December 31, 2005

all settled down

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:46 pm by changisme

 I got to see the busy side of Ottawa today. It’s nothing compared to Vancouver, but not as deadish as yesterday for sure. Normand, being so patient, drove me around shopping. We went to Chinatown, which is just one street in one block. The stores in there were rather busy. Everyone was in a holiday mood, kids running around while the parents picking melon seeds off the shelves. Now that I think about it, it’s New Year. I’ve pretty much lost the feeling for it after spending the past two away from my family. Before, it was a time at grandma, grandpa’s place. Even though it would just be a couple days, and there would be exams hanging over my head, but still, kids don’t care. We just liked the unusual occasion.


It’s already New Year’s Day in China. Grandpa said on New Year’s Even Baba and them would eat hot pot. Baba’s favourite is lamb. It’s the main thing anyway. People used to tease him, it’s so smelly, can’ t you smell it? He would say, that’s the whole point! Mama just likes tofu and bak choi. She says the soup is very rich and when the vegetables are cooked in there, it tastes like something from heaven.


Oh yeah, we didn’t just go to Chinatown. We also went to a store called Basics. The foods there are much cheaper. Normand said that there’re not many varieties, but good price. I kind of like it there. Later on, he took me to Bayshore Shopping Centre, it’s a very big mall at the west side of the city. It’s between the old Ottawa and Kanata, which is where all the high tech industry is located. Between Bayshore and Kanata is all government owned land. There’s mostly trees in there now, and I don’t know if they’re ever going to build houses there. I hope not, because it’s very nice to see some greens survive in this –20 winter like today.



I watched Dances with Wolves on TV.  When John Dunbar’s journal was washed away, I started to wonder about the things I’ve wondered many many times: is it possible to let go of the past? A past that has shaped you since very young? There are some past I want to forgive and forget. Then the journal came back, and the whites are once again, white, the Sioux, were yet to be Sioux facing harsh realities.


Suppressing the past doesn’t really work, at least not so by experimentation. Then how? Talking about it works then? I’m not sure about that. It doesn’t seem it would ever go away. I guess in a way, I don’t really mind the past being there, but I do mind that it makes me “anti-whatever-is-past”. I think I’m just being confusing.



If motivation doesn’t matter, then how does God sees the heart?

Steal my heart and hold my tongue.
I feel my time, my time has come.
Let me in, unlock the door.
I’ve never felt this way before.

The wheels just keep on turning,
The drummer begins to drum,
I don’t know which way I’m going,
I don’t know which way I’ve come.

Hold my hand inside your hands,
I need someone who understands.
I need someone, someone who hears,
For you, I’ve waited all these years.

For you, I’d wait ’til kingdom come.
Until my day, my day is done.
And say you’ll come, and set me free,
Just say you’ll wait, you’ll wait for me.

In your tears and in your blood,
In your fire and in your flood,
I hear you laugh, I heard you say,
"I wouldn’t change a single thing."

The wheels just keep on turning,
The drummers begin to drum,
I don’t know which way I’m going,
I don’t know what I’ve become.

For you, I’d wait ’til kingdom come,
Until my days, my days are done.
Say you’ll come and set me free,
Just say you’ll wait, you’ll wait for me.
Just say you’ll wait, you’ll wait for me.
Just say you’ll wait, you’ll wait for me.




December 30, 2005

first day of nice outing

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:19 pm by changisme

 It’s a pity I didn’t get to take more pictures in Toronto, for I forgot to charge the battery before I left Vancouver. The one with the refraction is interesting, because there are three LCD’s and on the double window, only one is refracted into a gradient of colours. I don’t really know if it has anything to do with double window, or it’s just the LCD’s.


Today when I went out in the afternoon it was –10 and –17 with wind chill. It was not bad because I put on everything I have and with feathers. The only part of me that felt the cold was my face. I actually spent more than an hour outside. The wind was not always there. It feels really nice when it’s not, and when it’s blowing hard, I felt my eyeball was going to freeze onto the back of my socket. EEEK.


