back. He is such a wonderful boy!

I will work half a day next week, that is, 4 hours each day from 7 to 11 AM. Since my sidekick is also off on vacation next week, I’d better not take the whole week off this time. Plus, my son also works remotely while he is with us.

I am the happiest mom so far!

1, Mar 22, 2015

Happy Birthday, my beloved son

Filed under: Son — admin @ 12:53 am

My son and his friends are in France right now for his birthday. I am so happy for him. Here’s a custom-made happy birthday picture to him.

I am so grateful and feel heavenly blessed for having such a great son.
I love you. Happy birthday!

1, Mar 10, 2015

Birthday trip to Europe

Filed under: Son — admin @ 10:12 pm

My son called today, telling me that he is leaving for Europe this Friday, 3/13/15, with his girlfriend and three other friends, totally 5 of them. It’s a 10-day trip. He will have his birthday in Europe this year. So delighted to hear from him!

Wish him a fun, safe trip!

1, Jan 31, 2015

Letter to my son on 9/4/2007

Filed under: Son — admin @ 5:58 pm

I wrote the following to my son in September 2007. This is actually part of the original letter.

Make efforts to keep in mind the following in life.
(1) Independence — learn to think independently; eye on your goal not to be sidetracked by outside influence, nor cave in to popularity.

(2) A healthy lifestyle which includes love of outdoor activities and a good eating

(3) Time management. The only thing that we are given equally in life is time. Watch out for time-thieves. Practice beating deadline by setting one manageable task per day for yourself and must get it done on that day.

(4) Music is vitally indispensable in life. You have learned both violin and piano. Make an effort to practice one of them.

(5) Keep your promise. Keep your commitment. This is the only sure way to build trust and respect.

(6) Take blame and say sorry when you know you should. A great man is not one who is error-free but one who has the courage to admit his wrong and move on.

(7) Life is beautiful if you can live this way. Take time to enjoy the beauty of nature, of people you go out with. Value all the relationships that you ever build up. They make your life richer and happier.

(8) Stick to your principles and to what you believe even under great pressure from
above and forces around you.

(9) Keep a reading list. Make a point of reading at least a few books in a year.

(10) Take care of your soul — the soul devoid of petty selfishness, the soul of
dedication, of devotion and sincerity. After all, it is the mind that gives rise to a beautiful dream and deed. Life has some transcendental value. Have a goal larger than yourself, reach out and make a difference so that other people might lead a better life because of you.

Ask not how much you get for your time, ask how much value you add in this time. Always try to make your presence felt in a positive way.

Fling yourself to a good cause and you will find no obstacles that you cannot surmount and no suffering that you cannot endure. Identify and hold fast to a good cause that you believe worthy of your dedication, a good cause like saving the earth, feeding the hungry, education for all, protecting the endangered, sustain life on earth, finding a cure, etc. Make sincere and consistent efforts to explore the way to donate, to give and to maximize your contribution to this cause.

1, Sep 18, 2014

How a man should treat his wife

Filed under: Son — admin @ 1:00 am

This should be nothing but common sense to all men. The fact it is posted online in Chinese and passed around as a popular post emphasizes the severe and sad lack of it. I translate it to English for my son and will forward it to him someday.

A man says to his wife.
“I am thankful to you, because
— you agree to be part of my life. You might not be the perfect one in my life, but you are the only one.
— You agree to allow me to be part of your life. I might not be the perfect one in your life, but I will try my best.
— You love me. You might not be the first one I fell in love, but you are the last and the best one.
— You allow me to love you. I might not be the first one you fell in love, but I am confident that I am the last and the most loved one.

“I respect
— your way of thinking, even if you think differently from I.
— your expression of love, even though it might not be the best one.
— your family, even though I value my family more than do yours.
— your privacy, even though I want to know more than you want to share.
— your friends, even though I don’t know them.
— your hobbies and interests, even if I don’t enjoy them.

1, Jun 28, 2014

My son is my inspiration

Filed under: Son — admin @ 12:43 am

When I went to the central library to fetch my daughter back home on 6/26, I related to her what happened to me that day. Of course, she told me to forget it as it’s not worth wasting my time. Indeed, there are so many important things waiting for me.

