Let Him Speak Up

This is Sonny’s first year of middle school in a bigger school, there are 10 class rooms of his grade. I wondered how he would adjust in a new environment.

After 2 weeks in school, we asked him if he made any new friends and their names, he said he made some new friends but don’t know their name. I was very disappointed, told him that he need to put a little effort to build a friendship, start with remembering their names. I gave him an assignment for following day, remember four kids’ names who sit around him. Next day, as soon as he got out of car after school, he told us those kids’ names.

A Friday night, Sonny and I watched a long movie “Save Private Ryan” together, it was past 11:30pm when we went to bed. We couldn’t sleep right away, we had a little talk. He told me he made two new friends and their names, two girls from other classes. He told me how he met them. One day, a girl was playing Ukulele at recess, he walked over and asked if he could stay there and listen to her playing Ukulele. Later another girl joined them, she can play single drum. Sonny introduced himself, told them he plays piano, could he join their group when they play music together?

I was so happy to know that he has no problem to make friends, boys or girls, as long as they are interesting to him. I told Terry about it next morning, Terry praised him, ” If you can make friends with girls and women, you are having half of the world as your friends. Because half of the world are made up with women.”

His school held a parents shadow day event after they started school a month later. I went and observed him in different classes. He seems quiet, paid attention to his lesson; didn’t raise his hand to teacher’s question like some kids; a couple of classes he sat far end of room, a boy who had no interests to lesson tried to talk to him.

I went home, told Terry what I observed, what I thought. I thought that he need extra study except what he learn in school, he need put more energy and time on study, less on video game and screen.

Sonny got home, I told him my thought after the parents shadow day. He was very upset in the evening, because I wanted him starting with new routine right away.

He cried and argued, “Why do we need to change the old routine? With the old routine, I was a good student and graduated from 5th grade, I still can be a good student in 6th grade. ”

“Discussion is listen to each other’ ideas. You told me what you want, don’t listen to me what I want, this is not a discussion.”

“You think you are my boss, can make any decision for me? You can’t control me, I’m an individual, I have my own freedom.”

“Are you going to make all decisions for me of my whole life?”

I said, ” Before you are 18, we make most decisions for you. After that, it’s up to you.”

But inside of my heart, I felt bad to make him cry, he has never cried such long time and so sad before. After we stopped, he read his book about half hour. Before he went to bed, like every other night, he said:” Mom, I love you. Good night.”

I was left alone in living room, amazed, that he still can find love in his heart for me even I just made him cry. It made me rethinking about myself, he was right with his argument point. He is a loving person, much better than me, as he has no trouble to love me at any time. Now I need to go inside of my heart, find the same kind of love for him.

Next day, I talk with Terry, he thought we were a little too hard on him. He agreed with Sonny, we should make the plan together. On Sunday, after our beach time, we all sat down and made a new plan. Sonny had one more week before we start with new plan. He was very happy, regained one hundred percent of his happiness.

As he growing, he talks back to us more and more, he always has his own mind. I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all. Compare with my childhood, I’ve never talked back to my father. I was afraid of him like a mouse afraid of a cat. I think the fear inside of me shaped my personality, squashed my confident. I couldn’t go back to the old time to change the way I grew up. But my experience taught me, a child shouldn’t grow up in fear of his/her own parents but their love. If a child can express his mind freely to his parents, he will has confident to express himself to other people, even to the whole world. We try to raise him to be a person, who is always be able to speak up for his mind, be able to let other people hear his idea; we are trying to be reasonable parents who listen to his mind at the same time.

 

Sonny and Tulsi Gabbard

At Veterans’ Day, Sonny went to veteran cemetery with Kathy to visiti uncle Nick. Our congress woman Tulsi Gabbard gave a speech, Kathy took a photo of Sonny with Tulsi Gabbard.

 

Happy Thanksgiving

We finished 4th round of picking last Thursday. On Friday Terry and I both worked around house, felt satisfied after cleaned the house; on Saturday I made dumplings, a thing always make me happy. We have to work harder at harvesting time, then our off days seems so much sweeter to us.

