STOP OUT-PERFECTING OTHERS

Flaunting perfectionism is an arrogant and finicky disease, as everybody knows that there is such thing called perfection, nor no one is perfect. Or why would you photoshop every photo before you share on social medium? Or why do you drink that “instant-weight-losing tea”? Why do you think of that breast plastic surgery? Why do you make all kinds of action plans? Admit it, isn’t it all because you are NOT perfect? However, the obvious way of doing things passed along is: be way strict with others while be loose to yourself.

Sometime ago, a girl shared among her girlfriends, explaining how upset whether it is time to break up with her boyfriend or not, as the boyfriend is not that perfect, he is tall, handsome and rich, qualified to be a shallow materialistic girls’ boyfriend; but he’s lazy as well, quite spoiled by his parents, likes playing vedio games at home, does’t like taking her out shopping an so on, which is not qualified to be her boyfriend. And in the end, she attached their photo together, asking us to comment whether they are a good match. I did not comment. As I don’t want to destroy anyone’s life by words, I want to be a decent person.

However I can’t help it! Girl, if you tell us that your boyfreind is not perfect, come on! you are way far from what you are talking about.Check yourself out first in the mirror, would you?

It is more than complicated for two persons to be together, it is a subtle combination of various factors. If things do no work out, it just does not work out, nothing to do with perfection. Besides, no one is perfect. Trust me, I know there are more than just this poor boyfriend who are suffering from this extremely unfair one-sided so-called perfection.

Once before, I had a boss who knows nothing about the business, not good at nothing at all. He liked to distribute different assignments to us. The next day, whatever we submitted to him, he sent it back, not satified. But how unsatisfied about our assignments, all you could hear from him is, “I am a perfectionist, understand? As a perfectionist, I have such high standards. I hope you all comprehend. Bla, bla, bla…” Oh, cut the crap please! You just use your super high ambiguous standards on everyone except you.

Well, I guess everyone does so sometimes, one can always forgive himself/herself while one could not bear minor mistake made by others. I am not a perfectionist at all, all I want is people around me would serve me perfectly, simple as that. I don’t know what is that called if this is not perfect selfishness.

No one is perfect, nothing is perfect.I am far away from perfection, so I will leave alone others, stop pushing them to be perfect, stop accusing them to be perfect, accept who you are and who they are, change yourself with all your efforts. Or, I would foresee that I will die alone ugly, with regrets.

You might think that too, right? For your own good.

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Love him? Try traveling together first!

In the novel ‘Fortress Besieged ‘ (Wei Cheng) by Mr.Qian Zhongshu, he said, those who go through long term hardship during the travel and still do not dislike each other, could be some friends. Then I guess, if that is some requirement for a friend, a life partner should be even more like this.

If you are not sure whether you like him or not, you can always try traveling together with him. In my opinion, traveling together can tell one’s attitude, capability of solving problems, whether he is patient, thoughtful, etc. I think traveling together is a must-do before two get married. As two go traveling together to a unfamiliar place is such a test. There are so many details which can indicate whether you two are suitable for each other to live together or not. Don’t always think that traveling costs too much, I need to save money for my house loan, car loan. Well, living economically is correct, but you definitely deserve some wonderful and precious memory while you are young to remember, traveling with your love is one option.

First get yourself prepared and check out his behaviors:

Plans. Tell him that you like to go traveling with him. If he says he has no money for this, or the destination you are going is nothing interesting, in the meanwhile, he suggests nowhere else, or just prefers staying at home. Then he doesn’t enjoy life as you do. So prepare yourself NOT to have any surprises if you two get married, but hang on, before you two get married, think twice, do you really want to live with such a man for your whole life? Of course, all the travel preparation will reveal whether he is a planning kind of guy or how detailed in his arrangement.

