February 28, 2006
i do so heart the unofficial state fish of Hawaii, the humuhumunukunuku'āpua'a, mostly because it's so much fun to say (HOO-moo-HOO-moo-NOO-koo-NOO-koo-AH-poo-AH-ah, and don't forget those glottal stops!), and even more fun to show off saying it. also, it's a "cute little fish [that] kind of looks like a pig and it squawks and everything." that's according to someone at the Hawaii Fishing News, which continues to report on the controversy that erupted last month over the discovery that the rectangular trigger fish -- oh see, that's not at all fun to say! okay, the humuhumu -- is NOT the state's official fish after all. it's complicated, but suffice it to say the much-loved fish has a lot of local support.
in any case, i've been randomly saying humuhumunukunuku'āpua'a a lot lately, because now that we've both wrapped up some major jobs, it's time for yet another honeymoon! at least that's what T.T. has designated it as; i do love that those Germans take their vacations seriously. these next days we'll be in Oahu for a local friend's wedding, and of course, some relaxation. not sure about internet access, so if HadashiWorld is a little silent, that would be because we're chillin' with the humuhumus.
February 20, 2006
so it's been about five months since the wedding, and i still get a cheesy grin when people say "newlywed" or ask The Question: "so how is married life?" mostly, i just say "better than ever expected," or even a simple "great!" it's true: a different sort of happiness lives with me and T.T., one that neither of us have experienced before -- the happiness of feeling like you're finally Home.
however. if i was completely honest, i'd also answer that married life is challenging the very basics of my identity.
although most children in Western cultures get three names, i've had just two names all my life -- my parents were apparently happy enough with my first name that they saw no need to give me a middle name. (my grandmother bestowed a Chinese name upon me at birth, but it was hardly used and never legally added.) two was plenty though -- i've wrestled with them all my life, as my first name is usually misspelled, and my birth surname is difficult to pronounce and spell. when i was much younger, i would loudly proclaim that i couldn't wait to marry someone with a name like Smith or Chan, so i could jettison my tongue-tangler of a last name for something everyone could say and spell. of course, i never thought about the fact that my mother chose to exchange Chan for the tongue-tangler. at the time, i didn't understand there was even a choice to be made.
but then i grew up, moved out, went to university, became proud of my uncommon surname. i started a freelance career that depends heavily on reputation and name recognition. and when i got engaged, it was with a shock that i realised i had grown quite attached to my family name with all its unspellable-ness, and was loathe to give it up. T.T. made it clear that the decision was mine alone; although he would be honored for me to take his name, he would completely support me if i chose not to.
i've heard a lot of arguments for both sides of the keep-name-or-change-name debate. some are extreme and rather creepy: either taking your husband's name indicates that you become his property, or not taking his name means your commitment and love are questionable. i thought that many women today keep their maiden names, but the reality is that a huge majority -- between 77%-83% -- of modern brides take their groom's family name. it's more than a question of feminist progress or gender equality, more than an issue of family unity or future children. it is a question of evolving identity: who are you becoming when you marry? do you turn into someone else when you become a wife, or do you remain the same woman?
perhaps it is a bit of both. certainly i am fundamentally the same girl that T.T. first fell in love with; it has always been a basic tenet of our relationship to allow the other to be themselves, to avoid manipulating the other to become an ideal, to become someone they are not simply to please or placate. however, i know i am not the same person i was as a world-travelling, career-minded single girl. i am also not the same person i was as a world-travelling, career-minded girlfriend, or even fiancee. a serious relationship forces you to confront the very core of yourself, and when that happens, change is inevitable. part of marriage is saying, "i accept and love you as you are, but will partner with you to help you become the best you can be no matter how hard that is." there was no seismic shift after we said our vows. we laughed about how very much the same we felt the next day. but we knew we'd taken a huge leap of faith, and we were grateful.
it's because of that faith, and in recognition of that leap that i've chosen to change my name. throughout ancient times and across cultures, when a person changed their life's course and purpose, they signified this new beginning with a new name. i didn't get married because of the state filing a piece of paper; it is because i made a covenant with this man before God. for me, taking a new name honors His blessing and acknowledges His presence in our union.
i don't need to lose anything with this decision: since i never had a middle name, i'm simply adding his surname and moving mine to the center. it feels symbolic of how my life's story is unfolding: i have kept all of who i am, and have become even more by adding this amazing man to my life.