I know the event is too trivial to even think about. But in reality, I did find myself struggling to keep it out of my mind. I told my daughter, “I have the pictures of both of you in my office.”

Every time I encounter unpleasant things like this, I look at my son’s picture and say to myself, “My son would think this too trivial to even let it enter his radar of attention. He would not allow such trivial to upset him, not for a second.” He has so many big things on his mind.

When I look at his sunny picture, my mind clears up and I become cheerful once again. Immediately I turn back to what is important to me — my personal agenda.

My son is my inspiration. Thank you, my beloved son.

1, Mar 22, 2014

Happy Birthday, my beloved son!

Filed under: Son — admin @ 12:59 pm

25 candles

I miss you and I am thinking of you.
Have a wonderful day!

1, Feb 9, 2014

Sunday morning started with a great time chatting with my son

Filed under: Son — admin @ 11:10 am

It is a cold Sunday morning. I have not gone out for a walk for a long time, first due to time crunch of last few weeks, then due to record high snow fall. I feel like in a real polar style winter hibernation. Not a good thing, I know.

My son called early this morning to ask if we have time to go on Skype and chat a little bit there. That we did and had a wonderful start for the day.

One of their college friends will get married in April in Hong Kong, so both of them will go there for the event. From there, they will go to some other places in Asia, including Shanghai, her parents’ house.

1, Oct 4, 2013

“You can always work and accomplish something.”

Filed under: Son — admin @ 12:42 am

Yesterday my son called home, which is always a very delightful event in my life. I learned that he has made some real progress in his start-up project.

I told him, “At this time of my life, my greatest hope is both of you reach your goals… Of course, my greatest joy is to hear good new from you. There is not much for me to achieve, as I am getting old.”

He strongly disagrees. “Don’t say this, mom,” he said. “You can always work and accomplish something. It doesn’t matter how old you are.”

It is so heartening to hear his encouraging words. I need this encouragement as I have heard so many negative feedback so far.

1, Sep 11, 2013

Celebrating 4th anniversary of Relationship

Filed under: Son — admin @ 12:20 am

This Labor Day saw the celebration of my son’s 4th anniversary of their relationship. As always, I sent them good wishes and blessing. The following is what I sent to my son.

Both of you are rather capable and independent financially. There must be many factors that draw you two together. I want to tell you to always remember that, in the long run, the ultimate factor that keeps the two of you together is you make each other feel good when you are together.

There are something that will surely upset your partner and you should avoid:
When your partner says blue is a good color, don’t say “That’s not necessarily good. Red is a good one.”

When your partner shares something with you, don’t say “I’ve known it already.” Simply say “Thank you.”

Don’t continue your competitive spirit at home. At home, give-in is winning.

Don’t let out steam at home. If you are a coward outside, be the same way at home.

Never let a word of disrespect escape your mouth, no matter how upset you are.

If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.

1, Mar 22, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Filed under: Son — admin @ 12:12 am

Happy birthday 24

This is the sixth birthday that he had since he left home for college. I told my son to do something special with his friends today.

Happy 24th birthday!

1, Dec 20, 2012

The homecoming boy and his girlfriend

Filed under: Son — admin @ 12:36 am

Ever since my son left for college in 2007, the high point of each holiday is always the same thing: my son’s homecoming. Today is the day for this holiday.

During last weekend, we cleaned the room, got his bed, blanket, pillow, and other stuffs ready. As he often eats outside when he is away from home, he prefers homemade food instead of restaurant one. So, last weekend I went to costco and Korean grocery store nearby to do some grocery shopping.

There is no exaggeration that his homecoming is the key ingredient to the joyful festival atmosphere at our house.

P.S. my son told us yesterday that his girlfriend was coming over for the holiday today. She flies from New York City while he is coming from Arisona. Joy never comes singly.

1, Nov 5, 2012

When Hurricane Sandy visited New York last Monday

Filed under: Son — admin @ 12:32 am

Both my mother and my sister in Beijing heard of Hurricane Sandy in New York and they asked about my son. I contacted him and felt relieved when I learned that, other than electricity cutoff, he was not much impacted by Sandy.