In my case, I told Paul that I’d visit him in Phuket for 5 days including one day is my birthday, he arranged everything. I mean everything: commodity, where to dine out, where to have fun, when to meet his friends, how to celebrate my birthday and the whole five days full of surprises, starting right from my arrival at Phuket International Airport. He was sitting on the bench outside of the gate with bright local flower necklace for me. He directed me to his parking car and carried my luggage. Such a gentleman. He then hugged me and gave me a big warm welcome kiss when there were not so many people . He is shy sometimes. After the kiss, I found a sapphire in my mouth, as my first BIG surprise! He was shy to kiss me in the airport lobby.

Expenditure. It is quite obvious to get to know one’s consumption habits. Well, you have to find out whether he has got the courage to take on partial cost of the trip. If he only wants taking not thinking of giving, , he doesn’t deserve any of your time. If you two don’t have much money, talk openly and use it more reasonably and cautiously. But if he’s been obsessed whether he paid more than you for this bill, that, I have to say, is quite disappointing. You should be aware of that. When Paul took me out for dinner, he liked to pay and left the waiters nice tips if they served really cold beers, brought olive oil, vinegar and salt on time. And also, he is not a bean counter when he’s with friends. He likes to buy friends drinks. So he’s generous and likes giving.

Habits and Customs. All kinds of life details will reveal the one traveling with you. Let’s see how he behaves while living in a hotel together. Does he have any unbearable habits, like not taking baths? Not brushing teeth? Picking up his nose in public? Does he pack his luggage or bag well organized or just cram all the mess in the bag five minutes before he leaves? I do believe that a man who manages his life with orders is mainly responsible and trustworthy. He would notice your little habits too and takes care of you by surprising you with some details.

Before I met Paul, I was living alone, so I didn’t know too much about my own sleeping problems. He told me that I snored when I slept on my back and I clenched my teeth during sleeping, quite annoying huh? Yes, I would think so and feel disappointed. But Paul would prefer to have some solutions rather laughing at me or criticizing me. He said if I sleep on my side, I will not snore any more. Well, for my bruxism, I feel extremely embarrassed, he tried many ways to solve this problem together with me, psychologically and medically. See? Since he is an organized and detail oriented man he noticed my problems and helped me solve them, making his efforts and caring for me.

Traveling Mood. Oh, can I say this really matters? As no one can guarantee each every trip will be 100% satisfaction. There will be some unexpected incidents, or maybe you can not understand local dialect or language, get too much exhausted, the views are not that charming as we imagined, bad food or even sudden sickness, you name it. Guess it now rings some bells from your former experience. So, how would he react when you two just went through something unpleasant? Would he cheer you up and face it up with you with optimistic attitude? Or, just blaming someone else who ruined the pleasure, or shouting foul language while kicking the wall, or smoking in the chair while asking you to deal with it all by yourself? A good man would like to protect you and take care of you on every level, then you feel secure.

On our trip in Cortina in late October, the mountain area, he felt my cold hands and put my hand into his inner pocket to keep me warm and later he cheered me up with super nice food which kept me warm for long; when I have my period during travel, not so active on the first two days, I would be dying for a cup of hot chocolate, Paul would always remember this and get hot chocolate for me. Moreover, he would share historical stories, telling jokes to distract my attention on my unpleasant stomach. He always has better traveling mood, but, if there is some stupid driver in front of us, that is a totally different story.

Moreover, don’t quarrel too much, don’t get yourself in a sulk for too long, as it is hurting both feelings and you can make no fun out of quarreling. If you two quarrel a lot, then both need to think what happened caused this quarrel when you calm down, whether there is anything you can do to change the situation. I prefer a man who makes me smile and laugh rather than a man who makes me angry or full of sulk. The one you love should be like someone that you wish to talk with constantly. If you lose the first base, there is nothing left to talk about.
Life should be accumulated each other day by grateful and wonderful things, not anger or depression. We are living in a real world, not in fairy tale. So try living everyday with more acceptance and understanding. That will take us to the next level of the relationship.
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So turn off your phones and iPads or tablets, step out, go traveling out, breathe your real life with your loved ones. Wish the one in your hand is right like the one who’s holding my hand.