Rumiko from Japan comes to visit us at coffee season every year. This time we were picking on the day when she visited, she came and started picking right away. She picked an hour with me, and picked all perfect beans.

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We planted some pumpkin on the rocky hill side of the new farm, now we have lots of pumpkin to share. I make stir fried with young green pumpkin or ripe one, they both taste very good.

 

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This summer I hardly wrote for our blog, one reason is that we worked very hard to clear the other farm; another reason is that I got sucked into watching Chinese TV series shows. Except working hours, I became a couch potato with iPad. TV hasn’t been a big part of my life for years, especially Chinese show, now I have so many options to watch online. I watched the first one which was very popular in China last year, it was a very good show. I got to know some new faces of actors and actress, they are so good, it led me to watch their other shows.

When I watching a show, my mind was totally raped by the story. Most stories were set back in old time, love story was only a small portion of it, but they definitely caught my mind. In these stories, these characters couldn’t be together for many reasons even they loved each other. I laughed and cried with these characters when they happy or sad, their love stories are beautiful but they are fiction. It made me thinking about our love story, the real one in our life.

The time which we just met seems so far away, some memories are fading away, I remember one thing, Terry remembers another thing. I wanted refreshing these memory, felt the beginning of our love again, so I read my old diary then Terry’s diary.

In his diary, he asked himself every day, why and what was he doing in China? He wasn’t looking for a wife. And I wasn’t looking for a man, maybe I was waiting for the right person come to me. I am the lucky one, the right person came from far far away place and found me.

I remember a conversation with my girl friends when I was in high school, they thought a woman with 2 divorces had bad reputation. But my opinion was that, if you were not happy with your marriage, why were you stay together? If I had to get married 100 times to find the happy marriage, I would. At that time, I was only 19 but strongly held that opinion. Now I’m older, I realize that a person don’t need to get married so many times to find a happy one. You just don’t get married with casual decision, marriage is serious thing, a commitment to your life partner. If you want a happy married life, you need to try, even have to through a few marriages.

I told Terry how these Chinese show affected my emotion and thoughts. It rebuild my passion of love, remind me why I fell in love with him. He said that love is not a dead thing, it need to be nurtured and maintained, otherwise it will disappear slowly. Like a river, if you let your love flow, it can go a long way, it might become a bigger river as the love growth. Or if you stop adding more love into it, it become smaller and weaker, eventually it will dry out. We talked about our old times, how we felt about each other at that time, our favorite restaurants and noodle shops while we traveled together. We plan to revisit some places with Sonny next time in China, a nice dream we can looking forward in future.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, but I hold great gratitude every day for all the people in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Coffee Season

 

Coffee season is here again, we are struggling with lack of coffee pickers as usual. Kathy is the only one who committed to pick coffee with me. Christi has several farms to work on, couldn’t come to help this year.

We started our first round of picking in August, when two pickers who picked for us before showed up, and asked to pick coffee. I picked with them, took us 7 days to finish the first round.

We picked the second round in September, Kathy was back from her trip, I got in contact with Juan, whose parents helped us for years as long as they had time, his parents went back to Mexico as their visa expired this year. Juan said that his uncle and he would try to help us even they have regular job, and bring more pickers when they can find. So it only took 4 days for second round of picking, there were 10 pickers for 2 days.

The third round, coffee beans came ripe so fast, it was a big round, we couldn’t keep up with it. Luckily Juan and his uncle came most of picking days, they can pick twice as much as we do. Just had these two men picking in the farm, I imaged there were 3 Kathy and 3 Susan picking coffee. Kathy laughed at my imagination. We finished this round last Sunday morning, it took us 16 days, and we’ve got half of our crop already.

Compare with last year’s weather at this time, it seems we had more rain this year. Too wet, ripe coffee bean can’t hang on the tree very well. I always gently pick from lower part, pick around the tree, then bend the tree; otherwise, too many beans end up on the ground. Kathy worked so hard, she inspired me to work hard too; even when it was raining, we wore raincoats picking in the rain. Some good weather afternoons, we picked until it’s dark.

