14 Dec 2015
It has been quite a busy year, as those of you who have kept up with KaTsZoNe may have noticed. I had three amazing guest bloggers, Jaimie Milburn, Sinéad Tyrone and Katerina Baboulas, who impressed us at the beginning of the year. I shared some of my summer adventures about my trips within Southern Ontario. In June, I decided to make KaTsZoNe into bimonthly issues instead of monthly -- partly because, a month went by so quickly and I could not keep up. Yes, it has been a busy year!
I can't believe that Christmas is next week. So far, no snow in sight. The average temperature for the first part of this week is about 10C. That's balmy! I'll take it instead of snow drifts, thanks!
Do you have a Christmas wish list? I have thought of a few!
1. Gift of Hope
As Canada welcomes Syrian refugees, I hope we will not only welcome them, but, that we can help them adjust to life in Canada. Over a thousand of them are suppose to settle in my community in North York (Toronto).
When I was 6 years old, I came to Canada with my parents from Malaysia. I'm certain it was not an easy decision for them. My father and his business partners lost their business to the Malaysian government. They fought to get their business back but lost when the case went to the highest court in the land. In 1969, I was told that the Chinese, Indians were persecuted by native Malays. Apparently, my dad and I were out for a stroll one day and faced Malays who were out to kill Chinese people, but, perhaps our lives were spared only because they thought we looked Japanese and not Chinese (which is why I say, never assume anything about appearances). After the killings stopped, discrimination in the workplace, schools and at houses of worship continued. Fortunately, we had family who sponsored us to come to Canada.
Many people come to Canada with great hopes for a better life just like my parents. It's not easy to start over, look for a job and find a home. For me, I am grateful to my grade school friends who helped the only Chinese girl in the school (up until Grade 5) to adjust to Canadian life. In particular, two of my best girlfriends gave me fun and educational books to read which helped me to improve my reading and writing skills. I had so much fun learning children's games and sports. I learned to ride a bike, play hopscotch, skipped rope and play on the monkey bars. In grade school, I learned French, poetry and sang in a choir! I hope the Syrian children who come to Canada will also make great new friends and become whatever they want to be when they grow up! I have great hopes for Canada and am proud to be Canadian!
2. Gift of Friends
After leaving my full-time job with the Ontario Government, I wondered if I would make new friends. In the past couple years, I have made friends with two women, one is a Vietnamese restaurant owner, the other runs an Asian restaurant. They have become caring, wonderful friends! The Vietnamese restaurant owner in Newmarket is part Chinese, part Vietnamese. She told me that her dad is from the same province in China as my mother's parents. The other lady runs an Asian restaurant in Aurora. Her surname is the same as my mom's. After losing my mom over two years ago, to find these two ladies with similarities to my mom makes me wonder -- maybe mom is watching over me and allowed me to meet them. It makes me glad that i can make friends wherever I go. I hope to make more new friends wherever I go.
I appreciate my old and new friends! Sometimes, distance, scheduling, time zones, may not allow us to keep in touch as often as we would like, but, I get a warm feeling just thinking about them. I hope KaTsZoNe can connect us too!
3. Gift of Purpose
One of the most difficult things in life is to find our purpose in life. What would make us jump out of bed and be glad to live another day? What can help us make a difference in this world? People often associate purpose with career, but, that's not always the case. I find it difficult to use a label or job title to describe my purpose. I am still searching for my life's purpose is. All I know is, while I am still breathing and my heart is still pumping, my purpose has not yet been fulfilled.
One day, I heard about a survey of teenagers asking if their parents wanted them to be more caring or to do better in school. Most students responded that their parents would want them to do better in school. As a non-parent, I have to say, that's quite dismal. To have a world full of educated young people who are not caring -- that is not my Christmas wish! Please don't misunderstand me about my views on education. I started an endowment fund at York University to help students with financial need to help pay for their higher education, so, I totally believe in education. But, perhaps, when parents want their kids to become Prime Ministers, doctors, lawyers instead of allowing them to become what God has planned for them, that means, you are trying to obstruct God's purpose for them -- unless, of course, your children's purpose to is to become a Prime Minister, doctor or lawyer. I feel that we ought to encourage young people when we see them use their talents and gifts. If they have a gift of teaching their peers, contructing with Lego, fixing their bikes, cooking, play musical instruments -- these are all talents that we should recognize and encourage. If parents stop living their own dreams out in their kids, that might be the best gift they can give to their kids. Be encouraging and constructive, not obtructing and destructive. Ask God to lead your children. There are countries where wives and children are considered properties (i.e. of husbands, fathers). But, in Canada, when it comes to purpose, many parents treat children like properties - manipulating them however they like. Many talents are inherited. Doctors run in families. Lawyers run in families. Politicians run in families. Musical talent runs in families. If you want your kids to be something when they don't have that talent and gift, and it is not God's purpose for them, how will this world become a better place? And again, purpose in life may not necessarily be a profession.
Decades ago, I wished to write to inspire and with purpose. Well, I wrote "junk" but that was for my own amusement. To write and share in a blog or book, I aspired to write with good purpose and hopefully, to inspire. Since December 2014, I have written many episodes of KaTsZoNe. Some episodes are informational, some were about my outings and trips, but, in all the stories, I hoped to bring something more to all of you. For myself, as I have said, when I stop having fun writing KaTsZoNe, then I will stop. As long as I am having fun and still feel that I have a purpose to write, I will continue to do so. Sounds simple, right? I hope that all of you can also think simply and live your purpose. It should not be frustrating and make you unhappy. We are emotional creatures and will have rough days from time to time, but, if it's your true purpose in life, you will be happy about it. I am not a genius, it just makes sense. If God is my Father and I am His child, He would not force me to become something I am not.
4. Gift of The Grinch
Finally, after several years of searching, I finally found my Grinch at The Build-A-Bear Workshop! Why in the world would my friends and so many others be attracted to a Dr. Seuss character in a book (1957), How The Grinch Stole Christmas!, who is known to be mean, foul, coarse and greedy? The Grinch disguised himself as Santa Claus, broke into the The Whos' homes in Whoville to steal their holiday decorations and gifts, yet, the next morning, he sees them singing cheerfully in spite of his actions. The Grinch then thinks perhaps there is more to Christmas than just decorations and gifts. So, he returns them to the proper owners, and ends up celebrating with them.
I was having a hard time wrapping my head around celebrating Christmas. Since my mom passed away over two years ago, this year feels the toughest. My mom passed away on September 10th and my birthday is December 10th. I always feel down around the 10th of each month. And, she went to the hospital in December, 2012, just before Christmas and she never came home. Perhaps that is why I feel a dark cloud lingering over my head in December - surrounding my birthday and Christmas celebrations. I hope the Grinch, which now sits on the mantle over my fireplace in my living room, will motivate me and remind me that it's okay to celebrate.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the best in 2016! I look forward to seeing many of you in the new year!
By the way, I will be back in February, 2016, as I continue the bimonthly episodes of KaTsZoNe.
Peace and blessings.
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