Thursday, September 11, 2014

To Shiv - Letter From Mommy 1

My dear Shiv,

Welcome to the world!

I know it's not your choice to be reborn again, but everything has a reason behind. I wish you find the meaning of being in this circle of life, wish you enjoy the views in the journey of living.

The world could appear complicated, but it's simple, life could be frustrating but surely full of love, hope and adventures. Always be positive, be strong, be passionate, be kind and be honest, dare to dream, dare to chase the dreams and should never ever give up!

Mama Papa are very lucky to have you as our first child!


PS: Daddy said he needed to see you first, so to finish the "Letter From Daddy", because you were never in his belly :P

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hey Stranger

Where did you come from
Where are you going to?

Coming this pathway once again?
You know it's gods' plan of redemption
A punishment

Is it your own choice then?
My arms my breasts
My disposition my war in the mind
My bearing of the world, of life

Will you share it with me?
The lives you've lived
The adventures you've seen and walked

I can't wait to gaze into your eyes

Hey stranger My stranger
You are granting me a crown
Making me a queen

Maybe I've known you my whole life

-- For my soon-to-be-born Shiv

Monday, September 1, 2014

On Children by Gibran

On Children
     Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Some pregnancy updates

As weeks passing by, I found myself spending too much time indulging in the bloody Youtube videos of women giving birth, at home at hospital on the bed in the water, some even in the forest beside a stream... It's the fear which made me search such videos at the first place, but after watching, there is definitely more fear...

Right now it's the July 4th weekend, except the fireworks we saw in San Francisco through a thin layer of fog, I am experiencing fireworks the whole weekend, inside my tummy... This kid has to be a naughty one, full of energy, doesn't need too much sleep, always having high tempo and high spirit, well, just like his father. I found his sleep-active cycle extremely long, maybe up to 24 hours or so, sometimes he can spend whole day and whole night running, playing football, dancing, walking, stretching and hiccuping, at least flipping over every other minute, no sign of falling to deep sleep, and that makes me feel like having my own firecrackers bursting constantly inside my belly.

Doctor diagnosed me for Gestational Diabetes at the week of 26, fasting blood sugar level is 92, which is only slightly high, but one hour after glucose drink blood sugar level is 230, which is extremely high, although after two hours it falls back to normal. This indicates that my body doesn't have enough insulin required. Pregnant body needs 3 times the amount of insulin compare to normal body, also as placenta grows bigger, the release of some hormone blocks the release of insulin. That's why Gestational Diabetes is normal among pregnant women, however could have serious consequences, such as baby grows too big so that can't be delivered naturally, also bearing high risk of child obesity and teenage diabetes, mother too having high risk of developing into type 2 diabetes later on in her life.

No other way out, only to maintain a healthy and low sugar diet, not only during pregnancy, but for ever and ever and ever... I didn't know refined white rice and bread could turn into so much sugar, earlier when I was starving every other hours, I stuffed myself with bowls after bowls of rice, plates after plates of noodles, bags after bags of bread, and all kinds of other carbs. Bad, really bad...

Actually high blood sugar is a rather serious issue for pregnancy, so I would suggest all girls who plan to get pregnant to watch their blood sugar level before getting pregnant, because at the first trimester if your body is already high in sugar, baby could have high risk to certain type of birth defect. And why not start to have a controlled diet right after pregnancy, because yea, who knows when your placenta would suddenly grow too big and your insulin suddenly run short, the scheduled blood test is at week 26, I am right now constantly regretting for each every grain of jasmine rice that I have taken before week 26.

Even though I sense myself having heightened emotions because of the increased hormone, Raj repeatedly claims that I am way much calmer nowadays, "she is so much mellower", in his words. I don't any more easily get angry and start shouting, and much reduced frequency of using cursing words, only when it's really necessary. I think on my consciousness I understand that a good mother should be calm, tender and tolerant, so to make sure the kids' mental healthiness, I am unconsciously injecting myself with "calming hormones", maybe. Thanks to this firecracker kid inside my tummy.

What else? Yea, as exercising is not only the key to control blood sugar, also the key to have a natural birth and postpartum recovery, I am still exercising regularly, taking 1-2 hours walk with Raj whenever we are in the mood, rejoining the prenatal yoga class after almost 2 months' break, and most excitingly, I found a drop-in swimming pool within walking range to our apartment, so I should find myself in a lot of sunny afternoons relaxing in the water, free from the weight of the dragging belly and free from backaches.