I bought iPod before coffee season, I enjoyed it when I worked in the farm, music or podcast. One day, we listened to TED TALK on the way home from beach. It was talking about a few minutes of silence in our daily life is very important. I agree with it. Sometimes I couldn’t stand any music or podcast, turn off my device was the only way to calm me down. So most of my picking days, I didn’t carry iPod with me. I found this was the first time I enjoyed my quiet picking time, peace in my heart, one day went by very fast. At the end of the day, I didn’t even feel tired, except the joints of my hands felt sore. I didn’t even worry about losing some coffee on the ground, because we couldn’t picking fast enough. What I cared about was that, we are trying our best to bring as much coffee as possible to drying deck from the field. I didn’t stress out for some coffee beans on the ground, not in my basket.

We even had Sonny picking with us at his fall break, 5 days, about 200 pounds. He made some money, bought a book for himself.

 

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2016 May Day Celebration

Last Saturday was the May Day Celebration at Honaunau school, a very special event for Sonny’s class, he and his friends are going to graduate from this elementary school. On this day, the ceremony was held for graduating students. It was even a super special event for Sonny and Jenna, they were elected to be May Day King and Queen.

May Day King and Queen’s families are in charge of decorating the stage the day before. Friday morning Terry and I went to a friend’s flower farm (on our road) to pick some flowers, and delivered to school. We found some flowers already there, waiting to be used.

At 2:30pm, we back to school to decorate the stage. At beginning I was worry a little bit since I had never done before.  There were a couple of moms who did this before, with their little guide, the whole process went very easy and smooth, only took two hours to finish the project.

Next to the field are some Monstera plants, Jenna’s parents and I clipped off some leaves, Sonny’s whole class helped to move the plants to the stage. With their help, the beginning of the project went very well, I was so glad to see they all were be part of this.

 

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We had foggy and rainy week, wished to have a good sunny morning on May Day, we were blessed with good weather.

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To be May Day King, the student has to write a speech to compete with other candidates, then 4th and 5th grade cast their votes. Not everyone want to be May Day King, Sonny didn’t want to try at beginning. I said:” You are a good student, why don’t you  try? It’s not about the compete, it’s about the participate. If no boy in your class apply for this role, how embarrass it is. ” Later I told him that I would award him $5.00 if he tried, $10.00 if he won this role. He needed money for his new computer, I wanted to help him but he had to earn it. So he wrote his speech, it came out not bad at all when he made up his mind. He was happy for days after the election, some kids told him they voted for him because he is the nicest boy. We were happy for him too, it helped his confident to grow inside of him.

In April, there was a talent show in our local community, we saw the sign past few years, but never asked Sonny to sign up. He has been taking piano lessons for 6 years, he can play some nice pieces. I asked him to try it this year, he refused and told me that I couldn’t force him to do it. I said :” I want you to try this time, because you are pretty good now. I wish you have an experience of playing music in front of more audiences, just this once, never again, unless you want to do it on your own. ” At the end we reached the agreement, we award him with $20.00 if he sign up the talent show and play two songs, one has to be “River Flows In You”. That evening, he got many complements after his performance. I believe he was very happy and proud of himself, that was what I wish he feels in his heart.

Right now I still can use my power as mom to give him a little push when it’s necessary, but I will giving up this power little by little as he grows. All I wish is that he will try many things as he grow up, to find out what he is good at, and choose the path that is right for himself, and the confidence and is comfortable to be himself in the future.

 

 

Money

We started getting some rain lately, coffee trees respond to it with healthy green color. We sprayed the first round of Botanic Guard, and finished the first round of  sucker-ling. Another year’s routine works as coffee farmer in Kona.

 

There are always many stories to raise a child. As the child is growing, parents are learning with the child, not only about their child, but also about themselves. Today I’d like to share our story about how Sonny gets the concept of money.

I only used cash when I was in China, credit card wasn’t common way to purchase goods. Now more people use credit card than before, but most small business still prefer cash.