Someone Else’s Paradise

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I moved to Phuket living with my husband on November 17,2014. Before that, I lived almost all my life in China. I still remember that day when I left China the temperature was like 5 degree, wearing my thick coat but I didn’t feel cold as I knew where I am going — Phuket, my dream city where the temperature is always around 30 degree.

When I was living in China, I was very used to be waken up by my clock setting at 6:30, as the old Chinese proverb says, the whole day’s plan starts from morning. Yes, around 6:30, the city is still quiet, all you can hear is the traffic down there on the road. Because my parents’ house is in a tall building along the main road, even the windows are framed with two layers of thick glasses, the traffic, all vehicles passing by, would penetrate the glasses to let you know.

Most of the time the sound is boring and annoying, my neighbors would like to add two more layers of glasses for quiet life. But I can have fun with it some time. For instance, I can tell the different car passing by, like ambulances, firefighter’s trucks, police cars, football fans’ buses…you can always forecast that something happened; I can also tell different weathers according to the traffic, at least whether it’s windy, raining, snowing, or freezing on the road. See? if I want to try having some fun, I can always have some.

First morning when I woke up in my new bed, actually I was waken up by curiosity. No more traffic sound at all! Moreover, I can hear more sounds, like birds singing. All the windows are open, I am still lying in bed, trying hard to stretching my ears for more sounds, yes, I could hear some more: first, it’s cookoo! hang on, that is the bird sing I only heard at my grandparents’ rural house when I was still little, their house is really far faraway out of town in a small village. The bird sings like “cookoo,cookoo”, guess that is how it gets its name. Together with the morning solo opera singer Mr.Rooster, it breaks the quietness of the morning and brings the daytime. That is absolutely something really rare in our concrete city back in China. Then you can hear how the breeze skips through the leaves, making sound like winds are dancing waltz or tango or foxtrots with palm trees, mangosteen trees, coconut trees and all other plants that I don’t know their names yet.

All of a sudden there is something strange like an echo appearing over the roof, and more echoes. As I haven’t heard it before, I thought maybe that is some strange animals or some monsters around, I hid my face in blanket and poked Paul, “Listen honey, what is that sound? ” Echos again. “Ginkgo.” Whew, now I relaxed. But how come a ginkgo make sounds like this? Why didn’t I ever hear any ginkgo sound when I was in China? Maybe it is too noisy that their sounds can’t overcome our talk so we didn’t pay any attention? Or they are already too scared to make any free sounds in China? Anyway, that is something I first heard.
Then some other birds joined in, I feel so embarrassed that I can’t tell their names, but beautiful, stunning sounds.

And 8 am sharp, the louder speakers everywhere would broadcast Thai National Anthem. We never play our national anthem in China. But still, it’s holy and spiritual, a fresh way to start your day! So how would you say in this condition? I would say I do like to wake up by this wonderful morning symphony.

I dare not mention too much about my happiness to my family and friends in China, as I know I will make them envy me so much, they would tell me with jealousy, with water running in the mouths,” Lian, stop showing off! You are living in paradise now! Have some mercy for us!” Yes, I am living in my dream city, I am living in paradise.

There is a saying about traveling: traveling is to move from somewhere you are bored of, to somewhere other people are bored of. Since I have officially moved here, it is my life now, not my traveling any more, and I am not bored, just some other sounds also join in my paradise. Well, to be honest, the truth is I found out other sounds exist at the same time, which before I didn’t pay too much attention to.
Phuket is a mixed town, you can find all variety of races.

Around 5 am, the morning Islamic prayer starts, mysterious, historical and profound Arabic, accompanied with a kind of really stubborn bird with single tune of singing. Paul would say I am sugarcoating the bird’s noise instead of singing as it always disturbs Paul’s morning dreams.

