For You, Daddy!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Gossip Girl



Meet BFF Two AKA Gossip Girl.



This is my favourite photo of BFF Two. It captures her personality perfectly. Mostly smiling, enjoying simple moments and not afraid of being silly.


It is BFF Two’s birthday on the 20th of July, so this is my (unbeknownst) tribute to her.


BFF is one of Bestie Boy’s friends. I did not like her when I met her the first two times at Nameless Bar, the expat watering hole in the (Chinese) city I lived in. I thought she was what I call a typical “Chinese” girl. One who is unduly friendly with foreigners for the sake of our foreignness more than for who we are as individuals. 


The second time we met at Nameless Bar, I softened my stance towards her a little because I noticed she had snubbed Tomcat*. And Bestie Boy had reiterated that she was smart. So I agreed to meet her when she invited me to dinner a few months later.

*Tomcat is what I called my Other Foreign National, short time …whew ex-flattie in China, to his face. He was a good looking, charming lad in his late 20s with an insatiable appetite for women. I lived with him for 6 weeks and when I was offered my own flat as part of my promotion, I bolted. But alas, I was only 3 buildings down from the long arm of the law(less). Well, he was Tomcat and I was Bobcat. When hiss and spit didn’t work, my claws came out. Freak!


It took me nearly 6 months to believe that BFF Two was really a friendly person. I think it was because my first impression of her wasn’t favourable. I quickly discovered that BFF Two was smart, quick and efficient with any help I needed. Even when I didn’t need it.


For a long time, I refused to let her help me with simple stuff like enquiring about routes and fares for my trips. (It’s hard to find English speaking Chinese people in the service industry.) Once I allowed her to help and found out how good she was, I turned lazy and began making the most elementary requests.


“BFF Two, could you please pick up some dried medlar berries for me from the supermarket near you?”


“BFF Two, could you please check if they have dried Sharon fruit (persimmons) in the open market?”  


“BFF Two, could you book our appointment at the spa, please?”


And then I’d grumble that she had robbed me of my independence.  Ha ha!


I call BFF Two the Gossip Girl because many a times, our conversation would start with me excitedly saying, “BFF Two, I want to gossip!”


When I first told my family and friends about this nickname for BFF Two, they were all baulked. “But you don’t gossip, Kate?” Well, no … But YES!


I love to gossip. I gossip a lot. Rip the poor person’s rep to shreds. B#tch about them like I live in a glass house. And you know what? It feels good!


There’s just one little clause when I embark on this mission impugnable. The person I blab to must NOT know the target of my vicious words. Since BFF Two and I didn’t work together and didn’t have the same circle of friends, she became my ideal gossip partner.


This is something I’m particular about with my friends and co-workers. At every place I’ve worked at, I have found at least two other allies who belonged to the boring lot in the office. We never discussed our colleagues’ personal lives with the others at work or even amongst ourselves.


So if I gossiped, why did I call her Gossip Girl? Let’s just say BFF Two was a quick learner.


BFF Two and I have a favourite hobby in common. We like boy watching. Let me tell you a little story about our ‘hobby’.


One summer, BFF Two and I visited Xinjiang, the northwestern most province in China.


Heaven is a place on earth!

 This is Tianchi Lake in Xinjiang. Tianchi = Heavenly Lake.


When planning our trip to Xinjiang, one of the many things I briefed BFF Two about myself was my penchant for ogling at guys.


“Not the pretty boys; nothing in the head”, I sneered. “You can have those, BFF Two”, I added generously. We even devised a code for delicious sightings.


The first episode was on the very first day of our trip. (I work fast, don’t I?)


We were puttering around in our dorm having just landed Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. Our 2 American dorm mates came in for a bit.


As usual, I forced a perfunctory smile, said “Hi” and ignored them.


As usual, BFF Two smiled sweetly and began chatting with them. 


They left shortly to grab dinner or whatever. No sooner they left the room, I swerved to BFF Two and blurted, “I like the guy in the green tee.”


BFF Two, ignorant at that point of the meaninglessness of such words, got excited and said, “They’ve gone out for a short while. You can talk to him when he comes back soon.” 

(BFF Two’s favourite colour is lavender.)


That’s when BFF Two learned the most vital part of my manhunts.


“Are you mad? Why would I want to talk to him?”

“You said you like him!”

“I don’t even know him, BFF Two. And I don’t want to know him.”

“But, but, you, you..”

*rolled my eyes*


Thereafter, BFF Two never made that mistake again. So watch and drool only we did from that time on.


Guys, I really feel sorry for you lot. We, women, are a vexing species fo sho.


BFF Two visited my family a year and a half ago. She spent Christmas 2010 and New Year’s 2011 with us. 🙂


These are a few pictures of some of her happy times here.



Just arrived


BFF Two joined my family everywhere we went. This was her first visit to my country and I was very happy that she got to experience many new (and strange!) things.


At a relative’s silver wedding celebration.

                  Me                                    BFF Two                                        Big Sis



At a family friend’s wedding reception.


Like me, BFF Two loves dancing! After some initial shyness, she was relaxed enough to dance away. She loved the conga lines, The Birdie Dance and The Hokey Pokey.


BFF Two will be back next year to spend Christmas 2013 with us. Yaay!


Until then, the countdown has begun for Kate Spade Girl’s arrival for Christmas this year. 🙂


This image is from


Thank you,  The Book of TerribleCheerful Monk, and mj monaghan  for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, The Book of Terrible, for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 


Sunday, 1 July 2012

Happy Birthday, Canada!




This image is from

I was not born in Canada. I was not raised in Canada. I grew up in Canada.

Now that you are sufficiently confused, let’s carry on.

