Tag Archives: Music

extraordinarily ordinary life

I’ve been a little under the weather this week and have been out of the office, lazing around watching Netflix and drinking lots hot tea. There is much value in slowing down, although I don’t recommend getting sick in order to do so. When I do get some down time I too seldom realize how fast life is going and that I’m spinning out of control. In those moments, I try to slow down and look for things that bring comfort. So this morning, I tuned into the NPR All Songs Considered Podcast. Wow, so soul-inspiring. The song list included: 1) John Denver: “Poems, Prayers and Promises,” 2) Tom Adams: “In Darkness,” 3) Sharon Van Etten: “Come Back Kid,” 4: SOAK: “Everybody Loves You,” 5: Miya Folick: “THingaming,” 6) Jason Lytle: “Color of Dirt,” 7) J.S. Ondara: “American Dream.” I loved all of the songs, but the song that stood out to me this morning was John Denver’s, “Poems, Prayers and Promises.” Talk about a song that just sucker punches you right in the gut.

Poems, Prayers and Promises” resonated with me deeply. Perhaps it has to do with getting older, but lately, I’ve given much thought to the days of old, reflecting on raising my daughter, going to graduate school and even further back to high school and college. Reminiscing about easier times. When my daughter was growing up, I taught piano, primarily to young kids and a few adults, so I could be home with her. I often felt pressure to get a full-time job to supplement our household income, but I’m glad I didn’t give in to it. Life was much slower back then, as being a mom was my biggest role and my most favorite role ever. My daughter is now in college, and I’m working full-time, trying to obtain clinical licensure. Ugh. The chapters related to raising a family have closed. New ones have followed. I’m not particularly enjoying the new chapters. On most days, it feels like a grind. At my age, grinding is not particularly fun.

I guess it’s taken me this long to realize that after all of the graduate school, student loans, goals and achievements, I’m pretty disillusioned and tired. And more importantly, I realize that all of the misplaced ambitions were primarily to gain a sense of self worth and significance. After a lifetime of feeling invisible, one desires nothing more than to be seen and heard. Adoptee stuff.

What I’m learning is that life is so much more valuable than achieving. It’s about enjoying every minute of it and letting go of *!@# that brings you down. I’m still working on working on that , and I wish that I could impress it upon my daughter, who is starting her life as a grown up. She is doing so well, despite many challenges in her beautiful, young life.

Motherhood taught me a lot about life and love and ease. I guess that’s why I miss it so much, not that I don’t continue to mother, it’s just different now. This is what I know: Hold the people and things you love the most close to your heart everyday. That is why I so desperately want to go back to Taiwan. To see my birth family. Alas, there are always obstacles. Yes, there is something to be said and learned from achieving and making a difference. But life is short, and you cannot go back. Do what makes you happy, and don’t let naysayers dissuade you. Surround yourself with others who support you and your dreams because God knows, life is not easy. I wish that someone had told me these things when I was a young.

One day I hope to have clinical Iicensure. I’ve worked so hard for it, yet it feels as though it’s beyond my reach. I truly hope that it has not all been in vain, as things that are most valuable do not come by way of a diploma or a degree or clinical hours. There are moments in time I wish I could redo; nevertheless, life is precious. Your life is precious. Every single minute of it.

Photo by Kenny Luo on Unsplash

a thousand years

It’s been just over a year since I reunited with my birthfamily in Taipei, Taiwan. Distance, of course, puts us at a huge disadvantage for seeing each other more often. I think of them often, though, especially my two sisters who I spent most of my time with in Taiwan. In those brief ten days, we got to know each other and tried to fit into a week what we had missed in half a lifetime. They took me under their wings and introduced me to a culture that I never knew. I keep in touch with my eldest sister via email. However, I learned late last year that she had become ill and required surgery. She didn’t tell me at first because she didn’t want me to worry. Furthermore, there were complications following surgery. My other sister took care of her during and after the surgery. My eldest sister and I continue to keep in touch as much as she is able to, but reading and using the computer are difficult for her now. I pray for her complete recovery and also for the rest of my family in Taiwan. In dedication to my two lovely sisters and family in Taiwan, I share this song by Christina Perri, “A Thousand Years.” The lyrics remind me of how significant our reunion was in my life and that we found each other so late in our lives. You will see the lyrics posted in a unique way throughout the video. Sending love and hugs out to my two sisters through this song ♥

south asian children’s songs

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You’ve probably heard it said that music has the power to reach across cultures.It’s the universal language. In fact, almost every culture that’s ever existed has a history of musical traditions or a body of folk songs that are passed down, often as children’s song. No matter what part of the world you live in, music brings joy, connects and touches lives significantly. I remember a special record of music from around the world that my adoptive mom gave me as a little girl. There was one song in particular, a Japanese folk song, called “Usagi” that I listened to over and over again. To this day, I remember every single word of that song! In fact, I could sing it for you. I loved the lilting pentatonic melody, so exotic and beautiful to my little ears.

Recently, I learned from NPR of a newly released collection of children’s folk songs that you can pass along to your kids. It’s called “Rabbit Days and Dumplings” and is a collection of songs from East Asia. The CD is a creation of Korean musician/violinist, Elena Moon Park, in collaboration with children’s music favorite, Dan Zanes. Park is a Korean-American who was born and raised in East Tennessee by immigrant parents from South Korea. She and Zanes, along with several other musician friends, have worked together musically for years as Dan Zanes and Friends, a popular children’s music band. For this project, Park also brought in several other musicians from around New York City.

Park says that “seeing a lack of music from this part of the world in the family music scene” is what prompted her to make the CD. There are 16 songs collected from China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Tibet. Highlights include, “Doraji,” a traditional Korean song about the doraji, a root that is used for medicinal purposes and “Diu Shou Juan,” a cheerful recording of a game song from China. One of the songs from Taiwan is called, “Diu Diu Deng,” a train song, featuring Wu Man on pipa, a Chinese stringed instrument. According to Park, “The lyrics of the song are basically describing a train as it enters a tunnel, and water drops on top of the train, makes that sound — ‘diu diu’ — which sounds like a coin that’s flipping onto a surface.” Then there is “Ti Oh Oh,” one of the sillier songs on the album. It’s also Taiwanese with lyrics that talk about a grandmother and grandfather having an argument over whether to season their eel spicy or bland. In addition to the wonderful music, the CD comes with beautiful artwork and liner notes illustrated by Kristiana Parn and Sonia de la Santos, as well as background information about each song. I think whether Asian or not, you will be delighted by the eclectic mix of cross-cultural songs on this CD.

To listen to “Diu Diu Deng” and to read more about Park and Rabbit Days and Dumplings, please click here. Happy listening!

Elena Moon Park and Dan Zanes talk about Rabbit Days and Dumplings

*Artwork above by Kristiana Parn graces CD cover of Rabbit Days and Dumplings