I’m here.

Why, hello there. Long time, no actual post.

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted something other than a book review so I just thought I’d stop by to say “Hi” and that I’m indeed still here.

Life has been … as much as you can expect right now. As much as I’m sick and tired of hearing the phrase “unprecedented times” and “time of uncertainty,” it really sums it up. I’m trying to take everything day by day and just do my best to keep things as normalish as possible.

I’m trying to think back to when all of this COVID stuff touched down. Things started getting a little worrisome right before spring break. Isla actually missed the last two days of school before the break because she got pink eye (hurray!), and then both her and Norah went to daycare/day camp the following week because I had to work. During that week, everything kind of went to hell in a hand basket and boom – schools closed, I started working from home, and I haven’t given my mom a proper hug since who-knows-when.

I miss hugs.

I know things could be way worse. My family is fortunate enough to one, be healthy. That’s the main thing. Second, Kyle and I are both still able to work our normal schedules and receive our normal wages. For that, I’m HUGELY grateful and I don’t want to disregard those who have been laid off. But working for the head office of a national company is tough when you’re doing it all from home while trying to teach your 7-year old fractions and making sure your 4-year old doesn’t rot her brain on the iPad all day. By the end of the day I’m pretty much done and the last thing I’ve wanted to do is sit down and blog.

I’m also pretty thankful that Isla’s teacher from both school and dance are doing their best to keep things normal for all of their students. Between online class meetings and lessons, this whole “new normal” hasn’t affected her too much. Isla’s smart and dedicated enough to guide herself through her schoolwork with very little help from me, but Norah has a harder time focussing. She needs that authoritative figure to get her to be engaged and learn. They both, however, miss the normalcy of being able to play with their friends and hug their grandparents.

There’s a lot of hope that things will go back to normal, but I’m not holding my breath in anticipation. I look forward to the day we can just be again.

Until then, I’ll be here until we’re given the clear not to be. Virtual hugs, high-fives, and fist-bumps all around.

What I’m Reading

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

At first, I had the hardest time getting into this book. I’ll fully admit that I forgot what the book jacket said (ebooks are funny that way), thought it was going to entirely be about hockey (I’m a “bad” Canadian and don’t follow hockey all that closely anymore), and I nearly gave up on it because I found myself nearly falling asleep while reading through the first few chapters.

I’m glad I didn’t.

Once I got through the first few chapters and got to the “main event” I was shocked and angry and couldn’t put it down. It reminded me a lot of Emily Giffin’s All We Ever Wanted in the way that it discusses entitlement and privilege and the Blame Game.

While I’m late to the game (no pun intended) to reading any of Backman’s work, overall I really enjoyed his style of writing in this particular book. It was very “matter-of-factly” which reflected most of the town’s attitude towards hockey and what winning meant.

The ending? It was wonderfully wrapped up and I wouldn’t ask for any more.

I encourage anyone who picks up this book to push past the first few chapters of “hockey stuff” – you won’t be disappointed by the rest of it.

My rating: ★★★★/5

What I'm Reading

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Another Lisa See book, another satisfying read!

While technically this is a historical fiction, the timeline starts in the late-80’s and spans into the early 2000’s, so it’s hard to really categorize is as such. History-wise, we learn about China’s tea industry and the culture of those who grow the coveted pu’er, so I suppose it fits the bill in a way.

Anyway! The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane follows two characters: Li-yan as she comes of-age and figures out what she truly wants to do with her life. (Don’t we all?) The cultural practises of her people, the Akha, are as shocking as they are intriguing.

The second narrative Lisa See switches to is that of Haley, who as a Chinese girl adopted by a white, American couple, is also trying to figure out who she truly is.

The one of the things I enjoyed the most about The Tea Girl was the emphasis on Asian stereotypes in North American culture. As a half-Asian who’s pretty awful at math, why is it that the majority of white people think we’re all going to be prodigies of some form? Or want to be one, for that matter. I’ll stop there before I get too ranty.

Overall, The Tea Girl kept me reading until it was beyond my bedtime. I loved the bond Li-yan shared with her mother despite their differences of opinion of their culture. I’m really only docking a 1/2 star because the whole thing with the tiger was a little ridiculous. I didn’t even mind the ending and thought it was pretty picture-perfect needing no more explanation.

My rating: ★★★★½/5 stars