There is indeed a lot of fear for the labor, but as the kid grows, I am feeling more of a unshy mama day by day, I can suddenly start a conversation in Chinese with my belly, loudly sing Chinese songs to my belly in front of friends, and speak up for uncivilized public behaviors so as they might harm my baby, such as breaking beer bottles on the rocks... I think I am much more eagerly also mentally prepared to meet this restless boy now.

That's it for today's update, wish me luck!! :) 

Friday, April 18, 2014













在中国流传着怀孕“前三个月最重要”的说法,意思是前三个月要多吃营养,比如多吃鱼,孩子会更聪明。这个说法既对又不对,对在前三个月的确是由单细胞发育到完整人形的阶段,母体里任何营养元素的缺乏都有可能阻碍胚胎的正常发育与构建,这也是流产的主要原因之一。不对在孩子的智力水平、身体机能早在受孕的时候就写进了DNA,过低营养可能造成损害,但过量营养并不会增加智力值或身体机能。另外在孕前三个月补充叶酸(Folic Acid)能有效预防神经管缺陷,如果母体在受孕后几个星期内叶酸量不足,会影响到胎儿脑部及脊椎一带的组织发育,造成神经管缺陷。之所以在受孕前三个月就要补充是因为大多数准妈妈在前几个星期并不知道自己已怀孕,知道后再补就迟了。







第二次B超在两周之后,与一位资深护士的会诊。会诊的目的在于讨论对宝宝进行绒毛取样术(Chorionic villus sampling)或羊膜穿刺术(Amniocentesis)的必要。这两种测试类似,绒毛取样术可以在12周的时候做,一根长长的针刺进子宫里,从宝宝脖子上取下一些细胞,羊膜穿刺术要到16周才可以做,同样是穿刺进子宫,但只要取一些羊水即可。根据取出的样本,可以判断出宝宝是否有染色体异常以及常见遗传性疾病,准确率99%。因为测试具有侵入性,可能导致流产,三百位做过测试的孕妇里有一位流产。之前和医生M会诊的时候,她让我们在咨询了这位护士之后再做决定,一来测试需要不小花费,二来有流产的风险。在美国,像我这样的孕妇算是“低龄孕妇”,我今年29岁,Raj爸爸28岁,按照妈妈家庭医生的说法“你自己都还是个孩子”,妈妈算是在美国的朋友圈里怀孕年龄最小的女性,周边的朋友生第一胎的平均年龄大约在33岁,有大量美国妇女的头胎在35岁之后,对于她们而言,孩子产生染色体变异的可能性高得多,这样的准妈妈才会选择做此类测试。而妈妈和Raj爸爸之所以提出这个问题,是因为Raj爸爸的伯伯患有遗传性疾病肌肉萎缩症(Muscular dystrophy),我们担心Raj爸爸是这个基因的携带者,会遗传到你的身上。“如果检查出来有,那我想把孩子打掉。” 当时妈妈是这么对医生M说的。








Saturday, April 5, 2014

View on History

Nehru's view on history:

"If history interests you, if you feel some of the fascination of history, you will find your way to many books which will help you unravel the threads of past ages. But reading books alone will not help. If you would know the past you must look upon it with sympathy and with understanding. To understand a person who lived long ago, you will have to understand his/her environment, the conditions under which he/she lived long ago, the ideas that filled his/her mind. It is absurd for us to judge of past people as if they lived now and thought as we do. There is no one to defend slavery today, and yet the great Plato held that slavery was essential. Within recent times scores of thousands of lives were given in an effort to retain slavery in the United States. We cannot judge the past from the standards of the present. Everyone will willingly admit this. But everyone will not admit the equally absurd habit of judging the present by the standards of the past. The various religions have especially helped in petrifying old beliefs and faiths and customs, which may have had some use in the age and the country of their birth, but which are singularly unsuitable in our present age.

If, then, you look upon past history with the eye of sympathy, the dry bones will fill up with flesh and blood, and you will see a mighty procession of living men and women and children in every age and every client, different from us and yet very like us, with much the same human virtues and human failings. History is not a magic show, but there is plenty of magic in it for those who have eyes to see."