I went downtown and it’s DEAD! I’ve never been to a place that’s this dead downtown. I guess most people have gone away for the holidays. I also walked by Stats Can. It’s an ancient building hut huge and easy to spot. The whole area, just gives me a feeling of … history….


The roads here are quite confusing. I’ve only lived in two cities, Beijing and Greater Vancouver, both of which have very easy streets. The roads are all straight. In Ottawa however, all the roads are like screwed up dustballs, everything tangled up together. It’s like Shanghai I think. You could have turned 180 degrees without noticing that you’ve turned at all! One thing I feel good about the roads is that they finally all have names! There are no numbers involved. Having numbered streets just make me feel like they’re lack of culture. Now I’ve found the closest library and got my bus pass. The thing I need now is a proof of residency to get my library card.



My aunt, Catherine’s mom, got into a car accident. She’s okay mostly, but her neck doesn’t feel very well. I think there’s some internal bleeding. She’s gone for an X-ray. Man… everyone out there, pray for her please… I sweating cold sweat when I knew this, because it’s soooo scary. That car was a second hand car bought for Catherine, a new driver. When my aunt was driving it just yesterday, all of a sudden, it started falling apart, wobbling, and she just geared the car away from other cars and trees, but unfortunately drove into a ditch. The car was trashed. It’s actually fortunate that my aunt, who has been a pretty driver for 20 years, was driving it, because if it were Catherine, she could have just run into another car or a tree. That would be very very dangerous. Oh man… my aunt finally said that she’ll buy Catherine a good car next time. Even now as I’m writing this, I’m still scared and trembling.

December 29, 2005

finally safe and sound and stinky and tired

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:01 pm by changisme

I didn’t know much about Toronto and was so tired to go check. I went downtown and had something to eat and had a good time, that’s it. The buildings there are actually made of brakes. How I miss that!


Oh yeah, and I met grandpa Tang. He’s doing well. It’s so funny t though because the jacket he wore is the exact same jacket my grandpa in Beijing wears, YaYa gray feather jacket from ’78! He even wears the same hat. Oh man. The only difference is that he’s a bit taller and stronger than grandpa. After all, he was a pilot and my grandpa was a brain user in the old days.


He took me back to the airport in the afternoon, and finally, my flight finally made it here to Ottawa.


As the flight descended, the city of Ottawa seemed so much dimmer than Toronto at night. There were not many highrises and bright lights in sight. Nonetheless, it gave me a pleasant feeling.


Normand came to pick me up. He recognized me, who knows how. We had dinner at Swiss Chalet. I couldn’t really have much appetite, because I just felt really tired, plus it wasn’t dinner time in Vancouver. We talked a bit about his traveling though. He makes me wanting to go to south America even more.


One thing is that… I can’t believe he’s John’s cousin.. there’s just no way.


I’m in my room now. It’s not a big room, but I have my cable for internet. It’s kinda slow, but everything else is okay. The landlord Mao is a very nice guy. He even bought me a pot and a pan. My roommate is nice too. I have another roommie whom I have not yet met.

Getting out of Toronto Airport from the arrival doors

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:51 pm by changisme


I did get a little grumpy because the night of sleep was bad. There was about 45 min of fire alarm. I couldn’t quite fall asleep after that. This morning after I checked in, I was informed that the flight is once again cancelled because of an ice storm in Ottawa. We might be able to leave here on a 4pm flight this afternoon, but that’s not guaranteed.


Oh well, I’m quite happy that I’ll get to see the city after all. I’m thinking about go get a map and go downtown in maybe half an hour. I am quite sleepy since I hardly got any sleep, but still this excitement of exploring somewhere on my own is overwhelming. I might call on Grandpa Tang later. I don’t know when he’ll get up.


Good morning Toronto!

Dec 28th ketchup post

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:50 pm by changisme

At Toronto airport


This is way too exciting! I feel once again like myself.


My flight has a middle stop at Toronto as scheduled. From Vancouver to Toronto, everything was going smoothly and everything was boring. I was even a little grumpy due to lack of sleep. When we touched down in Toronto, the orange sky didn’t seem any bit happier than I was. Captain Clinton reported some lightning in the area, and our flight was delayed. Unfortunately, five minutes later, he said that everything was okay again, and we took off.