Here comes the neighbors next. As our house is right in the middle of a big family houses, the benefit surrounded by them is really easy to know everything about their lives starting from morning, I mean everything. Well, even though Paul and I can’t speak Thai, but we just knew! Here comes the toddler,taking her first speaking lesson in the morning in the open yard, just like any other toddler like any other country, trying to make some sounds by making mistakes, now the grandparents are laughing and probably correcting her, “dear, what are you talking about? You should say it this way.” And the toddler tries more mistakes. I am sure that is how we learn our language too. After some passionate discussion, guess they all finish breakfast, time to go to work, motor bike engine howls on the driveway in the yard, fails, grandpa shouts to the son,
“what happened there?”

“Engine doesn’t start.”

“How much gas left? Did you lock it properly last night?”

“Quite enough gas dad!”

“Try again then!”

It howls again. God bless! This time it works and the motor bike leaves.

“Goodbye dad, goodbye mom!”

“Have a nice day!”

The following is their car. Everything happens all over AGAIN! Only their car engine works fine, don’t have to start twice.

If it is the weekend, that is more passionate, like a big morning party! Every member of the family is invited to celebrate glory morning in front of the yard, people are talking and laughing and exchanging useful messages so happily, really sharing family!

“You know the local market on X street, I bought beef cheaper than local market on Y street.”

“Oh, really? How lovely! I should go buy some too.”

Married daughter would take her children back to visit grandparents early in the morning to join the holy meeting, that is more interesting, like Christmas Eve or Chinese New Year. Guess you can get that picture easily.

Hang on, that is not the end of my sounds list. There is a water pump behind our bedroom, it works random times a day, random hours, almost every 60 minutes before breakfast, lunch and supper. Of course sometimes we can have some extra Thai cooking fume along with the pump working noise, that is some nice side effect I have to admit.

Living next to an expat is good for me I guess, as I can practice my English hearing. Our next door neighbor speaks Laos, Thai, French and English. Wow! It should be good. But it turns out not so nice starting from 8 pm till late at night like 1 am in the early morning with laughters.

Something else about the solo opera singer. Well, on my neighborhood exploring tour during the first month, I actually found a chicken shed 20 meters away from our house. Paul didn’t notice it before as it is well hidden behind the bushes, under the trees behind the wall. So, it explains why this solo opera singer there does not feel tired at all. No wonder we hear rooster’s singing all day long. Rooster myth solved: mister got some companies.

At last but not least, there is a giant construction site 200 meters away from our house. It is a good economic sign that they are building new apartments here day and night, it seems all the workers don’t take any rest, they worked even on Christmas, New Year’s day and on the weekends too.

Now imagine the noise around us? Guess you will have some headaches too.

I am not sure starting from which day, Paul begins to complain that he can’t sleep well starting from 5am, the morning prayer. We try closing windows, even preparing ear plugs for him. It seems no improvement. I feel stuck as i don’t know what to do to help him.
Two nights ago, my brother called me from China, telling me about the bad weather in China. No rainfall, no snow, minus 7 degree, PM 2.5 index is really high, over 300 all weeks. Smog, that is what people are breathing here. So easy to have breathing and lung problems. Naturally I complaint to him that weather in paradise is always around 30 degree which makes me sweat and burns me. And there is no fall or winter at all! Worse still, there are some wild animals might be dangerous! Like some other day I noticed a lizard,about 50 cm long,walking in the middle of the road like it owns the road! And later I found a green snake wondering in the front lawn in the yard, I am not sure whom was scared of whom,we both ran away.

And another day in Phuket town, I saw a palm sized squirrel crawling along the electricity wires, running around not worrying about causing any wire problem!

There always will be some road signs reminding drivers to aware of elephants, cows, and buffaloes rushing out of the roads! And I did see buffaloes twice on the roadside. They are so close to the beach! Yes, and all the birds, talking noises in the morning…

I was still in the emotion of complaining while my brother interrupted me,

“Sis, think about it, when is the last time you saw any kind of animal in Jinan(our hometown)?”

“Well, if flies and mosquitoes don’t count, I guess the last time I saw wildlife was when I was at the zoo.”

