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Archive for August, 2008

I have been thinking, for a long time, how to tell you this.

I’ve huddled this news within myself, stuffed it back into my mouth every time I begin to open my mouth; and withdrew my fingers each time I reached out to find the words on the keyboard.

This used to be easy, joyful news to share. But not anymore. Anytime I broach this topic, it is plastered all over with maybe, if, perhaps, MAYBE.

Yes, I am with child.

I found out in May. There had always been the question of when to tell? After a loss, babylost mamas know that it does not really matter when you tell– the thing is, when lightning might strike, and if you duck in time. You can wait till 12 weeks- that supposedly safe period after which no one should have a miscarriage- but that is no longer how I see a pregnancy. A baby can die anytime. He can die during labor. He can die while being born. He can die minutes after birth. Or weeks after. Or months after. The telling is perhaps not as difficult as the un-telling. The My baby died part, that is the hardest part. Or the trying to make it through life after your baby died. I can’t decide. It just is all freaking hard.

So why did I wait “so long”? Scared. Expecting bad news any second, at every turn. Afraid that once I tell it will all crumble to dust. I just want to go live in a cave until this baby is born, alive and safe. Most of my family will not know until after this baby is born. At one point I strongly felt I wanted to wait until after Ferdinand’s anniversary. — Not that it really makes any difference to what had happened. Just a feeling. Again, not that picking a certain time to tell will assure miracles. I guess I just feel I need some time to pass before I tell. And I know for some of you, this is not easy news to take…

And I have a lot to process. I don’t know how to explain, how to present, how to string into words– how it feels like to be mourning and rejoicing at the same time. It is very conflicting, this happiness that is canceled out by sorrow; this joy that is quickly taken over by hurt. I am grateful that I managed to get pregnant again, and then I feel afraid (scared to shit are the right words here) that it may happen, yet again.

There is one thing I want to share. One night during the week of supposed-implantation, I woke up suddenly because I felt a very warm feeling spreading across my chest area. It started on the left side and moved steadily across my entire chest area. Immediately I felt it was because a soul is entering me, making headways into the womb. I cannot explain why, but it was just an instinct. I looked around the room and thought I saw a spot of blurry white near the door. I closed my eyes and fell back to sleep again, certain that a baby soul had entered me. This is a weird thing to share. I know you are looking at me funny. But I just gotta tell it.

Below are notes I wrote from when I found out… … (only if you wanna read)

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

May6

Dear girls,

you have been asking, pretty often- “When will we have a baby?” and saying, pretty often too, “When we have another baby… …”

Unbeknownst to you, a baby is on the way. It is just four weeks in the making. Four weeks. The new life is barely a milimeter, but it is how life starts. Small. Delicate. With potential. of all sorts.

I am scared. Yet I also feel fearless, and determined. I am deeply in love already, giddy all over and grateful and hysterical. I wanted to grip you this morning and tell you, “We have a baby! We have a baby! We have a baby!” But, playing the “better be safe” game, I am going to keep mum about it for a while. How long? I don’t know. There is the logistics of when i will go see the OB and then do I dump you someplace; or do I let you come with me and hear all the baby talk? If I miscarry, do I tell you? Or do I bury the whole thing? and forge on again?

How will I walk this journey? This 36 weeks that stretch out ahead? I squint and try to see to the end of the meandering path; try to see a live, kicking baby at the end of it. Frankly, i cannot see anything. With all those turns and twists and switchbacks, I cannot see to the end. My eyeballs cannot leap out of their sockets and peep around the corner. But, as they say, every great journey starts with the first step. So, I walk.

How will I walk this journey? I do not know, my dear girls. I only know I have you two precious gems with me. I know I have people who gladly walk along. But, how will I walk? The innocence is lost. Yet, I have to admit that when I found out, I was still giddy and full of grins, like an idiot. The very next second I was scared. But I grew strong the very next next second. I did not grow weak. If demons reach out and try to grab me, I am going to fight them, teeth and claw. I told some people, I refuse to let Fear come and take over. I will fight them. Fear will creep up from behind, in stealth, but I will spin around and BOO them. Yes, I want this baby very much.

