Sunday, March 14, 2010

Divisions of Me: Why I Do What I Do

Every so often, I wonder how much of myself I should reveal on this blog. I mean, what is the purpose of this thing, anyway? To share my crafty side, to share my explorations in the world of the handmade. Sometimes, though, I just want to share a message, or at least some ideas that I think people might want to take on and think about, too.

Today, my friend Dawg shared this video about a fellow Canadian going to Indonesia to meet his grandmother for the first time since he was two. It hit me like a punch in the stomach. And it made me cry.

I feel somewhat divided in my identity a lot of the time. My parents emigrated to Canada before I was born. I grew up in Canada, with all the privileges that life in Canada provides, and with the middle-class standard of living enjoyed by many Canadians.

And there's the part of me that is from the Philippines, the part that understands that having a flush toilet was something that my family there only got a few years ago, and that knows that daily life could be very, very different for me.

I have never taken my life here in Canada for granted, even when I lived elsewhere. I didn't pay for my schooling, was lucky enough to get through my university debt-free, never went hungry, never had to experience natural disasters like typhoons, monsoons, earthquakes... I've traveled lots, met lots of people, loved lots of people.

Today, I look at myself, and I wonder: would my grandparents know me? Would they understand this person who grew up in such a different time and place? Would they be proud of me?

I think perhaps that's why I am so attached to making things for myself. Today, I hand-minced some shrimp to add to some ground pork, hand-chopped water chestnuts, hand-ground ginger and garlic. Later, I will hand-wrap wontons out of it. Tomorrow, I will hand-make my dinner as well, after I eat my lunch of hand-made bread. Next time I visit my parents in Winnipeg, I will go fishing using the fishing rod my grandfather used, then watch my mother gut it and clean it herself.

This is the way my grandparents would have done it.

And maybe they would actually be proud of me because I do it, too.


YarnKettle said...

This was such a touching post. I've been trying to come up with an eloquent way of saying that. Turns out simple is better. Please keep posting, I enjoy reading them so.

AdrieneJ said...

Thank you for posting. This was not an easy one to write - I shed a few tears while I did. I'm glad it meant something to you, too. :)

Sarah M said...

It seems you will never stop touching me Adriene. (Not in the pervy way either.) You are a true inspiration to those of us who say we will do...and put off until we dont.
Much love.

AdrieneJ said...

What an awesome comment! Made me giggle, and also made me feel better this morning. Thanks for reading!