We visited my family when Sonny was 4 years old. One day, he was playing with other kids, a man who was selling steam buns came to the village. All of the kids ran to the man, stopped him on the road to buy sweet buns. My family’s backyard face to the road, about 100 yards, rice paddy between the house and the road. I saw Sonny was the last one standing in front of that man, one hand out for sweet bun, other kids left. He didn’t know, other kids got sweet buns because they gave money to the man. I took my wallet, walked to them. That man gave a sweet bun to Sonny before I got there, I thanked the man and bought few more. Since that incident, I often wonder how can we teach him what is money, what is it for.

Here, we use credit card most time, he doesn’t have many opportunity handling cash. So we started a saving account for his future education fund, tried to introduce saving concept to him. He only can spend the money if he goes to college or university, otherwise we’ll take it back. He didn’t get the concept, since he doesn’t have a chance to spend the money.

Last coffee season, Terry said to me,” It seems not fair to Sonny, since he can’t spend any money without our permit. We should let him keep his own saving, the money he earns, he can spend as he wishes.” Later we talked to him, he was excited about it.

He earned his first $9.00 from picking coffee, right way he spent $3.50 for a Hagan Das bar at a convenient store. When he had $20.00, he spent $17.00 for a toy rifle which he already had one at home. Both times we didn’t stop him, later he found that he didn’t have enough money to buy Mine craft book which he wanted so bad. Since then he thinks a little bit before he spend his money. It also motivated him to pick coffee willingly to earn some money, and he tried to find different ways to earn and save money.

His class had a field trip to Hilo, he convinced us to give him $10.00, he took another $10.00 from his own saving. If he didn’t spend all the money, he got to keep the rest. On that trip, he spent less than $10.00, so he made a few dollars. On February, his class had a two days field trip to Oahu, he took his own $20.00 and we gave him $20.00. He came home with two souvenir, an army helmet and a water bottle, cost $18.00, put the rest money back into his pig bank.

This year he wanted a computer for his birthday, we told him that he had to put in some money, at least $100.00. We’ll double the amount he put in, the more he put in, the better computer he’ll get. Our friend Tom gave Sonny many chances to earned money from him, he paid Sonny to play piano, five dollars for five songs.

He spent his spring break and weekend morning working with us, most time he moved branches and piled branches by drive way. Every day we asked him how much his work worth, he gave us a number, we looked the pile, gave him our price. Most times he got $3.00, few times got $5.00. He couldn’t do very much, but we let him do it alone, with his own pace, praised him for trying his best. I remember how boring it was, when I was helping my parents at his age. I shared my thoughts with him. We don’t always have a fun job or a job we like, sometimes we have a boring job, but we still need to try our best if we hold the job. In that way, when we have a good job, a fun job, we’ll cherish the opportunity and definitely do our best.

On his birthday, we picked him up from school, went to town, bought a computer for him. He used up his saving, $18.00 in debt to us, promised to pay back. He worked with us on Saturday morning, cut down his debt to $15.00. He lost one tooth, and asked tooth fairy ( Terry ) for $5.00. Terry handed the money to him, he handed the money to me right away, announced he was only $10.00 in debt. He received some money for his birthday, he’s not only debt free, but also some money in his piggy bank.

I can tell he’s very happy because he has power over his own money. He treated us with Hagan Das bars at special occasion, Terry’s birthday, our anniversary, Mother’s Day. I praised him for his generosity.

I’m happy, as a team, Terry and I found a way to open this door to Sonny. Wish he will enjoy the process of making money, spending money in good way, be the master of money, not be mastered by money.

 

 

Coffee Flowers

It has been long time since my last post, we’ve been very busy with our works, even I’d like to share some of our stories, but I chose, went to bed early.

Kathy and Cal helped me to finish picking the last round of coffee. As soon as we striped the trees, I started pruning, Cal chopped most of branches and piled beside the road, Terry helped me and Cal. Chipping was a easy job, Terry and Cal fed the chipper, I spread the wood chips in the farm.

Last month we milled our new crop, it’s smallest crop ever, don’t know why. But green coffee looks very good.