I was a little disappointed, knowing the biggest city in Canada was just two layers of plastic window away, but I could go out. Meanwhile, the plane was more than half empty, because most people have gotten off at Toronto and disappeared into the sea of orange streetlights. I laid myself down onto the two empty seats next to me and wanted to take a nap. It’s so boring, I thought, I finished my book and I’m not yet sleepy. Just as I was thinking, Captain Clinton picked up the mic again. He said that there was severe freezing rain at Ottawa and we have to go back to Toronto.


At first, I just thought that it would probably be just a two hour wait or something, which totally didn’t appeal to me because I was hungry and they no longer sell food. (So regret that I didn’t buy any at the first time). As the aircraft once again touched down at Toronto, we were informed to pick up our luggage and go to the Westjet checkin to receive further “accommodation”. I didn’t know what that means, only that there’s a chance I might stay overnight.  I got ever so excited, the sentimental Karen 5 hours ago was totally gone.


Toronto airport itself is not that exciting, only some the luggage tape thingies was broken, all the passengers were crowded around the one and only luggage outlet to get our luggage. I called mama to tell her that I’m okay. She seemed to worry about whether or not westjet was going to pay me compensation. I guess I have to take that as trusting that I have the ability to look after myself. J


When I went to checkin again, they gave me a brochure about hotels that we can stay overnight and our flight will be early tomorrow morning. My excitement got to its climax now. What’s more exciting then this? I got my ticket and called mama. After some discussion, I decided that I don’t really want to go live in a hotel, because it’ll probably only be a four or five hour sleep anyway, might as well have some fun in this silly airport. (it’s an anti-racism education for me, cuz there’re so many more black people here)


I was told that I can’t checkin now, I wanted to only because the internet portal is inside. :p Alright, I’ll hang around. The good thing is I found food! I had the best pizza ever, because it’s without everything I hate: there was no cheese most of all. And instead of ketchup, there was marinated chicken. There were a lot of yellow pepper! Yum yum!


Then I walked around with my cart of luggage, and found a little security cubicle. There’s no one here for it is very late local time and everything is closed. There’s a comfy chair and a big flat luggage tape where I can put my jacket on and have a nice sleep. And I’m here now. I bet I won’t be able to post this earliest tomorrow, but it’s now and here and with the full excitement. It might change tomorrow when I’m once again sleep deprived.


This reminded me of grade ten, when we went to the desert in China with the Little Geologist group. There were quite a few schools, and we were supposed to show off how good the students at our school were. We took the train and on the way, the train had a stop and the view was gorgeous. I dragged Buoya, the only other student from my school, off the train and went on explore what was outside. Later on I found out that the only reason Buoya’s parents agreed her to go to such a rural place was that Buoya told them that another very independent kid was going. Well, too bad for her.


We went off the train and Buoya said we should stay close to the train, but I said the train’s gonna stop for at least 5 min. I went off, and she followed. The next thing we knew, the train started moving, and we ran after. Of course it was useless,  and we were stranded somewhere I didn’t, and still don’t, even know the name of. Buoya got really worried, but I was actually excited. (Actually I would be if it happened again, because I forgot the science we learnt that trip really, but remembered this one incident. We went into the station and found some officer and she made some phone calls. Apparently, our teacher was worried sick and got off the station right after.


Being a really selfish person, I was still really excited. LOL Then the teacher came after a few hours, and we spent the night there, and got on to the very next train. The organizer of the trip took us into her room and had a huge lecture. I think the whole gang knew that the two students from Jingshang School went off on their own. When we got back, I was a little sad about losing face for my school, plus when we got back to Beijing from the trip, a friend of mine from junior high who was going to No. 4 High said that there was a story going around in their school about this trip having two Jingshan students running off he train halfway through. I wasn’t sure if he knew that there were only two Jingshan students and I was one of them. Wah.. that would have been pretty embarrassing.