I immigrated to Canada as an adult. I have lived there long enough to feel like I belong.

In Canada, I learned to follow my heart through the hardest detour in my life. I’ve almost always done what my heart told me, but until then, most had been fairly easy decisions.

Then I came to a particular juncture.

One path gleamed with the career and life I was happy with.

The other was not resplendent in comparison, but it led back to something that was/is the dearest to me in the big wide world.

But it was not an easy decision to make.

In my late teens, I had left the nest and spread my wings.

By my late 20s, I had flown much further and much wider than I had planned or even imagined.

In my mid 30s, with focus, hard work and perseverance, I achieved whatever little goals I had gunned for.

And then it hit me.

Despite all the external embellishments, I was not happy.

I thought things over. I prayed. I talked to a few people.

I had to make a choice.  

A career with the trappings that the world worships?


An incomparably less glamourous vocation that would allow me to wake up with a feeling of contentment every day?

Again, not an easy decision to make.

After all, how many just chuck their glowing careers and globetrotting ways to baby-sit ageing parents?

If I had to listen to Daddy and Mummy, and dance to their “You can’t live with your parents just because you want to be with them in their old age” tune, I would have still been in Canada.

But I listened to Canada instead.

I had read about people who had made similarly tough decisions to simplify their lives by tuning out the world and listening inwards to what their hearts told them.

Some made choices that involved reducing frivolous expenses, some chose smaller living spaces, some chose to give up their private vehicles and rough it out with public transport. And some gave up blazing careers.

I met very few of these people, but mostly, I read about them. With each one I met, and with each article I read, my resolve to return to my roots grew stronger.

And now I’m back in the country of my birth. With those who gave me birth. Not Daddy, of course. He’s off on a jaunt somewhere.  😉  Took off five months before I planned to return. Hmph.

I’ve been back with Mummy for a few years now. And I’m happy. Poorer, no longer hip, definitely not happening. But happy.

Oh yes, I am at peace. Finally.

This home I grew up in is where I belong. Unless Mummy decides to beat me to it and join Daddy wherever he is. Then, I will take off again. Most probably.

I do not have links to the exact articles that inspired me years ago. This article (with its accompanying URL below) is a very good example of some of those I had read.

Here are some pictures of my time in my adopted home nation.

On the GO!

GO Transit is the province wide, rail and bus transit system in Ontario. Another FYI snippet. Canada has provinces, not states.

This normally busy station is deserted because it was one of the last trains I took back to Streetsville in Mississauga, where I lived. I had wound up that particular Canada Day at the Exhibition Place, downtown Toronto.




                                                          HTH                                  Me

The lady in the red jacket is Hazel McCallion. I’ve given her the faux title royale HTH, which I’ve coined for ‘Hazel The Hurricane’.  Hurricane Hazel as she is fondly known, is the feisty and fiery mayor of the city of Mississauga in Ontario.

Hazel McCallion is 91 now (I know!) and has been our mayor in Missisauga for the past … wait for it … 33 years. Yes, Thirty. Three. Years. Whoa!

When I lived in Canada, I used to volunteer at (the) City Centre in Mississauga, among other places. After my stint at City Centre in the morning one Canada Day, I spent the evening (this photograph was taken) in my neighbourhood in Streetsville. Hazel McCallion lives in Streetsville as well.

 Kate Spade Girl                                                  Me                            BFF Two

Kate Spade Girl is my nickname for my Jamaican-Canadian friend who is fond of that designer.

Kate Spade Girl visited me when I lived in China. Kate Spade Girl will spend Christmas this year with my family at home. Yaay!

BFF Two joined us for dinner one night (in China).

The little shout out, rather scribble out, in my hand is to my other dear Canadian friend, who I call affectionately call ‘Tinamisu’. Tina is of Italian origin. I like Tina and tiramisu. 🙂

Kate Spade Girl and Tinamisu are my closest Canadian friends.

Being a lover of nature and the simple life, it was only natural for me to be drawn to our Native Indian heritage in Canada. I enjoyed spending time at Crawford Lake in the Halton Region of Ontario.


I’m dreaming of (my birth) home …. no more. 🙂

This image is from

A dream catcher is a Native Indian item made with a willow hoop and a sinew net or web. It is hung above the bed or at the window. It is believed to filter out bad dreams and only let good dreams pass through. I like that idea.  

This next shot is not very clear.


Reaching for my dreams



Thank you, O Canada, for giving me the strength

to go after my most important dream,

which I am now blessed to live.


Red, White and Proud!

This image is from



Happy Canada Day, Hook and family, and my other Canadian readers!


::   ::  ::   ::   ::  ::  ::  ::  ::     EXTRA!  EXTRA!  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

My Canadian blog bud, Hook, released his book recently. If you’ve had enough reality TV and would like to switch gears to reality reading, Hook’s book is for you!

His book is called ‘The Bellman Chronicles’. (

You can find out more on his site, The Book of Terrible. (

Although I haven’t read it, I like his blog posts. Oh, and this daddy’s girl is mighty pleased that the cover of his book has been designed by his 14-year old daughter, Sarah. 🙂

::  ::  :: 

I’d also like to send some Canada Day love to another blog buddy who is south of the 49th parallel.

::  ::  ::   

Marcy King or Orples’ Brain Mama  as I call her (as opposed to ‘birth mother’) has some entertaining and endearing Orples tales to tell.

Orples what? Orples who?

Stop by at her site, Orples, ( to find out more.  

::  ::  :: 

Hook and Marcy, wish you both the luck of the Four Leaf Clover Eleven Point Maple Leaf in your literary ventures!


Thank you, mj monaghan and The Book of Terrible, for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, The Book of Terrible, for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 


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