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We had two rounds of coffee blossom, second one was bigger. We were so busy, I didn’t even have time for my morning walking, I took these pictures when I was working. I’m always happy to take a few minutes to admire their beauty.

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We leased another small abandoned farm from Kamehameha School, we’ve worked on the land almost one month, had a big progress.

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Drive way before we cleared it.

 

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After we cleared the land.

 

It’s spring break right now, we had Sonny to work with us. He earns some money for his work, he’s trying to save some money for a new computer.

 

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Coffee Picking Time

We started our coffee harvest in August.

Before we started picking, we talked to our picking crew man and found out that he didn’t have any seasonal pickers from mainland this year, he wouldn’t be able to help us very much. We decided picking the first round by ourselves, hoped to find some pickers later.

Kathy, our friend, is the first committed helper. Nick and Kathy are our very good friends, they had been married over 40 years and had a happy marriage. Nick past away this April, we worried about Kathy at beginning, didn’t know how she would handle her life to be alone. But she showed us all of our worries were not necessary, with all of their happy life memories, she faces the future life with such positive attitude. A very good example for anyone who lose their life companion, I’ll remember this.

One day, after we quit picking, we loaded up our truck with coffee bags, drove home.  Kathy’s truck was parked outside of our drive way, it’s a new truck which Nick had chosen and bought for Kathy a few years ago, so she wouldn’t have a vehicle problem for years. When we were slowly approaching our drive way, Kathy, sat next to me, said:” I always shocked to see my truck parked there, the first instinct thinking is, Oh, Nick is here? ” When we were passing her truck, she said with a little cheery voice,” Love you, darling.” There is no sadness, see the truck like seeing Nick in person. I realize how wonderful and deep their love is !

She and Nick used to take care a coffee farm over 15 years, they enjoyed their farming life very much. Later years, with Nick’s health issues, they had to give up farming. Now she is alone, she was looking forward to help us picking coffee before we even started our harvesting season.

We usually start to pick around 7:30am, 50 minutes lunch break, work until 5pm. I was worrying about she works too long and might fall on our rocky land. On second day picking, it was very hot in the afternoon. After 3pm, I asked her a few times, was she tired, did she want to quit? Her answers were always no. At 4pm, I told her the time, she said,” we still can pick another hour, right ?” Of course, we worked to 5 o’clock. She is a hard working lady, I can see how much she enjoys working in the farm. I’m so grateful that Kathy stayed with us and picked coffee beside me, helped us getting through the first round.

Terry’s wrists pain bothered him too much after a couple of hours picking, a result of long years hard working with hands. I told him to stop picking, since I had Kathy picking with me. He could be the cook, so he cooked lunch and delivered the meal to us in the field. At weekend, Sonny and Cal helped too.

 

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Kathy enjoys her coffee picking time.

 

There usually are not many ripe coffee at first round picking, but with more and more coffee cherry getting ripe in the farm, I knew only me and Kathy couldn’t handle the whole farm. We kept asking around, checked on Craig’s list, called every coffee picker we used before, but there seems had no hope to find any pickers.

One day, I was waiting for Sonny in car at his school’s parking lot, engine was off, radio was on. I was leaning on steering wheel, looked out my right side window, listening to the music on NPR. A vehicle pulled up and parked right next to my left side, I didn’t turn around right away, was feeling a little down because we couldn’t find any picker. When the school bell rang, I turned off the car, saw a  young woman standing outside of my door, getting her child out from her car’s back seat. I didn’t know her, but I had seen her before on mango pickle-ling days. I guessed she is a local, words came out from me without filtering through my brain. “Hi, by any chance, you have a coffee farm and use coffee picker too?” I don’t remember what she said, but I said:” If you know any coffee pickers, please let me know, we could use some help.”

She told me that her husband is a Mexican, he knows some coffee pickers, she could ask him then call me back. I wrote down our phone number on a piece of paper, and told her, my husband’s name is Terry, and I’m Susan. She asked,” Are you the Dakine Coffee Bean?” I said,” Yes. How do you know it?” She said:” Oh, I’m Barry’s daughter, Christi.” Barry helped us two years ago and house-sat our place when we went to mainland last summer.