I realize that how I walk this journey this time will have some impact on how you deal. So, I will falter. i will fumble and I will weep. But I will always keep my spine strong and walk as gracefully as possible. I still hope it can be fun, like it was the last time. But I guess it will be different. I cannot make any promises, except that i am going to try my damn darnest utmost best.

=============

May12

Little one dearest,

you are still here with me. Every day as the day dissipates and no worrying signs make their appearance, I am so grateful. I wish i can find that crank-handle of the time machine and crank it up.

I know a few other mamas carrying little ones in them. All mamas who had previous losses. I think of them all the time, thinking of the lives within them. I think of the second their babies would come to them, bursting into the world, shaking the air violently with their lusty cries. It makes tears come into my eyes, to imagine these mama friends holding their little ones in their arms. It makes for a tingly feelings in my arms, and i wonder if I will get to hold you.

Tomorrow, we are five weeks out. Stay with me.

=================================

May16

Because there are no symptoms yet and I usually get sick around 7 weeks, and because I had a loss I am insecure about this one. I think what I have in there is a shovel.

===================================

May 19

Tomorrow I will be 6 weeks. It made me smiled to think of it. which makes me feel silly.

I tell myself, “You are such an idiot.”

You know that each day forward brings you one day further away from the beginning, but it does not mean one day nearer to your “goal”; your wish, your dream and your yearning for a living baby.

What it means is that another day has gone by, and I should ask myself, did I spend it well?
It is hard to live with the idea that it is not so fruitful to keep craning one’s neck forward to the future; fast-forwarding to a future point does not mean success. It is what we do with the mean time that matters the most.

So hard. So hard not to dwell. So hard not to crane forward.

================================

May20

I went to an astrological reading last night. It was kinda like a party for frazzled moms who are bleary-eyed and no longer can see beyond that mountain of stinky laundry that is blocking the entrance/exit to the house. There was a time when I would read my astrological forecast religiously every night, so I would be ready for what the following day would bring.

Well, they never came true. Tsk.

But last night, I wanted to go out and play. So I went.

ok, honestly, I wanted to know something.

I asked her, after hearing some dead-on stuff she told the other women, “Will we move?” And she shook her head.

“Not this year, hon. I see that energy moving more in 2009 to 2010.”

Dang. I mean, DANG!

Then she asked about that Leo in my life, my husband. When is his birthday? And then she said, “I see a baby boy in his chart. Oh my! He will have a mini-me! Do you and your husband want more children?”

“YES.”

“OOooooooooo….kkkkkaaaaaaayyyy! You. are. gonna. have. a. baby. boy.”

I dared not look but I knew everyone in the room was smiling. I felt A reached over and squeezed my shoulder. I tried not to cry or to scream. I tried not to believe. I wanted to believe. I wanted to bring incense and offer her flowers and fruits and gold and jewelry, to make sure that this is true, that it is not going to change. I almost wanted to make her promise, a living baby boy. But I can’t. I just nodded, and I smiled.

But I really wanted to cry.

The thing is, how come she did not know that I already have a little soul in me?

===================

May29th

7 weeks. Time seemed to have flown by.

Working on a translation assignment helped. Planning for Val’s birthday party helped.

Not thinking about the pregnancy gave me some sanity.

I am not paranoid. Really, not. Even though I feel I should be… … it’s almost like if I am not paranoid, i am not being responsible, i do not want this baby enough.

But I do.

I start to get a bit queasy. A bit tired. But still manageable.

I think of how it has been a long time since I wrote Ferdinand a “letter”, but we’ve been talking everyday.

Somehow, I think the girls have an inkling that I am pregnant. They look at my belly suspiciously. They say out of the blue, “Maybe there is a baby in there!” I just keep silent. We will only tell them after we see a heartbeat. Of course, there is no guarantee. When we choose to tell is really a random choice, no matter how we rationalize it.

=================

June2

First prenatal on Wednesday. Excited and nervous.

Also feeling weird keeping this news private for so long.

But I really just feel like going to live in a cave… until this baby is born alive and healthy. I loathe the idea of being seen pregnant in the public ever again; don’t want questions or anything. I hate it, esp because I tend to get very big. And most people seem only to have idiotic things to say about a big belly.

Also feel odd because in the bereaved circle, I mean, those whom I read, news of pregnancy have been breaking. Almost feels wrong to keep my news to myself, but I just feel like doing it this way.

