Uh, the interview’s with me…no one famous 😉 Mrs. Mayhem over at one of my favorite blogs, Mothering Mayhem, recently tagged me for this interview, so here goes…
What experience has most shaped you, and why?
For better or worse, I would say growing up as an immigrant. I’m too conscious of the person I could have been, had I been born an American to Americans. It took me a long time to feel I belonged anywhere. Also, the early burden of adult responsibility to help my family, stress and my parents’ extreme devotion to me made me feel resentful many times and I longed to be freed. When I finally “escaped” to Japan at age 30 I felt both exhilarated and guilty. I focused on myself and for a long time considered family, children, etc. to be a burden. I had my first and only baby at 35, which is not that old, but the relatively late start has impacted the life I have now. While I am very happy with my family life now, I sometimes wonder if I would have had more children had I been ready sooner. Also, I wish it is easier to be grateful to my parents. They have given me so much, so selflessly, but I sometimes still struggle in my relationship with them today.
The flip side is, of course, that these early experiences have given me strengths as well: an open-mindedness to different people and cultures; resiliency and resourcefulness to carve my own path; strong decision making ability and independence. And because we have gone through so much together, my parents taught me about the unbreakable ties of family and about the unconditional love between parent and child, brother and sister, and even wife and husband. I see my blessings clearly now in the wonderful family I am so grateful to have.
If you had a whole day with no commitments, what would you do?
Oh, I’ve already tried this with my failed “staycation”! Alright, next time I’ll try to do it right: I’d have lunch out with either my husband or a girlfriend, read a book, go to a bookstore, watch a movie in the theater. Whatever it is, I would make a point of being outside of my house.
What food or drink could you never give up?
Pad Thai and sweet tea 🙂
If you could travel anywhere, where would that be and why?
There are so many places I’d like to visit, but if I can choose only one it’d be China. It’s a country that’s so huge in so many ways, and simply for personal reasons I feel the need to go: it is my ancestral country and my parents’ birth country. I know so, so little of their history. I’d like to see where my parents grew up, where they went to school. As they’re aging I’m beginning to feel a kind of emptiness that I have lived so long without taking an interest in their lives…we are so close and yet our lives and histories are so far apart.
Who do you have a crush on?
Oh, Fred, of course, my little 6 year old…he makes me melt!
If you were leader of your country, what would you do?
Where would I start? I’d focus on policies and programs that allow families to have the right start: healthcare, nutrition, education. I can afford to invest in my own child’s future so he can contribute as an adult, but so many other parents cannot.
Give me one easy savoury recipe that doesn’t include cheese.
Pork loin, dijon mustard, apricot preserves and rosemary leaves + Braeburn apples brushed with the same sauce.
What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
A pediatrician… This was my one career goal from age 10 – 17. I taught myself anatomy with a children’s book and then volunteered at the hospital as soon as I was old enough to. In high school I took the science track and landed straight C’s in chemistry. Still this didn’t deter me, until I started hearing stories about how in medical school you have to work on cadavers. Slowly, by the time I finished high school, I had let go of my dream.
Looking back, medicine would not have been a good fit for me seeing how I hate the sight of blood, long work hours, stress and lack of sleep!
If you could spend just one day in someone else’s body, who would it be?
Either my husband or my mother…my husband because I want to know what it’s like to be a man, and to be married to me (so I can be a better wife), my mother because we’ve spent our whole lives (well, my whole life) not understanding one another well. I think there is so much to her that I don’t know and that I could never fully understand or appreciate unless I could see things from her eyes.
Which woman writer – living or dead – do you most admire and why?
There are so many great women who have had the courage to share their words…but I will choose Maya Angelou, because of what she went through and what she overcame to find and share her voice. She had been mute for 5 years as a result of some incidents following her rape (at age 8), but she overcame this and more to share her life story.
What character trait inspires you the most?
A combination of compassion and drive, because it takes this to change the world. I admire so much the people who have it.
What is your favorite kind of music?
I love Japanese koto – harp music. I have a hard time relaxing and the tranquil sounds of the koto take me away from wherever I am.
Thanks again, Mrs. Mayhem, for sending these questions my way. And now I am supposed to tag some other bloggers, and add my own question to the mix. So my question is,
Which book or books have inspired or touched you the most?
I’d love to pass these interview questions to the following bloggers, and learn more about you!
Kate at Watercoloring on the Table
(sorry, I can’t seem to get rid of that extra space between Justine and Kate)