That evening, Christi phoned and told us that they couldn’t find any available pickers right then, but she and her best friend Mari could come to help.  That is how I met Christi and Mari, two strong young women, the best helpers I could ever dream of.

Christi and Mari both have three daughters, elder two girls go to Honaunau school, youngest one stays with them. At weekend, they had the girls came to pick coffee with them. Sonny is elder than them, but they all knew him since he was in student council  last year. Now they had the chance to play with him, became his friends, the big boy from higher grade. Christi told me how excited the girls were, after their first day’s picking with Sonny.

Sonny is the eldest one, he carried a hook to bring down coffee branch, so the younger ones can reach, they picked from same tree. They talked, laughed, made a lot of happy noise, sounds like a big flock of chirping birds, made the farm so alive.

We don’t really want the kids picking a long hours, so we set a goal for them, five school kids filled up three buckets together, then they can quit and go to our house play and watch TV. They finished their goal before noon on the first day, each one made $9.00.

I remember how horrible thing coffee picking was to Sonny last year. Now he likes it as long as he picks with his friends, and he can make some money. He looked forward the weekend coffee picking time with his friends, I like this change of him very much too.

 

Kathy and I amazed by Christi and Mari, they always picked more coffee than us, even they each have one toddler to take care while they picking.

They both are very caring moms. They put a water proof blanket on the ground; big umbrella to protect the girls from sun or rain; toys, food and iPad keep the girls content. They set up the place where the girls can see them, move the site along as they picking. Every time when the girls are crying for mom, they go to them, pick them up, hug them and tell them mom love you. Their kids must have the security with mom’s love, they are very easy become happy and content again. Many times, they just need a couple of minutes attention from their mom, and they always get it.

 

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Christi can pick more than two bags a day.

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Sophie get riding in Mari’s coffee basket.

 

With Kathy, Christi and Mari’s help, we got through our second and third round of picking. At the end of the day, I drove our truck to pick up coffee bags. Christi and Mari are younger than me, they tried to stop me when I tried to pick up a small bag by myself, not even one third of a bag. They are not bigger than me, but saw how they could pick up the bags, I know they are definitely stronger than me. Together, we loaded and unloaded the truck, nobody was just standing around, not helping. We are similar type of women, not shame to work hard like this, actually enjoy it. So we worked very well together, our picking were clean, very comfortable energy. With these three wonderful women working with me, I had good energy to work and happy every day. they inspired me, made me realize I can do more things if I have to, or If I want to.

We just finished our fourth round of picking last Saturday. Our regular picking crew family came to help since they had some time. I called Christi, she was happy we had some helpers, she had her farm to take care. She told me to call her whenever we need help. How lucky I am to meet a such nice person.

Christi and Mari came to pick coffee, were not because they had lots of time, they both are very busy with their own life. They came is because we needed help, they just wanted to lend a hand, even we just met. I’m so fortunate to know them and Kathy, they are so generous and kind, and they showed me how strong a woman could be.

 

 

This Summer Time

We had a very easy summer time this year, didn’t go anywhere for vacation, Terry and I enjoyed our time a lot, but Sonny wished we took a plane and went some where.

Since no school, we can get up late, and take our time to cook and eat our breakfast, life with luxurious time is wonderful. Terry and I still worked around the house or in the farm for a couple of hours in the morning, after lunch, we can enjoy our time with reading, web surfing, napping, or watching a movie. Later afternoon, I took Sonny to his swimming practice, the only activity we signed up for him in this summer break.

This summer, I also took swimming lessons from coach Jessi, who is Sonny’s coach.

Kids practiced swimming from 3pm to 4pm, next one hour was free time, I got into the pool and refreshed the lesson which Jessi just taught me. The first two day, I just held a board and practiced kicking next to the wall of pool. I couldn’t put my face under the water when I reached the deep side of pool, I was afraid I would panic if I did. Slowly I got used to look at the the deep water as long as I held the board.