Since he has some friends in New York, his girlfriend, his business friend and he all went to his friend’s apartment, staying there even for the night.

I don’t know how three of them can manage to squeeze in his friend’s apartment, but I do feel good knowing he can always find way out when he is in a difficult situation. In situation like Sandy visit, we are so far away, he is left to rely on his own wits and resources. I am glad he has plenty of both.

1, May 25, 2012

Summer Schedule 2005

Filed under: Son — admin @ 12:41 am

This summer plan was written on 5/25/2005, exactly 7 years ago, when my son was 16 years old. I thought back then he had a much richer life than he does now – reading, writing, piano, swimming, running, Chinese, plus fighting with his sister, though for most part of that summer, he had not closely followed his plan.

6:30 – Wake up, eat
7:00 – Summer school (5 hr)
12:30 – Eat lunch
1:00 – Nap (1 hr)
2:00 – EPGY work (2:30 hr)
4:30 – Exercise (15 min.)
4:45 – Reading & SAT improvement (writing)
6:00 – Dinner
6:20 – piano (30 min.)
6:50 – Research (70 min.)
8:00 – Swimming/Running/Shower (1 hr)
9:15 – Chinese (15 min.)
9:30 – Go to bed

I dug it out on 8/29/2011.

1, Mar 22, 2012

Happy 23rd Birthday!

Filed under: Son — admin @ 12:35 am

This is what I write to my son on his birthday —

When you were five years old, you stayed in China for over a year. You came back in March 1995. When you first went to school in Fort Wayne, IN, later that year, I was worried that you were not used to school in America because Dad kept recalling how miserable he was when he went to school. But you bravely waved your little hand, went straight to school and proved that there was really no need to worry. I still remember vividly the little image of the six-year-old with a large school bag in your back. When I think back, you actually showed a remarkable ability to adjust to the environment. I think this ability has helped you in your college years.

Now, every time I talk to you, you are always busy. To many people, being busy seems to be a good thing. Because it means job security, which is their top concern in this bad economic time. I know it means a different thing to you. But no matter how busy you are at office, I hope you can keep its impact on your life to the minimum.

On your special day, while wishing you a happy birthday, I am sending you this Chinese saying — “Don’t just pull the cart without looking at the road.” In other words, don’t lose sight of the big picture, or, don’t just see the trees without seeing the forest. Keep an eye on the industry’s trends and development.

The big picture include knowledge on  (1) Companies –profiles of new and mature companies, strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions; (2) Money –Where it is going, that is, where top investors are placing their bets and who is raising funds, corporate financing, both public and private; (3) Scientific milestones and breakthroughs, the latest, the cutting edges, the innovations and discoveries, the emerging technologies; (4) Sometimes, it helps a leader to identify opportunities and threats when he knows what his competitors are doing.

Happy birthday and enjoy the bachelor party in Vancouver!

1, Oct 25, 2010

Summer Schedule of 2005

Filed under: Son — admin @ 12:40 am

Yesterday, 10/24/2010, while I was searching for last year’s tax return forms, I dug out a paper in a frame written by my son on 5/25/2005, his summer schedule for that year. I don’t remember under what circumstances that he wrote it, but I do remember he did not follow it through exactly as he wrote. Well, it is better to have written it than otherwise. Before it gets lost, I record it here. At least, it shows us how some American children have their summer break.

6:30 AM — Wake up, eat
7:00 — Summer School (5 hr)
12:30 PM – Eat lunch
1:00 — Nap (1 hr)
2:00 — EPGY work (2:30 hr)
4:30 — Exercise (15 min.)
4:45 — Reading & SAT improvement (writing)
6:00 — Dinner
6:20 — Piano (30 min.)
6:50 — Research (70 min.)
8:00 — Swimming/Running/Shower (1 hr)
9:15 — Chinese (15 min.)
9:30 — Go to bed

1, Jul 26, 2010

Children Who Don’t Have to Worry About Anything but Study

Filed under: Son — admin @ 12:41 am

When my son was back home during the 4th of July long weekend, he told my daughter that kids who did not have to work after school were lucky. They had no reason not to study well. He talked about one of his friends at MIT who worked at his parents’ restaurant after school until he left for college.

