Monthly Archives: September 2011

fortune tellers

My mother is a firm believer in fortune tellers. She also has various superstitions that she subscribes to–some of which I have unwittingly adopted. But it is the fortune tellers that I remember the most.

I can’t say that I’ve been dragged to see these fortune tellers, because I usually enjoyed the visits. When I was younger, I was worried about finding a boyfriend, doing well in school, getting a good job, etc. In retrospect, considering the concerns that I have now, those worries all pretty much take care of themselves. Of course, when you’re young, you can’t believe that–and you hate it when the old people tell you that you’re young and should just enjoy your youth.

(Now┬áI try to stop myself from saying the same thing to young people–but I can’t help but think like those old people.)

Most of time, the future that was predicted for me was very wrong. Although, I remember one fortune teller surprising me when she stated that I was in love with someone, and the name of the person started with the letter “L.” I just nodded–but it was actually true. And something that I was trying not to admit to myself–because I really should not have been in love with “L” because he was in love with someone else.

Lately, Mom has been talking with a feng-shui master, who also dabbles in fortune telling. Well, it actually translates more into something like “calculating destiny”–although that sounds too heavy. Basically, there is an ancient Chinese method (isn’t it always an ancient Chinese method?) of fortune telling, based on the time and date that you were born and your sex. It divides up your life into 12-year periods (I think it’s 12) and there is a sort of counting mechanism where you put symbols in each period and then you read what you’ve come up with. I’m sure there is a good English translation for this somewhere–but I don’t know what it is.

Anyway, the past several times I’ve talked with Mom, she has pressed upon me to hurry up and have a kid–as if all I need to do is push a button and boom, I’m pregnant. What makes me laugh is that she is very serious about it, because the feng-shui master has told her that this is my last opportunity to have a kid–it is now or never. Of course, this is not much of a prediction, considering that I’m 38 years old. Anyone could have told me that this is my last chance.

But I’ve also thought about what a good prediction it is–because it can’t be wrong. Either I get pregnant–and the feng-shui master is correct–because it was my last chance. Or, I don’t get pregnant–and the feng-shui master is correct–because I waited too long and missed my chance.

Similarly, the feng-shui master told my mom that there is a little boy, waiting to be born. And that this little boy wants to be my son. But, if I wait too long, the little boy will get impatient and leave. Which means I’ll have a little girl. Once again, another very good prediction where the feng-shui master is certain to be right.

Although I can see how conveniently worded these predictions are, I don’t completely ignore them. Sometimes, they really stick with me. But I have to remember that there are still choices that I can make. Fortune tellers can only tell me part of my story.

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food perspectives

Through the power of Google+, I randomly read all sorts of things. Sometimes, I am a bit overwhelmed by it, since it is one more thing to look at on the internet–and I am already quite addicted. But there are also some really interesting things you’ll find on there. For example, I read this Quora answer, and it made me think about how Americanized our food is. But at the same time, now that I’m living here in Australia–food is a similarly Australianized.

Grinchy and I think that one of the best things about the US is that there are immigrants from all over the world–and they bring their food with them. This means we get to try food from almost every country, with varying degrees of authenticity. Grinchy is from Mexico, and so I’ve been lucky to have true Mexican food. Which is amazing. But, I have to admit, there are times when I want the very Americanized version of Mexican food–with the chips and not-very-spicy salsa, and a giant veggie burrito.

[Grinchy insists that burritos are not from Mexico. I think there is some debate about it. But he doesn’t remember ever seeing them as a kid. And if you talk with other Mexicans, they would agree with him.]

Now that we’re in Sydney, we similarly have the fortune of being able to try food from around the world. But we have definitely noticed that food here is designed for a different palate. It took us 8 months to find a Thai restaurant where the food was actually spicy. We learned to specifically request more spice in our Thai food–and even so, rarely would it more than mild. While I understand that not all Thai food is intended to be spicy, I also have been to Thailand and have seen first-hand the chili sauce that people liberally put on their food.

I was a bit surprised that condiments here are sweeter. Everyone knows that Australians love their Vegemite–which is actually savory/salty. But the ketchup here (which they call tomato sauce) is sweeter than in the US–and I think the mayo is too. French fries (called chips here) often come with sweet chili sauce and sour cream. The sweet chili sauce has the color of chili–but has no semblance of heat.

I think this sweetness pervades the other cuisines. If an Indian restaurant wants to keep their customers happy, they need to give their diners what they want. Which in Australia means less spice and more sugar. I think Americans probably have a similar palate–but I knew how to get the food that I wanted. Here, I’m still learning.

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