At my second lesson, Jessi set a goal for me, she wanted me to swim cross the pool without board at the end of that week. That Tuesday, I asked Sonny to swim with a board beside me, in case, if I need help, he could hand the board to me. With my dog paddle (forgot the proper strokes which Jessi taught me), we swam cross the pool twice, I was so pleased with myself. Sonny only swam beside me the first two days, later I swam cross the pool myself as long as I swam next to the wall.

Practice is the only way to learn a new thing, I played in the pool an full hour, four days a week. Slowly I could swam cross the pool in any lane, first I felt very awkward with my free style stroke, the more comfortable I felt in the water, better I got with my stroke. I’m not fast, but I can swim, the joy of my small achievements filled my heart every time.

I watched the kids jumping into the pool from diving board, it looks so fun, I wanted to do it too. First I need to learn diving into the pool from the side of pool, I asked Sonny to demonstrate it. When I stood at the edge of the pool, couldn’t help to think about the deep water and scared. I walked to the edge, the fear grew bigger inside of me, I kept patting my chest, tried to push down the fear. It’s no use, I couldn’t do it and backed away from the edge. Back and forth, a few attempting diving failed. I’ve never recognized the fear inside of me as strong as that moment before. My heart beat so fast, feared if I diving into the pool, my heart would jumping out from my chest. Five minutes later, I decided just step into the pool, not diving in. My right hand held my nose, a low scream escaped from my throat before I entered the pool. The feeling of falling was a kind of scary, because I had no experience, it’s my first time. But the buoyancy brought my body up a few seconds later, it was not too bad. I practiced it over 20 times that day, the fear in my chest became thinner and thinner as I stepped into the pool again and again. Now I know the feeling of conquering my fear, it’s a joy of fearless, I embraced and tasted the joy with full hearted greed.

Next day, I stepped into the pool from diving board. First time the same fear found its way back and sat in my chest, waited to see my action. I knew it better then, and I wanted to taste the joy of conquering my fear so bad, I threw myself toward the fear, popped the fear like a bubble. I repeated it many times until my heart contented.

I learned to swim, getting better every time when I spend some time in the pool. Learning swam is not a big deal, but it made me so happy and proud of myself. Learning a new thing could be so much fun, I’ll remember this and keep my mind and heart open for other new things, give it a try when opportunity come to me.

 

Our mountain apple tree was load up with fruit again this summer, some branches broke with heavy load, wild pigs were happy with the fruits on the ground.

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Our friend John has a mango tree, it loaded with beautiful yellow mango, he tried to give away, since it’s mango season, he had hard time to give it away.  when he found out that I  like mango a lot, he told me to pick his mango anytime, even when he’s not home. John has well grown thick lawn, mango fell on soft cushioned ground, hardly had any bruise, except some had hole which damaged by birds or rats. I was so greedy, few times, I got 20 to 30 pounds of mango, I felt embarrassing. But John said to me:” if you don’t take, I have to pick it up and throw into compose pile anyway. Please take as much as you can.”

These mango had very good flavor, one of the best mango I’ve ever had. With so many mango, often I just ate 4, 5 mango as my supper, yum, yum.

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There was another wonderful thing happened in this Summer. Jeanne Kapela, Terry’s god daughter was crowned as Miss Hawaii. I took this picture when she visited us on 4th July, later that day she needed to be presented in Kailua Kona parade. Terry is always happy to see her, we don’t see her often since she attends Kapiolani Community College in Oahu. Right now she is in Atlantic City, to compete for the title of Miss America. We are so proud of her, wish her walking on the big stage with families and friends’ blessing and doing very well. We’ll watch the 2016 Miss America Competition on Sept. 13 at 8:00pm on KITV, witness this very special moment of her journey.

 

 

Our Time During Off Season

It has been a while since I got back from the trip to China, our farm life continued and easier during the off season.

When I just got back from my trip, Terry was pulling suckers, Cal and I worked with him a couple of days to finish the job. Last month we threw a round of fertilizer, Cal spread a round of Botanic Guard, this week Terry and I just finished another round of pulling suckers.