==================

June 11

Nine weeks. We’ve made it to nine weeks. It feels so incredible.

This week the placenta grows, starts supplying nutrients to the baby.

The placenta.

I thought of my failed placenta. Calcified and monstrous-looking. I did not want to see it. I felt repulsed, and disgusted. Angry that it betrayed and let the baby die.

I hope this placenta will be better. Please, please, please… …

We’ve let the girls into the news, because it was hard to keep it much longer from them. With each passing day, they pressed harder for an answer to that inkling that had been possessing them.

Both of them were so thrilled, especially Val.

Of course, they said things like, “I hope this baby will not die.”

They ask me often, “Is baby still ok, mommy?”

What can I say? — “I think so.”; “I hope so.”

I wish I can just say, “YES! Baby is ok! Baby is doing phenomenal! YES!! Baby is going to be born ALIVE!!!”

want to believe, want to believe, want to believe. Scared to death, but still want to believe.

===============

June14

The girls keep asking, “Is baby still ok?”; “Is baby still alive you think?”

The girls keep saying, “I hope baby doesn’t die.”; “One baby dying is already sad enough, right, Mom??”

Out of the blue this evening Sophia said, “I am feeling sad, Mom.”

“Why?”

“Because Ferdinand died.”

I hugged her, told her I am extremely sad too.

And then I decided to introduce the concept of reincarnation. I told them maybe Ferdinand is coming back again. I told them what I believe and that they can make their own decisions about what to believe.

Val had tears in her eyes. “I hope it is Ferdinand again. How will we know?”

“You will know it right in your heart, darling.”

========================

June27

Tired, in every sense of the word.

Sophia keeps asking, “Is baby ok?” I have to keep replying, “I think so… I hope so…”

And the house is coming to shreds and really I don’t give much of a shit.

Stay with me, little one.

=============

June30

12 weeks tomorrow, will we see a heartbeat?

Please.

I would really like to see a heartbeat.

Although, it just lets me know that I am this far along, it does not guarantee anything for me. Not a safe passage to the end of the pregnancy; not a safe delivery, not a live baby… no more guarantees.

Pregnancy after a loss sucks big time.

But I hold Hope, in defiance.

===============

July 1

Heartbeat 150. Active, alive. He said, “I’m here. Hi again.”

Emotional. I know it is him again.

Now I can collapse. I need rest. The road ahead is still so long. One step at a time. Gingerly. Hopefully.

======================

July3

I looked at the ultrasound pictures. They are grainy, and blurred.

Suddenly I thought, “These are just images… perhaps not real.”

I feel as if the baby will just fade away, like old photos…

Two days ago, that image on the screen made it all real to us, and then now, it feels like a dream.

=============

July9

It feels like walking in a mine field.

Who knows when shit happens.

The doppler arrived yesterday and we were able to find a heartbeat after some fumbling around. Music, beautiful music. R asked if I felt better, having the doppler?

“Yes, for a few seconds.”

He sighed. Rolled his eyes.

He seems more optimistic than I am; more relaxed than when we first found out.

Life and death, a mere breath apart. How can I just relax and let go?

Yet, what else can I do but just let go? It is just one breath. And it is not for me to decide.

Stay with me, please.

=================

July 11

yesterday S came to gym class with her 3-week-old baby. She was sleeping in the car-seat. Tiny, sweet, tender, fresh, so cute, content, sleeping.

I smiled; such a tiny little miracle.

I also ached. I could have held a baby like this a year ago… he could have been… (gives self mental slap. STOP! No more could-have-been’s and should-have-been’s…. stay in the present! Slap.)

I thought of this little life I am nurturing in me right now. I hope I get to hold him, so sweet, tiny and fresh, in six months time.

I hope, I hope.

Then, S’s friend, all chipper, broke my train of thought by asking, “So, how many children you have?”

I hesitated.

“Two, I have two girls.” And S quickly pointed out to her friend the two girls running around in the play area.

“But actually, I have three. The baby boy died last summer.” (in silence)

I felt a bit guilty. But, I cannot bear to just talk about him like that, in a hurry, to a stranger; all I have time to tell will be in three words, “But he died.” He was more than that, is more than that. So, rather than making it so short, quick, brief and shocking, not to mention awkward, I said I have two.

The third I enfold in my heart.

