We've been in Los Angeles 2 and a half days now & have not done any sightseeing at all. We are just enjoying being a family together in one place at one time again! Meals, movies, a bit of shopping & just trying to get over jet lag (read: waking up at 4 to 5 am) are enough for now.
Over the next few days, we will visit the University of Southern California, perhaps Venice Beach, Hollywood, and of course, with my guys, possibly visit a guitar factory.
Whatever we do, it won't matter....'cos we'll do it together.
We start heading out tomorrow for our yearly sojourn to the USA. A is already on his way from Singapore. W & I make our way out first thing in the morning, followed by Z at mid-day.
The logistical planning of this vacation has been challenging, to say the least.
I have started to feel quite unsettled, unsatisfied, in limbo with this lifestyle. With one son in college and the other heading to college next year, I am yearning for a Place To Call Our Own, somewhere for the boys to go to when they are on vacation, where A & I can retire to eventually.
Our house has become Hangout Central, with returning alumni on their summer break trying to spend as much time as possible with each other before everyone heads out to their various destinations.
I can't blame them, really, as many of these TCK's will soon not have a "home" to return to in Beijing as their parents get posted to other cities & countries. They will have an amazing network of friends around the world, stretching over many continents.
It's hard to say whether the pluses outweigh the minuses in being TCK's. One thing is for sure - goodbyes are damned hard to say.
I am back in Singapore for a short spell. Although I have been making fairly regular trips back here from Beijing, the pace of change that happens here is so fast that I feel lost when I am here.
It's almost like I am slightly out of phase from the rest. The buildings are different, the streets have been diverted, the people whom I interact with are also different. I look for familiar restaurants & they are gone. There are so many new condos that have been built & old ones demolished.
I don't quite feel as at home as I thought I would.
My new hobby, quilting. Here's what I've done so far.
My first creation, using a mixture of modern batiks & material cut from my late grandmother's sarongs (she was Penang Peranakan):
This cheerful flowery quilt now resides in my sister's home.
This was my next creation - a quilted comforter for Z to bring to college. It was made with predominantly blue colored material (Z's favorite color).
Then there are these two throws made up of leftover material from the previous quilts. I hate waste, so with winter coming, I figured our house needed a couple of extra throws for chilly winter Beijing nights.
Throws & comforters aren't the only things you can quilt...
Here's a reversible bread basket, again made up of scrap material.
...and side B!
And how about some quilted coasters, again made up of scrap material from previous quilts.
I made a set of 10, found a big blue ribbon, bundled them up & voila...! A housewarming gift for the dear friend who first introduced my to the world of quilting. Alas, she will be moving back to the UK this summer, but the one-of-a-kind coasters will remind her of Asia ( and me!).
W, not wanting to be left out, asked me when I would be making him one, when he saw me making one for Z! So here is his, complete with guitar motifs and all.
The flannel backing makes it a very comfy blanket.
This was another farewell gift for a friend. Using the "Tumbling Blocks" design, it is also made up of material from my grandmother's sarongs.
You can even quilt for a good cause. Our school recently held a fund-raiser for the victims of the earthquake in Japan. I made a quilt throw to contribute to the Quilts for the Quake silent auction. I called it Summery Reds, also using the Tumbling Blocks design and here it is. It feels good to make a difference to a good cause.
And my latest creation, using t-shirts belonging to Z which he got as freebies from all the gigs which he performed in before going to college. Being extraordinarily large in size by China's standards, he could never fit in any of these free shirts. So instead of allowing them to collect dust or eaten by moths in the closet, I decided to find a way of creating something useful which he could also keep as a memento of his musical "career" in high school! This is an extra large throw (for an extra large guy!) that will keep him warm in the cold winter nights of Indiana...
I find quilting to be therapeutic in times of stress. I love the satisfaction that comes from piecing the different patches together into a cohesive design. I like the way contrasting colors which seem like they would clash seem to be able to come together once you group them in certain ways using different materials to mesh them into a pleasing blend.
I guess it's kind of like life, isn't it? No matter how different we all are, if we work at it & come together, the Whole is usually more beautiful than each individual piece.