If we don’t have any farm works to do, I had to find something else to do around the house, which is not very hard if I’m in the mood.

One afternoon, I had Cal to help me pick Surinam cherry to make jam. We made some before, it tasted very good. This time there weren’t a lot, I washed the cherry and cut them open to take the seed out one by one. It took some time, but I enjoyed the processing moment. Terry told me, I need use 50% fruit and 50% sugar to make jam. So I weight the cherry, it was about 6 pounds. When I weight the sugar, the amount of sugar scared me, I changed the recipe, just used about 5 pounds. It didn’t take very long time to cook, Terry helped to stir the cooking pot 40 minutes, I had a break. The jam came out very good, with less sugar, it kept the peppery flavor and a little sour taste. We kept two jars and gave the rest away.

Another morning, I didn’t have any plan for the day, but when I saw the ripe bananas in our garage, I decided to dry some banana. Terry bought a fruit dehydrator for my birthday last year, we only used once to dry some macadamia nut. Two days later we had a gallon jar of dried banana, very sweet.

 

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Dried banana

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With more time in my hand, I had my morning walk on Sonny’s school day. When Terry drove Sonny to school, I ride with them and got off at the bottom of our road, then walked up the hill. It usually takes half hour, sometimes it takes longer if I had camera with me.

One the road side, there is a house with a Jack-fruit tree in the yard, it loaded with fruits, ripe fruit smells so good. We have Jack-fruit in my home town too, I remember the taste, it has been many years since I had some last time. But it seems nobody care about the fruit, ripe ones fell on the ground and just rot there. So one morning I talked to Dylan who is living there, asked him, could I have one Jack-fruit. He told me he only eat one a year, he was very happy to give me some. He gave Terry two the first time, but they turn out not ripe enough. Second time it was a huge one, at least weighed 30 pounds, just fell from tree and had sweet ripe smell.

I was happy to taste this fruit again, and Cal had a chance to try new fruit. Later on, Dylan told me to get some more when there was a ripe one. I thanked him and told him that one Jack-fruit a year was enough to me too. We are so lucky and so rich with abundant food here, often we see fruit ripe on the tree, rot on the ground. Right now it’s mango season, so many mango on the ground, nobody cares. On my morning walk, I picked up some mango from road side, I love mango.

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Jack fruit tree

 

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Jack fruit

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Banana trees on our road

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Labor Day was on Monday, no school, no work. Sonny finished his homework, freed to spend his time watch video or play game on his computer; Terry enjoyed his time reading, napping, smoking, watch TV; I spent my time to make dumplings.

After our breakfast, I decided to make some dumplings, Sonny asked for home make dumpling several times since I got back from my trip, and I was in the mood at that moment. I mixed the dough, then went to my garden to cut garlic chives. After I picked through the chives, got about 4 pounds, washed and cut, mixed with 2 pounds of ground pork and other seasonings as dumpling filling. I like to make my own dumpling skin, it seems stronger than the one from supermarket, but takes much longer time.

I downloaded a lot of Chinese songs when I was in China. I had the music player by my side when I was making dumpling, I let my mind following the music into the world which was described by the lyric, sometimes the song brought back some old memories and old friends into my mind. Making dumpling with relaxation.

At 1:00pm, I hadn’t finished the job. I stopped and made a quick lunch, some fresh made dumplings. Sonny had ten dumplings, they were pretty big size, he loves it and told me I was a good cook. I hope my dumpling will become a special dish in his life, a dish with mom’s special flavor, only can get from me. After lunch, I spent another hour to finish the job, made about 120 dumplings, then frozen and bagged them up. I used them for breakfast most times, it’s easy and quick.

 

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I’m a person, very easy to get content and be happy. But that day, I was very very very happy, not excited happiness, but peaceful happiness, so content and comfortable. I have everything I want in my life, a happy family with a loving husband and a child. At that moment, my happiness just like wine, kept over flowing from its glass, it was one of the happiest moment in my life. I expressed my feeling to Terry, thanked him to choose this wonderful life style and build this place for me and Sonny to join him. A simple life is a good life to someone like us.