Interestingly, my homeroom teacher wasn’t surprised about this at all. She seemed to know all along, that I was just one of those quiet trouble makers. In fact, I didn’t really try to make trouble. The only there that was a little rebellious was the fact that I got excited over the whole thing, and that no one even knew other than Buoya. After that, she didn’t really ever go on anymore trips with me. I don’t know if it’s simply because we didn’t really have a chance or she didn’t have fun. Now that I think about it, there was nothing dangerous; and it was pretty fun.


From afar, I can hear the faint sound of rolling wheels. Maybe some people in the Toronto airport are pushing their carts. I wonder if I can sleep well here or will be kicked out by some security person. I hope not. Anyway, this is fun.



Depart from Vancouver (earlier, before arriving Toronto)


Writing on an airline napkin feels nice. The texture is soft and space is precious.


I just saw a rainbow. T was an upside down U shaple at first, then like a soap bubbleforming and rising from the surface, it slowly ascended and became a circle.  Could see the ripply floor of snow carpeting the whole face of the earth (as far as  can tell and there was no clouds no mountains no civilizations. Maybe small ones that I can’t see.


The circle of rainbow actually moved along with us, leading our way until finally it bubbled up into the crispy cldear sky.


Before I took off,  called mama and my grandma. We just chatted as usual at first. I don’t know what my mama had been yupping to Ahbu about. Ahbu suddenly said to me, don’t’ hand over your desitiny to God. You can let God shape your character, but don’t hand over your destiny( I don’t want to discuss the definition of destiny here, but  Iget the idea, I thought) he said, just like communism as a belief, don’t hand over your fate. We talked about a book we liked. It’s named after an insect  don’t know how to say in English. T is an talian novel about a devout young lad confessed his sins in a Catholic church. Then he was sold and captured and tortured both physically and emotionally.


He finally became a communist and came back to the region totally different. The one who betrayed him became the pope and he confronted the pope and there was a whole bunch of drama.


Ahbu said this is why we can’t hand over our destinies. I know we can argue that God is not the pope and etc, and Richie often conclude people with difficulties believing is not giving up controls.


However, as I reflect on my not-so-long life, does God really want to control my desitiny in the way we comprehend “control”? He gave me so much free will that I can barely handle. I really don’t think, at this point in my life, that if I made some choices differently, my life would still end up at the same place because God’s will is unalterable. Should I really be concerned about giving up control?


When  do give up control, am I listening to what God has to say or am  just giving it up trying to understand and to live my life responsibly and with wisdom?


Of course hbu just went on saying how meditation and chi are good as she usually does.


Aye  I feel a bit tired..


December 27, 2005

Last post in Vancouver in awhile

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:31 pm by changisme

didn’t know that I can be a little bit sentimental as well. Maybe I’m just
really comfortable at where I am.


was a really comfortable time at Bena’s place. We had a nice dinner and played
Maphia. I love that game. It’s one of my favourite. LOL I realized that it’s
actually been a really long time since I last really hang out with them. Perhaps
it’s been a whole term! When I’m with them, I don’t need to worry about talking,
and I won’t get scared by quietness. Probably that’s true in any large groups,
but I don’t know why I feel it’s okay to just be quiet and laugh when I’m with
them. The vondoo was the most hilarious. Because the chocolate kept on
solidifying, and we didn’t have the professional little heater, so when Bena
heats it, we just started a little chocolate war, not quite against each other,
but ganged up against the clustering chocolate.


mama called. That was a good part of the evening too. When all the stressful
things were gone, and I hear friends laughing and talking to your beloved
family. How can life be any better? Oh of course don’t forget it’s because
there’re no exams.


was on the main street bus, and as I passed by those shops which I see over and
over again on my way back from Landa’s, 
I felt this little attatchment to this place. I kind of want to live near
Broadway and Main area when I come back. It’s those late nights. The mid summer
nights (hehe, how romantic can babysitting be?) Many of those nights were rainy,
and chilly. I’d usually feel homesick as I walk by those shops, because it’s
cold and late. The kids would have fallen asleep or I tried to stick their head
into the pillows. Plus, Landa’s apartment is always so warm. Then the rainy Main
Street and the closed shops would somehow paints a little homeless picture.