Friday, April 4, 2014

Beijing or Delhi? -- froom book "Smoke and Mirrors: An Experience of China" By Pallavi Aiyar

This is by far the most accurate words that described my feelings being as a "Chindian". I am facing the same emotional struggles each every day when I think, and each every day when I am traveling back to India and China.


"Do you like living in Beijing? Or was it better in Delhi?" my Hutong neighbors inquired whenever they got the opportunity.

This last question in its various forms was one that I spent much thought grappling with and my answers were as variable as the day the question was posed. Following conversation with Lou Ya and other toilet cleaners in my neighborhood I would think back to the wretched jamadarnis back home and marvel at the relative dignity of labour that China's lowliest enjoyed.

In my hutong the refuse collectors wore gloves when picking up the garbages on their daily rounds. This single, simple article of protective clothing and the barrier it created between bacteria and skin lent them at least a modicum of self-respect. Their children almost always went to school. They may not have been well educated themselves but could usually read and write enough to avoid the worst kind of exploitation.

These were modest gains and not everyone in China could claim even such moderate progress. But were I one of the millions-strong legions of cleaners, sweepers, janitors or nightsoil workers in India, I would probably prefer by some twist of karma to have been born Chinese.

But on other days I felt differently. These were days when I spent hours hunting for a Chinese source amongst the country's think tanks, universities and research institutes for fresh insight or an alternative point of view on an issue for a story I'd be working on. It was always such dishearteningly hard work.

China's was a pragmatic society and over the years I met any number of people blessed with more than usual amounts of a canny, street smart, intelligence. As evidenced by the Zhejiang entrepreneurs, ordinary Chinese were masters of locating the loopholes, of finding escape routs, of greasing the right hands and bypassing stifling regulations. If need be they could sell contact lenses to a blind woman and chicken feet to a vegetarian.

But while it may have abounded with consummate salespeople and irrepressible entrepreneurs, Chinese society remained deeply anti-intellectual. More a product of a political and educational system that discouraged criticism and encourage group think than any primordial characteristic, this was the aspect of China I personally found most wearying.

It was the absence of passion for ides, the lack of delight in argument for its own sake, and the dearth of reasoned but brazen dissent that most often gave me cause for homesickness. When the foreign ministry interpreter Xiao Yan claimed in Tibet that China was different from other countries in that all Chinese must think the same thing, she was consciously overstating her case in the light of Jes' comments. Even so, a nub of truth in what she said remained.

In China, theses who disagreed with mainstream, have views outside of the parameters set by mainstream debate more often than not found themselves branded as dissidents-- suspect, hunted, under threat. 

Thus a professor who misspoke to a journalist could suddenly be demoted. An editor who pursued a corruption investigation too zealously might find herself fired. A lawyer who simply tried to help his client to there best of his ability could, were the client of the wrong sort, ironically land in jail himself.

In universities like BBI the idea was drilled into students' heads that there were right answers and wrong answers. While ambiguity and attitude scratched against the natural grain. There are thus occasion when despite all of India's painful shortcomings, I would assert with conviction that it was better to be an Indian than endure the stifling monotony of what tended to pass as an intellectual life in China.

But then I would return to Delhi for a few days and almost immediately long to be back in Beijing where a woman could ride a bus or even drive a bus without having to tune out the constant staring and whispering of the dozens of sex-starved youth that swarmed around the Indian capital's streets at almost any given time.

Later on the same day, however, I might switch on the TV and catch a session of the Indian parliament, not always the most inspirational of bodies but when looked at with China-habituated eyes, more alluring than usual.


最后一个问题以各种形式出现,对于这个问题我考虑了很久,每次碰到它,我的答案都不尽相同。与娄亚 (音译)和我家附近公厕的保洁员聊过之后,我想到了印度那些可怜的女佣;我对于中国最底层的人仍享有相对的尊严感到惊讶。





















Tuesday, March 18, 2014


This movie makes me nostalgic. A bag-pack, a flight ticket to Europe, you will end up having the exact same experience as it shows throughout the movie.