There are actually many children who are like this friend of his. They must help around with their families and do not have as much time as they want for themselves.

Children who do not have to worry about anything but study should count their blessings. It does make children think differently when they realize how lucky they are in this aspect.

1, Jul 7, 2010

The House Once Full of Joy and Laughter

Filed under: Son — admin @ 12:50 am

It was a short and sweet three-day visit when my son came back for the 4th of July weekend. As always, I am so happy having him back home, happy to notice he has become more mature, yet still has this boyish feature around him, jumping and hopping like those days in Ohio.

When he was in high school, he was busy and seldom helped around the house. Now it gave me so much pleasure seeing him pitch in after each meal or clean up after him. Such a delightful change!

Around the house, nothing brought more laughter than this heavenly joy, the fun and the interactions between brother and sister and the genuine brotherly love and care he showered upon his sister.

Yesterday morning, around 5:20 AM, the whole family drove to the airport to see him off. Back we came and there he headed for Texas. Back home, seeing a magazine that he forgot to take with him, a feeling of quiet sadness inevitably crept in. I kept telling my daughter and myself, “Your brother goes there for a purpose, whatever that is, and we stay here for a purpose, too,” as if it would make us feel better.

Sometimes, as with thousands of Chinese who have made their way across the Pacific ocean to the States, separation is a painful necessity and always for a good cause.

1, Jul 17, 2008

Raising Bilingual Children in America

Filed under: Education,Son — admin @ 8:04 pm

Speak like a native both in China and in America — a dream shared by many Chinese parents for their American-born children.  Easy to dream than to realize.

My son started going to an American babysitter a little after age 2 before he could speak Chinese.  He spent most of his waking hours with English speaking people, coming back home, speaking nothing but English. He even knew how to curse in English when he was two years and four months old! Better than his mom, though his mom could outdo him in Chinese and he did catch some of them. Worried? Yes. 

But being an over-concerned mom, I did more than being worried.  I not only read to him stories in Chinese, but also recorded my reading in a small children cassette player, placing it around him and playing the tape as soon as he got back home and letting it accompany him till his sleep.  I also bought many cartoon VCDs from China and watched them with him to make sure he understood them.

I took my children to China as often as my bank account could afford. Later I spent nearly a thousand RMB for a large bag of ping shu, series of story-telling by famous performers like Liu Lanfang, Yuan Kuocheng, Tian Lianyuan, Lian Liru, etc. My children got hooked on some of them.  I have bought many boxes of children books from China, not that they would read but I read to them.  I have tried to engage in conversation wtih them in Chinese, as often as they can tolerate me.

These efforts have helped create a Chinese language speaking environment. Their Chinese vocabulary was happily enlarged, though not spotlessly clean.  I did not have time to teach them how to read and write, but they can safely pass as native Chinese speakers from the way they talk when they are in Beijing. The best part of it is they have learned the language without knowing the process and totally effortless.  What a sweet thing to learn something without making an effort!

Lucky for me that I started during their early years when they did not have much choice but listening to me. By the time children turn teen, you and your language are pretty much out of their realm of interests.  Too late to be bilingual. An opportunity once missed is forever gone.

For all of my efforts, their main language is English, which is understandable when they have wallowed in the soil of English language for the large part of their lives.  Still, they are joyfully bilingual, as long as you do not ask them to read and write.

1, Jun 28, 2008

My son

Filed under: Son — admin @ 2:50 pm

I told him this, “Son, I am not bragging about you.  I am just proud of you.”  To be honest, he is not perfect –he almost never cooks, nor does laundry, nor cleans up his room.  Still, I miss him greatly when he is in Boston, so far away from his Kansas home, leaving me an abundance of memories to cherish and to reflect on. I think he has done me a great favor by staying home for three weeks this summer instead of two as he originally planned.  As I often tell my children, now I should tell myself — count your blessings and be happy with what you have.

Many people give expensive gifts to their children upon their high school graduation. As a frugal mom, my gift to my dear son is the following letter,

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