===============

July13

Two fellow bereaved mamas gave birth to their babies over the weekend. Saw photos of sweet, sweet beautiful babies and those just brought tears to my eyes. I just feel so incredibly happy for them.

Gave me hope, and yet, drove home what a great loss all of us deadbabymamas had experienced.

Hope is a slippery thing to hold.

==========

Aug3

ups and downs; ups and downs. Fear. Hope. Acceptance. Paranoia. Fear. Surrender. Hope.

A crazy swirling cauldron of emotions.

I feel like knocking myself unconscious, to awake at the end of 40 weeks, just in time to push out a screaming, living baby.

=============

Aug7

Teary and emotional today. Bad omen??

I felt grateful at the end of my yoga and meditation. Blessed. I think for the first time I dare to say I feel blessed with this pregnancy. Despite the fact that there is “this time”, because Ferdinand died. Despite the fact that we have no idea where this is going to head; no idea if lightning will strike, yet again. But today I felt a bit daring and uttered my gratitude for this pregnancy. So grateful.

===============

Aug11

woke up in a panic this morning- has he died?

found a heartrate with the doppler but it was not convincing.

why do we need 40 weeks to gestate? It is too freaking long. My heart cannot take this, my will weakens at times. My belief sometimes fades.

Last prenatal visit the midwife was getting ready to go over to the hospital to help two women deliver. As we said goodbye she shouted after me, “One day it is going to be you, having your baby.” I turned around and said, “Yes… … I hope so.”

I hope so. Maybe. Perhaps. If. The pregnancy after. Brutal. Like. Shit.

============

Aug15

Three births from babylost mamas the last two days. I cannot tell what an awesome feeling it is to hear such news. Such an incredible feeling. You just feel so happy you wanna die.

Of course, I hope my time will come too. Hope, hope, hope.

At last I start to feel some small movements. It is a bit reassuring.

===========

Aug 26

Is it ridiculous to tell your family you had a baby only after it has been born?

Probably. But that’s what we are going to be doing to some of our family.

Sophia likes to kiss my belly now. I am getting huge, people are asking questions. I try to smile, but every time, it makes my skin crawl. Every time I see Sophia’s little hand on my belly, caressing it ever so gently, greeting the baby, my heart aches. She could have been a big sister now. What if this baby dies too? Will she lose faith in me, in life?

Yesterday while I walked away from the pool after handing Val over to her swim teacher, she asked me, “Are you pregnant?” This young teacher, who has forged a strong rel’ship with the two gals. They just love her, and I can see she adores them too. I could not run away and so I nodded.

“Do you know if it’s boy or girl?” (why do they always ask that??)

“Not yet.”

“Let me know when you find out!”

I sort of gave a half-nod.

Shit.

I don’t want to tell her. I like her. I respect her. I love this baby inside of me, but I also don’t want to share too much of this baby with anyone else. Is that weird? I just don’t know how to explain this.

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Lost?

I went through my Inbox and found something from Dr Joanne asking if I would respond, either privately, or publicly about this post. Yes, yes, I told her, I’ll go read it … and while over at her blog, I saw that she posted about Gana, the gorilla who lives in a zoo in Germany- Muenster, specifically, where R went to college- and her baby Claudio who died at three months, rather suddenly. For days after he died, she carried him around,guarding him fiercely, not allowing him to be taken away. They say out in the wild, a gorilla mother could carry her dead baby around with her for long periods. There was a picture elsewhere, that totally broke my heart, of the gorilla holding her baby up, trying to revive him, but he was all limp, and his head was flopped backwards. I cried, not just for this mother’s anguish, but also for how the zoo respected her need to hold on to her baby. They put up a sign to explain to visitors what was going on, and someone was on hand to answer questions; and then they just let her be. It seems this morning she was ready to let go… …

What a difference, isn’t it? Some of our situations, compared to Gana’s? One report started with the sentence “HERS is the inconsolable grief of all mothers who lose a child.” Oh, inconsolable grief indeed! Except, too often this grief is not acknowledged, and some choose to not witness, hold, and touch. Instead they say, “It is for the better.”; “You can always have another one.” and similar such meaningless, ridiculous words. It is a loss, but measured differently. In a gorilla, we see it in all its rawness. We saw that Gana’s grief was primal, and deep, and we respected it. But in us humans, well, we better show some strength and dignity and restrain, and heck, consideration for others, and not grieve so much. We should not talk about babies dying, and how much it hurts; and all the accompanying emotions that come with it. We should refrain from upsetting others in social situations by mentioning our, you know, bad luck, and loss.