I had my time. Danced until sunlight and forgot how did we end back in the apartment, sang in the street with a group of drunk buddies, at 3am shouted the young lecturer's name in the street where he lived, had a whole team of French police showed up at my door because of party noise complain, and I flirted with them by teaching them Chinese.

But the movie is not about loosing oneself, it's about finding oneself.

I was looking for myself, in that space in that time, with people I want to remember and want to forget.  I was finding myself.

Getting drunk and crazy is an expression of youth, an easy way out, but not necessarily the better way, or the only way.

The only way is to have no regret, live to the richest and fullest.

By finding myself, I explored everything possible, tried everything available. By finding myself, I discovered my inner strength which helped me through the struggle of pursuing a life with the love of my life. By finding myself, I tasted the flavor of freedom and independence, and could never let it go.

Yes I found myself in that space in that time, but life moves on.

I am entering a new phase of life, with a lot of self-sacrificing and care-giving. I might fortunately discover more of myself, might somehow lose a bit of myself. But it's all part of the exploration.

The important thing is, leave no regret, live to the richest and fullest, with compassion, with love.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Creation of life is a miracle, funny thing is, for a lot of people in this world, gender is more important than life.

"Did you ask your doctor the baby's sex?" "When can you tell the gender of the baby?" "Did you see the penis in ultrasound?" "Ahh, it's ok, you can have a lot of kids anyways. Hihi, then you will be a (worthless) housewife."

My mother started to ask such questions following the confirmation of my pregnancy, around three weeks after conception.

I was for some time feeling annoyed, didn't want to communicate with her, therefore didn't get to know what symptoms she had in her early pregnancy. Usually mother and daughter share the similar symptoms.

When I was young, my mother often cried in front of me, asserting that "it's too difficult to be a woman", next life she wanted to be born as a man, even this life, how much she wished she was a man.

When I made mistakes, she sometimes shouted at me, "girls are useless, how much I wished I had given birth to a boy".

Thus almost half of my childhood, I was praying that I would suddenly wake up in the morning to find my penis.

I was raised up like a boy indeed, never had long hair, never had a doll, seldom wore skirts, discouraged to act like a girl but encouraged to act like a boy, the way of walking, talking, eating, even cursing. I naturally felt that girls were dump and disgusting, just like how the other boys felt about their opposite sex.

So what do I want for myself? A boy or a girl?

This is the most frequent question I received for the past two months, within the first three questions during the conversation, definitely there is one concerning the gender.

To be honest, I want a boy.

I want the best for my kid, the easiest way out, being a boy.

As a boy, I wouldn't worry if he would be sexually assaulted by one of the "nice" uncles at home when he is nine years old, I wouldn't worry if he would be knocked up by his teenage first love, I wouldn't worry if he chooses to elope with his lover and settle in some far away foreign country.

As a man, he can easily dream about being a world leader, a powerful politician, a football superstar, a world-famous writer, a courageous journalist, a successful entrepreneur, a business tycoon. The doors are wide open for him, the other side of the doors are filled with 99% men, he just need to work hard to become one of them.

If I am having a daughter, I wouldn't want to impose high hopes to her, no world leader, no politician, no industrial tycoon, she can study whatever she feels like, she doesn't need to be outstanding because it will require a lot of sacrifice, most of the time, her rights to happiness.

I only want her to be honest, simple, humble, confident and compassionate, in that way she can receive the maximum amount of happiness. I also wish her has her father's facial features and my skin, because under normal circumstance, being pretty can make her life much easier.

What about being influential and helpful to the society? I think as a woman, as long as she finds her inner strength, she has high self-esteem, that is good enough to lead an example.

I will also secretly save up some money for her, if she wants to travel around the world, I want her to travel in comfort, booking decent hotels and transportation so to avoid harassment and trouble; if she unfortunately experiences severe sexual attack, I want to be able to fight for her, paying up legal fees, psychological consult etc; if her boss fires her because of pregnancy, I want her to have some backup.

If I really want a baby girl, maybe it means I am selfish, I want a child who can understand me, who is sweet and tender, who will cry with me, who knows how to love and care for me, who will always be there for me.

I made a deal with my husband, "in our next circle of life, you will be the wife who carries out the pregnancy."