Maybe that’s when 
I started to kinda like Seven-Eleven, because that would be the only shop
that remained open, and there were usually some people paying at the counter.
I’d look inside and see if those people are somehow like me. More than often
they’re not, but when they are, I get quite excited until I got to 99B


Sorry, I’ve been switching tenses.  I tried hard to correct myself, but
somehow, I felt like I’m at present tens… whatever, not that my grammar has ever
been good.


night Vancouverites!

December 26, 2005


Posted in Uncategorized at 10:12 pm by changisme


Everything has become so
real. I didn’t know I actually started to love hugging people
now… I want to keep hugging them. I feel the love, I feel that
I’m loved and I can actually love as well… I CAN LOVE!! I WANT TO






Afterall, I am not the author of my

December 25, 2005

merry christmas, and I *hope* I mean it.

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:37 pm by changisme

If it is supposed to be
so easy, why then is it not…


I don’t know when I say merry
christmas, it’s because I’m joyful because it is so merry that we are as we
are, or I hope everything can be merrier.. How come when I open my eyes and
see people from all walks of life, I wonder, is love a simple love? Is
the LOVE simple or is our love simple? Is our love simple or is it just
supposed to be simple while it’s not? Am I capable of simpy love? Under certain
circumstances maybe, but even then, it doesn’t seem to produce any simple
result. Plus, if there’re so many conitions, it’s not simple anymore. If we are
such complicated beings, how in the world, are we gonna have some simple love?
Does it mean that we might as well be blinded?



I spent the afternoon and dinner with an old friend of my grandmother’s.
He was a rather famous artist from China. I really like to hear him telling me
stories, because he doesn’t really impose on them very strong political stand
even if they are very political stories.


My grandma’s knowing him was an interesting story. When he was in
Beijing, he was a professor in art theory, and there was a newspaper that was
rather successful. They published articles about different art forms. One
magazine wanted to use politics to get rid of them, so they went to the
government to say that their newspaper didn’t reflect the life of poor people,
it’s all about modern art or western art. Just as they were dong this, in the
80’s, there was the reform in china, when the government wanted to welcome
western technologies., so the magazine didn’t really succeed. Then it was
Tiananmen Square. Many of Grandpa Zhang’s (oh yeah I call him grandpa Zhang, but
he insists I can just call him teacher Zhang, for he’s 12 years younger than my
grandma).students, colleagues and formal teachers went to tiananmen and fasted.
They asked him to support them. Grandpa Zhang didn’t want to get involved in
politics, because he’s a scared rabbit from the cultural revolution, but he
couldn’t say no to all those people, especially his formal teachers.


Then he put a photo on the first page, and had a report. He insiste it
being politically neutral, not to take any stand, just report the facts. After
the event, he still got into trouble. The reporter used a fake name, and he
thought, well, even if I told the government who wrote the article, I still will
get into trouble for I am the editor in chief, then I might as well just say
it’s me who wrote it. So he did and got arrested. After that, he couldn’t stay
in China anymore, because he lost his job an everything. With two kids and a
wife to support, he had to take refuge.


He was in a rush coming here, he sold all his furniture,
but still couln’t have enough money. He was having lunch with a friend of his
and my grandma walked in. It so happened that that friend also knows my grandma.
When they talked about the difficulty over lunch, my grandma asked, how much do
you need? Grandpa Zhang said, five thousands. It was a big number then,
considering people just
earn 40 RMB on average a month. My grandma just told him that he can come to her
place the next day to borrow the money. To be honest, my grandma lost quite a
bit of money this way. Even these years, the main reason my mom’s with her now
is that she feels like more and more people are immoral these days (this she… I
don’ t know if it’s my mom or grandma… LOL)


So then, Grandpa Zhang’s here in Vancouver,
and lead a peaceful life thereafter. Both of his sons are very successful in the
field of computer engineering. One’s in Silicon Valley, the other’s working for
IBM. Grandpa is probably rather lonely, because his wife passed away just last
year. He still kept her room and burnt incense in it. On the wall, were all the
artwork she loved.