::::::

So, back to Joanne’s piece on the language surrounding stillbirth. I do use the word loss myself, except in my mind that word is always replaced with his death. I suppose, I try to protect those around me and try to not make them too uncomfortable by using the word loss instead of died. My children, instead, have no qualms about using that word. Ferdinand is dead. He died. Ferdinand died inside your belly. It is so sad. It is the most saddest thing when a baby dies.

When I use the term loss, I always have the image of a life ripped from me, and my heart being ripped apart and a large chunk of it being taken away. I know some bereaved hates this word. Because it is not something that can be replaced. No, indeed. I did not somehow misplaced my baby somewhere. But I do accept that it is a common word, but can have different shades of meaning.

That said, recently, during our cabin retreat and hiking along a most beautiful aquamarine river, I had the morbid image of going through cabinets and closets, decluttering stuff, and suddenly, coming upon a baby, wrapped in a blanket, all shriveled up, and forgotten. Somehow, I misplaced it. Forgot about it. Lost it. I am not sure if I had this haunting image because of the word lost being used, or because a subconscious part of me is still convinced that he will be found one day, somehow, only too late.

Sometimes I say, since he died… … I almost never say he was born still. I know I am not alone in detesting that image, of a supposedly living thing born so silent, and still.

On official documents, this is very clear. You will get a DEATH certificate, because your child died. No doubt about it. But, when it comes to the Birth Certificate, it becomes a lot more blurry. It is very odd. They will tell you, scientifically, there were no longer any signs of life, and so he is dead, and so you get a Death Certificate. But science is thrown out of the window when you ask for a Certificate of Birth. Actually, we are so accurate we ask for and (may) get a Certificate of Birth resulting in Stillbirth. Too wordy and politically correct for me, but at least I get an acknowledgment that he was once alive in me. It is acknowledged that I once embark on a journey to nurture a life in me, and I birthed him. I still birthed him, even though he did not make it out kicking and screaming. But in some states, this is still denied. Because for some reason, it escapes them to fathom that there needs to be life, before death. The logic is just not there. The baby died of course, but there is no way you can prove it was a life before it was born, er, dead. Does it make sense? No. And why? Yes, Joanne was right, politics was involved.

I think, most people cannot tolerate the use of the words dead or died, because it is so… unpleasant, and scary. It reminds them of their own mortality. It seems so wrong when those words have to be applied to a baby. But they can at least acknowledge that the loss is a monumental one. It is really not the same as losing a sock in the dryer. A loss can be on such a grand scale that your life is totally altered, and you are just never the same ever again. A loss can cut so deep that the wound will never scab over. I use the word loss sometimes when responding to devastating news on a baby forum. I always say I am so deeply sorry for your monumental loss; I just could not bring myself to say, I am so sorry your baby died. But inside, I acknowledged that a life so tender and full of potential was lost, and monumentally so, on a grand scale. I acknowledged that the parents had experienced the death of their little one. I acknowledge that the parents are going to be grieving, for as long as they need to, and they may be stuck in the mud of grief for a very long time, and that they will find their way out, if people will acknowledge that the grief that stems from that loss requires so much empathy and love and support to get through.

Sometimes, standing in line in a store, I will imagine being asked, “So, how many children do you have?!” and I will fantasize myself answering, “Two living children, and one baby who DIED.” Just because sometimes I feel I need to shock people into understanding that babies do die. It happens everyday. Parents whose babies die are not morons, they are people just like you and me, who stand in line, and do our own laundry, and just, plainly, want to have a child to love.

I agree, that sometimes in using the word loss, it seems to make it lighter. As if it is something that can be fixed. But on the other hand, when I choose to use the word died publicly, I sometimes suspect myself of my agenda. I think, for me, the intention and the understanding behind the choice of word is as important as uttering it, using it. Yes, babies do die, even if they do not get to draw a breath from this world.