February 14, 2006
a little tale for Valentine's Day
by special request of The Adnostic, and in honor of Valentine's Day, aka Day O' Packaged Affection, here is my Worst -- and Best -- Dating Story Ever.
so there i was, at Boy House Central. five guys from my university lived there, and i was friends with all of them. i had classes (and, ok, fine, a growing mutual attraction) with one of the residents of BHC, so i was over there quite often. Boy House Central was a never-ending source of entertainment. if it wasn't Mr. Experimental Artist Boy doing a weird "installation piece" that involved things like scrap metal and silly string, than it was Mr. Aspiring Scriptwriter Boy having me read scenes that mostly involved lots of gratuitous punctuation.
however, today's amusement involved Mr. MuscleBody Boy. he'd discovered that working out A Whole Lot in conjunction with taking creatine made one very, um, muscle-y. and lots of chicks dig muscle-y guys. so he'd recently joined a dating service, and today he was taking out yet another girl who'd liked his online profile. he'd spent the day washing and waxing his big red Ford F-250 dual cab truck to get it ready for his date. we'd spent the day teasing him without pity. and so when an unfamiliar car pulled up, he ordered us to stay inside: "you're not going to embarrass me!"
he needn't have worried.
the girl who got out of the car looked like she was auditioning for the part of Most Picked-On In Class. she kept her head down, shuffled up to the house, and kept peering through her bangs nervously, like some hidden dog was suddenly going to attack her. my friend wondered aloud how she ever got the nerve to sign up for a dating service, let alone leave the house. i wondered aloud why a girl on a blind date would actually make herself look so mousy. MuscleBody Boy glared at us, lunged for the screen door, wrenched it open, and said way too loudly, "HI! GLAD YOU FOUND THE PLACE!" Mousy Girl flinched like she'd been slapped.
we watched from the living room window through the curtains as they walked to his truck. he opened the passenger door for her, and she tried to get in...but it was a little too high and she couldn't quite make it. visibly flustered, she tried again. no go. "SHALL I GIVE YOU A BOOST HA HA HA HA!" we heard through the door. this must have panicked her, because all of a sudden she launched herself through the door...and completely disappeared from view.
next thing we knew, MuscleBoy was pulling her limp body from the cab and laying her on the lawn. we ran outside. "she slipped, she slipped!" MuscleBoy said frantically. "i must of done too good of a job polishing the interior because she just went flying across the front! oh my gosh what am i going to do?"
"why is she out cold?" my friend asked.
"uh...well, she whacked her head on the Club sticking out from the steering wheel." sure enough, there was a big growing bruise on her poor mousy forehead.
MuscleBoy looked like he was going to throw up. "i'm getting her inside! no, i'm getting a glass of water for her! no, i should get a cushion to prop up her head!" he babbled.
this girl is going to freak out when she comes to, i thought. better she wake up to a familiar face, even if it was familiar for only about one minute previous. "she might have a concussion," i said, "so you stay with her, and we'll go get an ice pack."
we had just gotten back to the door when we heard an engine start. the lawn was empty. MuscleBoy was yelling: "wait! no! please! i'm sorry!" the car roared away.
apparently Mousy Girl had come to, sat up, looked around wildly, and bolted for her car. and really, who can blame her?
we never heard from Mousy Girl again. MuscleBoy left multiple apologetic messages, to no avail. my friend and the rest of Boy House Central mercilessly teased him for at least two months straight, to the point where he quit the dating service (and then, incidentally, almost immediately met the woman he's now married to). and me? i'm clearly still getting mileage out of the story. Mousy Girl, if you're out there, i definitely owe you a few drinks. because i'm guessing you probably do drink now, after that experience.
so there it is: my Worst Dating Story Ever, and also the Best -- because, thank God, it didn't happen to me.
remember to hit the stores for all that on-sale chocolate tomorrow!
February 5, 2006
Mr. Bush, please listen to Mr. Bono
you all know of my long-enduring love for the music of U2, and my deep respect for Bono walking the talk like he does. well, Mr. Hewson spoke at this year's National Prayer Breakfast a few days ago, and i gotta say, he pulled no punches -- "be warned, I'm Irish!" was his disclaimer. usually the N.P.B. is for rah-rahing someone and being inspirational and stuff, not for bringing up Big Ideas That Are Controversial. but as Bono said, "This is what happens when God gets on the move: crazy stuff happens!"
(and if you haven't already, i'd encourage you to please sign the One Declaration. it's an easy way to be part of making poverty history.)