Grandpa Zhang witnesse a lot of things in
politics, because he tried very hard not to get involved. That sounds awkward
isn’t it? Actually my grandpa was like that too. He tried hard not to get
involved, so they’re the ones who can just be standbys. They see their own
classmates arresting each other for political reasons, They see all the dark
things done by the politicians people actually praise these days, like Deng Xiao
Ping. It’s all politics, he said, not pretty.


Nonetheless, he told me all those stories
about people who are kind helping him through hardships, like my grandma did.
There were also others when he first came here. When he talks to me, he always
says that if ever I need help just ask him because my grandma saved his family.
I feel a bit weird, because I’m not my grandma, but I can see how beautiful this
whole story has become. He also told me about art. We took a walk and he told me
about how beautiful evening clouds are. He told me a friend of his lived near
the area I’m living now, and simply drew the ocean for four years. That was all
he did for those years. The ocean is different everyday, Grandpa Zhang told me.
If you keep your eyes open. It reminds me of when I’m busy an absorbed in other
things, I walk out of my house, and take a glimpse of the scenery hoping some
great things can impress my soul and give me a day of peace., but it never


when my heart rested, when I actively seek rather than “hey, nature, my servant!
Give me something to drink and eat!” 
did  I see how the clouds are
embracing the ocean and the trees are bathing in the rivers of their own
fellowship. After all, it’s I see them, not they are seen by

December 24, 2005

one of thsoe nights

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:54 am by changisme

It was one of those nights I just
want to smile when I lay down. It was one of those nights when silence came
over, with it brings sweetness of stars like that of chocolate buttons. It
was one of those nights, faces of my beloved ones were smiling too, and
somehow, somehow I know they will be okay.



Today as I wake up, I feel the world is so much more real than it was a
week ago. I remember the scene in Narnia when the battle was finally over, and
everyone, everything was just shadows for a few seconds for Peter, other than
Aslan. I felt that way, except the only there that was real was not a lion, but
some exams. Thinking about it, I actually did try to tame my “obsession” lack of
a better word, by going to fellowship a little bit and talking to others, but
still, those don’t seem to help. It’s as if something has seized an important
threshold, not the most important one, but nearly.


yeah, talking about exams, a final wrap of this topic: I got my complex analysis
grade. It was not bad. It’s my second highest. I might not be able to impress
Dr. Sjev, the prof I want to be an assistant for during the summer, because it’s
not really in the 90’s. Nonetheless, it’s not too bad, so if he doesn’t have
anyone else in mind. It might work out. Or maybe it more depends on the NSERC


December 22, 2005

One practical day

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:41 pm by changisme

I haven’t gone shopping for a while, but it’s still not that enticing. I miss
Beijing’s malls and markets, they’re so big and change all the time. When I went
shopping today, I think I see the things I saw a year ago. I guess it’s not a
bad thing, because consumerism is not that good in my logic, but having a lot of
interesting and beautiful things to see is a very exciting thing.


again, I am awoken by the daily errands everyone is tied up to. I was in such a
bubble during the exams, but now, little things that though don’t require much
brain power, surely drains a lot of brain energy! I guess I can sprint, but I
can’t really run that long. LOL!


I finally bought a pair of shoes today, it wasn’t very cheap, but quite comfy. I
decided for once, I don’t want to be that cheap anymore and then curse the shoe
maker or my own feet, or both. I was in Sports Chek, and the store was like a
disaster! I don’t know if last weekend it got some kinda crazy customer stampede
or what. It was like a warehouse, wrapping paper everywhere, boxes in huge
unorganized stacks and some items in big baskets unsorted. Maybe it’s one of
their marketing strategies, so that they can look cheap. Didn’t quite find them
cheap though.


a day past, and I’ve got two things settled, 1) I’m buying this packing strap
from a guy tomorrow morning, and 2) movie tomorrow night after choir practice.
Oh and my shoes settled. That’s an important one isn’t it? Now, I need to find a
place to live for the next four months. I just realized, I don’t like having my
heater on in Vancouver, and I hardly do. It’s not that I’m not afraid of cold,
probably just because I’m not used to big temperature differences. This is THE
thing, I’m going to learn to adapt to. YEAH!

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