” Don’t you feel lucky that you are living in paradise now with some side effects, while other people are still suffering from the air they have to breathe everyday? Stop bragging and enjoy your beautiful life now. Be grateful everyday! I remember that you were an optimist when you were in China, what changes you, Sis?”

I was speechless for quite long time. Am I too greedy? Am I desiring too much? Since when I started to have more complains than appreciation? Where is old Lian who believes even the dark clouds have silver lining.

Now I start to close windows while sleeping; and try focusing on the thing that really matters to us. Neighbors talking, let them talk, they have the freedom and maybe I can learn some Thai from them; roosters singing, let them sing, it’s time to get up and start fresh again; ginkgoes echo, let them echo, they will eat more mosquitoes…see? All I need to do is to adjust my attitude to all these and accept the bright sides.

Life is too short to complain, let’s enjoy! Besides, I am living in someone else’s paradise. No, it is my paradise too! So, no more complaint, embrace the new life and enjoy it!

One False Step

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My mother tongue is not English, all I know everything about English spelling matters was my English test in the past. As if you spell a word wrong, you would find a big red cross (X) on your paper. That signal is quite dazzling and next time I will try not to make same mistakes and it works. So, sometimes I have to admit that making mistakes is an efficient way to learn things.

Like what happened during my honeymoon in Italy, not only for fun, also quite educational.

Here is the story: We had a GPS in the rental car which can lead us anywhere according to the address we set in. That day we were driving from Ravenna to that little country, San Marino,that is up in the mountain for a short visit then to Florence. Paul was in charge of driving, introducing European histories,double checking GPS addresses I put in, as most of the addresses were in Italian which I was not sure of. I was enjoying everything Paul told me, it was like traveling with your personal guide, whatever you ask him, he would tell you more than you ever expected, just wonderful! So, we had been talking all the way about ancient Roman and Turkish histories, mosaic church ceilings of Ravenna, bible stories, cheese species, Modena vinegar and Paul’s 101st country he’d go, which was our afternoon’s goal — San Marino. It would take about 2 hours from Ravenna to San Marino by car, especially we were taking highway, it’d be even faster. Paul kept asking me about how far to go, I kept telling what I saw from the GPS: to the destination, go straight south. It didn’t take too long for Paul to realize we were on the wrong way as there was no such visual for that mountain. We parked at the gas station, rechecked the GPS found out that I input the address “San Mariano”, worse still, we were more than 200km away from our original destination and it’s already over 2pm. I was wondering, if we go back to Florence directly, we won’t miss our hotel reservation in Florence but Paul would miss his 101 country, I didn’t want that to happen; if we go back to highway to San Marino, we would have less time staying for nice views, risking missing hotel reservation… Paul made the decision rather quickly — go back to San Marino, his 101 country. I was so glad the final result was good, we made a really long ugly U turn, rushed back to San Marino, driving all the way up to the top, marching around the museum and enjoying top views before it was getting sunset. Paul bought me a San Marino flag to remember my missing spelling, I agree that is a great lesson to learn.

What happened that day reminds me there is a similar Chinese phrase: One false step will make a great different. (shi zhi hao li, mv yi qian li.) Well, in my case, my misspelling caused more than 200km away difference. Luckily, my mistake didn’t cause any giant trouble, my husband didn’t abandon me up in San Marino, he bought me nice dinner in Florence, he still loves me.

In another case, one patient was not that lucky. British Medical Journal (BMJ) covered a lawsuit in 2000, an American doctor prescribed a patient who suffered from angina pectoris “Isordil, 20mg, Q6h”, however, the doctor’s handwriting was extremely unrestrained, the pharmacist mistook it as “Plendil”, which is a hypertensive medicine. It caused that patient’s heart attack by overdosing and the patient died a few days later. The court maintained that the doctor as well as the pharmacist are guilty, they would each compensate the patient family $225,000. That is a tremendous tragedy caused by 4 mispelling letters.

It wont’t take too long if we go back double check or even triple check, or if something you are not sure of, we can always ask a friend, coworker, editor or even Google for help. Because you never know what you are going to miss from the right path.