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Back with quirks

I’m back. I mean, we’re back. The house is rotting, the garden is dying DEAD, but I’m re-charged. Sort of. I’ve missed you all. The week-break from the Olympics was good, but now we’re back with a vengence, eyeballs totally glued to the TV. C’mon, just every four years, ok? I swear, I never watch TV otherwise.

While I was gone, my friend Lisa tagged me for a quirky meme. She tagged me over at my other blog, the one about our miscellaneous unschooling life, which was started mostly as a “report” for my family, so they can see what the girls have been up to (living a decadent life). So, erm, mostly my family reads it, and I think a handful of friends curious about our moronic life, and I want to tag basically all of you, so I am pasting my reply to the meme here:

Mention six quirky, yet boring, unspectacular details about yourself. Tag six other bloggers by linking to them. Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged. If you participate, let the person know who tagged you you’ve posted your quirks!

My quirks:

  1. I cannot stand low-fat, or non-fat anything. If Julia Child is alive, we will be great pals, I think. Maybe we’ll irritate the hell out of everyone with our battle cry of “Butter!!” I am picky about my fats though- have to be a good full fat, not just some junky stuff. Hey, if you gotta eat it, might as well have the real stuff. And quality matters.
  2. I have to sleep with a bolster between my knees. I sleep on my side, mostly. Growing up I’ve always had a bolster, custom-made for me, increasing in size as I grew. When I came to the States, I went to buy a bolster, and they are decorative elements. Huh?
  3. I don’t have ice-cubes in my freezer and I do not drink cold drinks, except on occasion. It’s some Chinese quirky belief, cold is not good for the system, esp the feminine system.
  4. I don’t like to wear shoes that cover my feet completely. They always make my toes hurt, no matter what they promise. But I don’t like flip-flops either. They make my heels hurt. I wear sandals. I know, you are starting to roll your eyes and shake your head…
  5. I still plan my schedules with good ol’ pen and paper. Quaint, eh?
  6. I roll my eyes and snort a lot. Really. And I’m not even a cynical sort of person.
  7. And also… … I have more, really, but they said to stop at six. So I stop.

This blog is mostly read by my family, so I’m going to tag some of my “virtual” friends: Tash, C., CLC, Julia, Bon, Kate, Niobe, Ya Chun, Loribeth, Rosepetal… heck, if you have a quirk about exposing your quirks, pray do participate!

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funny?

I don’t always look at my blog stats, but when I do, I always look to see what searches brought people to this site. A lot of the times, of course, it is something stillbirth related. Why,; how; when to try again; chances of it happening again; birth/death announcement, etc.

Sometimes, it’s something else. Like the underwear query some time back.

Recently there are a couple I though to be kinda, er, funny:

  • inside popo
  • what not to eat when you have piles
  • life-cycle of a hen
  • Japanese eggplant
  • moviestar stillbirths
  • cricket chirping i want to die

actually, not so funny, when I sit to think some more. Well, maybe a bit.

Do you have any funny ones?

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location change

Nooooooooooooo, we have not decided yet. But thank you so much for what you have input so far–

G, Seattle is on our list to consider. woo-hoo!

Stephanie, I found what you wrote to be interesting. Though going home back in February this year and seeing all the lush green (and I could not get over the amount of green, and how large and deeply green a leaf can be…) made me drool, deep down I know I can never live back “home” again. I felt so out of place in so many ways and on so many levels.

missing_one, I like California too, but R thinks it’s tooo expensive, esp real estate.

Gillian, whoa! you sure have lived in quite a number of places! We have a friend who just moved to NC; she is in Hendersonville and is just giddy with love. She keeps telling us to go visit, and consider a move there. She said R will find a job there, at the university. Thing is, though R works in research, he is not in the academia. He is kinda awkward in this sense. Sydney sounds amazing… I really like a place with a good public transport system. I am so sick of having to drive everywhere, sitting on my ass all day long. I got to walk a lot in Hong Kong, and they too, have an amazing labyrinth of transport system, and so super efficient too. I lived for 6 weeks in NYC and also enjoyed all that walking. I think my element is earth, I need to feel the earth under my feet… …

Bon, I visited Victoria, like… er…. 14 years ago?!?! Beautiful place. but yes, expensive. Arizona is considered relatively cheap to live in. And I am not sure R will find a job there. R will not go back to Germany. He finds the climate there depressing, esp in winter. But he salivates for the European lifestyle, esp the long vacations, aaaaahhhhhh… and also the supposedly more open-mindedness that they have there (really depends on where you look though!). I wouldn’t mind Europe, really.

