Friday, May 28, 2010

Finding Balance

“Life’s energy source rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water.”

This cultural shorthand, used in an explanation of feng shui, which literally translates to mean wind-water, was taken from a passage of the Zangshu (Book of Burial) by Guo Pu of ancient China’s Jin Dynasty. Feng shui is an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics, especially when concerning one’s living space, which uses both the laws of astronomy and geography to help one improve life by receiving positive energy and decreasing the negative.

While I’m not sure that I willingly and immediately embrace all the principles of the auspicious Chinese tradition, nor am I overly impressed with the occasional over-commercialization of that same cultural tradition in the interior design offices of the Western world, I am certainly not opposed to welcoming a little more positive energy into my life. So, when Tera, my new temporary roommate and a former feng shui design consultant from Orange County, California, offered Stephanie and me a free feng shui consultancy as a token of her gratitude, we jumped at the opportunity.

Changes thus far: Rearranging my bed placement, so it is facing the door, should help me feel more in control of my life both at home and at the office. Relocating our dining room table has the potential to encourage more social interaction in an often ignored location in our apartment. Stephanie’s addition of symmetrical night stands on either side of her bed may help her to find romance, and the removal of an old Chinese New Year decoration in our entry way may actually lift our energy levels up. Here’s hoping.

I say I am more than willing to try any trick in the book to bring more positive energy into my life, not because I am depressed or in anyway hitting that cultural shock low again…I believe and hope that time has passed. But rather, this plea comes because I need to somehow find a bit more balance in my life. It has been quite a long time since I last wrote a blog entry, but I can, in fact, sum-up my life since May 6 in one short sentence: I have been working 10-12 hour days…every day.

Of course, all the extra work time has occurred as a result of a perfect storm of factors: 1.) I am staying after school almost everyday to practice choreography with the kids in the school musical, because the show opens one week from now (As a side note, this, of course, has been a wonderful opportunity, and I am incredibly grateful to my school for utilizing my talents in appropriate ways. I am also so proud of and excited for the kids to show off all their hard work, especially because my family will arrive just in time for the premier. ). 2.) Mid-year exams left me with 160 essays to grade in addition to 80 short answer and summary scripts. 3.) The end of the term has meant more time is needed to prepare for next term. 4.) The end of the term has also meant a rush to tie up any loose ends, which, in Singapore, of course, always means more meetings.

As a result, when I'm not ordering in pizza and watching movies with Steph, many of my weekends have been spent simply trying to catch up on school work…and sleep. Now that the term is officially over, I will be involved in musical rehearsals, parent’s day meetings (on Saturday), oral communications teaching courses, or invigilation of oral examinations for the next week. See what I mean about needing some positive energy flow?

However, the best cure and the best kind of positive energy that one can have, one’s family, is boarding a plane one week from today and will be knocking on my door, I’m sure, with a whole new positive life force for me to feed from.

In the midst of all the insanity that has been my work life, I have, in fact, been able to find some lovely, if not grand, positive moments in the last several weeks. Yet, in an effort to preserve the energy I have left, and because I am planning an extravagant pasta and wine dinner for myself this evening (yes, there is food involved in my rush to get away, remember who you’re dealing with here), I am going to present you with a brief photo summary of the positive energy moments that occurred this month, which, possibly, my new-found feng shui aura has founded.

Even though it is 90 degrees everyday, there is nothing like a big bowl of chili and some country music to cure any inkling of home sickness.

Hannah and Jacob's Cinco de Mayo party required that we wear mustaches to gain entry...Steph and I found a loophole to avoid sporting a painted-on mustache all evening.

Jacob and company playing music for Cinco de Mayo.

We planned a picnic in the park for Ranu's last day in Singapore. Ingredients for a perfect picnic: light breeze (check), great view (check), wine (check), cheese (check), fruit (check), football (check), kites everywhere (check), good friends (many checks)...perfect. Lisa took the chance to practice the skills she learned while watching the USC football team for four years. Steph also had some sweet moves.
The view from the picnic spot was picturesque...kites galore!
We all gave the football toss a shot (thanks to Dad, my spiral is nothing to be ashamed of)...what a fun last moment in Singapore for Ranu to remember!My roommate/best friend and I...I miss her already and she's only been on vacation in India for a day!

Ranu and I spotted several monkey's on our hike...luckily I didn't bring along breakfast this time.Ella and I decided to take a nap one day to recover...she definitely slept better than I did.
We've all been crazy busy with work, but we did manage to make it out to a dumpling dinner for Joe's birthday.

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