I experienced almost all symptoms possible for early pregnancy:

  • sever headache - due to sudden surge of multiple hormones, headache from the beginning 
  • lost of appetite - bitterness in mouth, everything tastes differently, all food seem disgusting, can't even talk about it
  • huge amount of gas and acid - burping every 30 seconds, also experience heartburn and bloating 
  • nausea and vomiting - even a thought of food or smell can trigger it, anytime, anywhere
  • hyper senses - sensitive to any smell especially cooking smell, phobia of odor is even developed
  • hyper emotions - crying on dreams, songs, movies, even some imaginary thoughts 
  • frequent urination - frequent stops in highway, always looking for toilet
  • constipation - some mornings I find blood in stools
  • fatigue - can't focus on doing one thing for more than an hour
  • failing eyesight - sometimes my eyes feel blurry all of sudden 
  • starving - every night 12am, every morning 5am, I wake up in unbearable hunger

It's only been two months, but felt like years. Everyday I am counting, wishing the symptoms could ease down. Most of the days, I couldn't even get up from bed, lying there, waiting to feel hungry, force myself to eat something, then go back to hibernation.

Getting out of room is the toughest thing, when the door opens, cooking smell trapped in corridor could knock me out badly, flip over my stomach so I throw up everything in there, even the last bit of bitter acid.

Having children of their own is usually a couple's decision, but only the woman knows how hard it is, physically and mentally.

Because I have experienced discrimination, sexual harassment, now pregnancy myself, I know being a woman is difficult and would want to avoid to be one. But if I am blessed with a baby girl, I couldn't be more happier.

That's why I am always wondering, those mothers and fathers who intentionally kill their female fetuses, this action is the result of their love to the free-from-suffering unborn girls, or the hatred to the entire gender?

And I think either it's cowardice or hatred,  because of it, our world for women is not getting better.

#save female fetuses

#stop female foeticide

Related post: Life

Thursday, February 27, 2014


This is a 38mm long, 10 weeks 4 days (8 weeks 4 days after conception) little embryo, temporally living in my belly.

The gender of the embryo is not yet defined, its sex organ not yet formed. So I call this little thing "it".

My belly is still flat, no weight gain yet. If three weeks later, the decision be made to kill this little thing, because it doesn't have a penis, nobody should be able to notice.

When we were in the hospital, watching the ultrasound image, it was jumping around, stretching arms and legs, flipping over, kicking. And we saw that, it was smiling the whole time, with its thick lips fully resemble its father's.

It is a life. Grows by second.

Two weeks ago we saw its heart beat for the first time, 150 times a minute. It didn't have a little bit human shape by then, looked like a frozen turkey in the supermarket, it didn't move at all.

Only two weeks after, we saw the fully functioning arms and legs, we saw its smile on the face.

Maybe it already started dreaming, and wondering where it is living right now. Soon it will have the urge to know the world, to know everything, to explore.

We didn't care to ask the doctor if she could tell the gender of the little thing.

Because it is our baby, the gift from gods, the reminder of our love. That, is all it matters.

It is a life. Grows by second.

#save female fetuses

#stop female foeticide

Related post: Gender

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Reimagining India

The subcontinent was home to some of the most sophisticated early human civilizations. Critics of India's modern infrastructure would do well to recall that inhabitants of Mohenjo-Daro and Rakhigarhi built the world's first-known urban sanitation systems five thousand years ago and may have been the first to use wheeled transport. For centuries after Alexander's departure, India was governed by powerful Hindu dynasties who patronized the arts and took keen interest in religion, philosophy and practical science. Megasthenes, the first western historian to venture beyond the Punjab into the Gangetic plain, described a land so verdant and fertile that "famine has never visited India and there has never been a general scarcity in the supply of nourishing food." Venetian traveler Marco Polo, who claimed to have visited several ports in India during his 1292 voyage from China to Persia, declared Malabar (now Kerala) on India's southwest coast to be the "richest and most splendid province in the world". Akbar's court in Fatehpur Sikri, notes British historian Alex von Tunzelmann, Akbar lived in "unmatched opulence... in rooms done out with marble, sandalwood and mother-of-pearl, cooled by the gentle fanning of peacock feathers." By comparison, Elizebeth was a "weak and feeble woman" who ruled over a "grubby, unsophisticated, cold, dismal little kingdom."

--Reimagining India, by Mckinsey & Company 2013