Amelie- yeah, homeschooling is rather a top issue for us. I am open if the girls want to go to school but they do not want to. S will probably adapt well to school but not Val. She will be crushed by a conventional school system. For some reason, Val is enamored with Italy, just after watching a documentary, ha! She also would like a place where there are more castles….hmph…..

**

and that documentary we watched, was good. We got it from Netflix but it’s from the Discovery channel, from a series called Discovery Atlas X revealed. X being the country. So far we’ve watched China (amazing work) and Italy. Can’t wait to get to more. In the Italy installment they featured this guy living in Sicily who wants to be a professional deep diver. You know, those people who hold their breaths for, like, 4 minutes and go to unimaginable depths of 170 feet, propelled by muscles and pure will? Yeah. It reminded me of the movie Le Grand Bleu and I so wanna watch that movie again. R will never ever watch the same movie twice. I will, and I do. And now I want my Le Grand Bleu.

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We are having a brief location change starting this Saturday, for a week. We’ll be unplugged, tucked away at our little cabin 2 hours away, in the mountains and next to a little creek that can swell to a raging river (it did that last summer and took our shed with it). We’ll be quiet. We’ll be plotting distances and contemplating life and where to re-locate.

I’ll be missing everyone, esp reading along, but I’ll be back!

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A few days after Ferdinand died, R sat on the couch next to me and asked, “Should we move?”

Should we move?? My first thought was, “Why, yes.” Because the thought of going back to all those familiar places that have seen my ripe belly, but now with empty arms, just killed me. I dreaded having to answer questions. We’ve talked about moving on and off the past few years. Why not now?

But I know that it was just a way of escaping, and it is not going to work out. Grief will follow us, and the girls will probably not do well moving to a new place with freshly bereaved parents. So, we stayed put.

Somehow I managed to go to those familiar places. (Though there are a couple I still have not stepped foot into.) Somehow we made it through the past 12 months.

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Unlike some of you, I’ve not moved much in my life. The changes in location I have had can be summarized as follow:

1995: from Singapore to Hong Kong, to do my Master degree in Chinese art history. Big adaptation. Hong Kong was (still is) crowded and hectic. Learn the local dialect or get snickered at, or slaughtered when you go shopping (even at the wet market; especially at the wet market). People can be really brash. I learned to love that place. The energy. The easily available good, cheap food. The pockets of green that can be easy to get to, or a bit challenging but totally worth it.

2001: moved to Arizona, 32 weeks pregnant with our first baby. Another big adaptation. Too much space. Too much distance everywhere. Have to drive to buy milk. Grocery stores so big we bought walkie-talkies in case we lose each other. Need to have car. A lot of brown, and gray. Foliage very small. No big, colorful exotic flowers. Not enough rain, not enough green. Grew to appreciate the desert, and how life can thrive. Got our little cabin that is a wonderful refuge. Hardest thing to give up here would be the friendships.

That’s all, folks. That’s all the moving I ever did my whole life. Believe it or not.

Just so you know, my husband hates me discussing things with others (especially “strangers” online I have never met) that involves our personal life. Even if it’s not sex-related.

The thing is, I could use some ideas. We would like to move away from Arizona. We’ve been here seven years and looking for a change. I really want to go where there is more green, more lush, less brown. We will even consider an international move. The thought of packing scares me. The idea of adapting to a new environment, getting used to new accents, maybe new languages, make me anxious. Still, my feet itches. I want to move. We want to move.

So, where have you lived that you liked? That you really, really love? Where would you love to move to, and why? Where would you totally avoid, and why??

(I would like to be in a green place; eco-minded; where I can easily buy good, local food, direct from the honest, hardworking hands that grew them; where all forms of art is thriving, especially good if Flamenco is a regular feature; even better if Cirque du Soleil performs in my backyard; where it is family-friendly; where different cultures can co-exist and thrive; and very importantly for my girls, esp Val, that homeschooling is legal and not overly regulated.)

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When someone is “hanging in there”, the last thing you do is to pry their fingers off the cliff and say “Let go!”

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