Saturday, December 12, 2009

And the Challenges Go On.. Part 7

It seems that the word "CHANGE" was the theme of this year in many places worldwide. And now at the end of 2009, I, too, am going through a transition.

When I wrote the last post of this "challenges" series, I was still looking for a part-time job, and my biggest concern was my parents' condition, especially mom's. My plan was earning a little money every month as a part-timer and studying translation at home for the rest of the time so that I can work as a sort of free-lance translator in the future, taking care of my parents. But dear readers, on the 1st of December, I started working as a data-input operator. And it's a full-time position, though only for three months.

Why the change of plan? Because I want money.

I want money to do and buy some things that are related to my new interest: the local geopark project. As I wrote on this blog (and another one), I have helped the project once in a while in the past couple of months. Sometimes I was pretty stressed, but after going through some rough times, now I'm interested in being something like an eco-tour interpreter myself, not as a professional of course but as a volunteer. Then there are books to read and workshops to attend, which will cost some money, if not a fortune.

I was still hoping to find a part-time job that would pay me enough to pursue my new interest, but I had no luck. Then finally, at the end of November, I felt that I had no patience left and went for a full-time position that was available then. I knew it was a challenge, but since it was just for three months, I thought that we --my family, especially mom-- might be able to handle it.

Now it has been about two weeks at my new workplace. I work with another new employee and we enjoy working together. More than anything, for me it's so great to be able to talk with someone about my age every day. Oh it's a long-forgotten feeling!!

And how mom is taking this? Well, so far so good, I would say.

In my first few months here at my parents' house, I often wondered if my existence at home was making her mental condition worse, because though I didn't mean to, my presence brought a roll confusion in the house; I was a threat to her position as a housewife. If I be in charge of the kitchen and shopping, she would have no other choice but to stay in her room as a useless old woman. However, obviously it wasn't possible for her to keep things in the house (especially kitchen) under control on her own. And it wasn't possible for me to completely withdraw from the kitchen, either. As the readers from my previous foodblog probably know, the kitchen had been a special place for me -- a special part of me. So, yes, I often thought that mom may function better if I found a job, started working and established "my world" where I can belong to outside this house. But I was still reluctant to give her "mother's role" back. If I'd do so, then what should I be? Just a daughter? After being on my own and being a monarch of my own kitchen for more than 20 years?

But I have to admit this: After I started to work full time and gave her the "mother's role" back at least on weekdays, she seems to be functioning much better, perhaps from the sense of responsibility? She still has memory problems, but now she tries harder not to forget important things so that she can prepare lunch and dinner on her own.

On weekdays, every morning mom and I talk about what to make for lunch and dinner. Every day at work, I call mom in lunch break to remind her what the dinner plan was (she doesn't remember about 3 out of 5 times) and ask her what I should buy on my way home. And after work, I do grocery shopping and go straight home. Most of the time, the dinner is ready waiting for me. If not, I help mom to do the last part and then set the table. That's how we have been handling it. It is obvious that she spends hours to fix dinner because of her memory problem, but so far she is doing fine.

But honestly, I'm not sure if we are doing a right thing.
And in Mar. 2010, I'm going to have to make another big career decision... :(

Dad had a health checkup and got a Swine flu vaccine injection in the first week of December. Same diabetes, same uric acid level, but he doesn't stop eating the food that are not good for him. *sigh*

My younger sister emailed me yesterday and said that she and her kids are not coming to visit us for the new year's holiday. She still can't get rid of the bad cold. Gee... the New Year's Day with my parents without my sister, niece and nephew... My very first experience. Would I be able to handle it?

I wonder how many new challenges are waiting in 2010...

Oh, and last week, I killed a huge centipede walking across my room. (Come on, it's December!)


debbie said...

Hi Obachan,

Just want to drop you a note of well wishes to you and your family. Hopefully with the new year, there will be relief for your worries : ) 2009 hasn't been easy for a lot of people (myself included) and a lot of the changes have been scary. But sometimes things don't seem so bad when you know you have the support of loved ones. Take care and may you see that rainbow very very soon

K and S said...

wow lots of changes, hope 2010 will be a good, healthy and prosperous year for you. take care.

Anonymous said...

Hey Obachan,

Challenges have never been easy. Even for that volunteer work you hope to give a hand, it sounds demanding to know that it comes with a hefty price too. That's very noble of you, Obachan.

I guess if you've made up your mind and decide to give it a go, things fall in nicely together against all odds. Well, that's only when you want it to work, even if it means bags of sacrifices attached. Say like, GULP, not owning a kitchen for a while...?!?! I've heard that no kitchen can tolerate women of 2 or more, no den of 2 tigresses.

I just hope that you'll have peace in your heart as you let time help you out. And try focusing on your new goal instead of draining yourself with thoughts of your parents who are still physically healthy.

You've worked hard, good job. 2010 is gonna be a good year for you. =)


OsloFoodie said...

Always a pleasure to drop by here and read your writings, Obachan.

Anonymous said...

I think it's far better to keep your parent interdependent as long as possible. If you think about it, creating a dependent type relationship takes away from everyone. Thinking thru how to be a good care provider is a hard act to balance, i know, but everyone benefits in the end. remember, there is a difference between a caretaker and a care provider.


YSC said...

Hi Obachan, I think you are making good decisions! Going to work is a great way for your mum to feel like she can be useful, and also gives her incentive to try harder. It probably makes her happy that she can still care for the family. It's only for 3 months as well, so after that you can reevaluate things. Who knows, perhaps after 3 months you may find another job you like... What you are doing seems to me very sensible. Best of luck in the new year!

Rinshinomori said...

Ganbare, ganbare Obachan!

Anonymous said...

Hello from Australia!(I am Japanese chick living Australia with my hubbie)
I have been reading your blog site, enjoying it...and just wanted to say I really respect your love for natural environment, simple life and looking after your parents. I could imagine it must be hard to look after elder parents and I am going to have to face it one day...
anyways GANBATE-NE!!
PS i don't have blog site,do you have face book?

Anonymous said...

Dear Obachan,

No hurdle is too high for you!
Have FUN,

love malaysiaelayne

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas from Canada. I know whatever you decide in your future you will succeed bacause of your caring and your ability to adapt to situations..Gan bate-ne


obachan said...

Thank you so much for your kind wishes. Yeah, I do have support from many people, which I tend to forget but I shouldn't.

I wish you the best for the new year. :)

K & S;
I don't know how I can thank you enough for your support for the past years. You are always there to care about me and encourage me.

I hope 2010 will be a great year for you.

"Things fall in nicely together against all odds." I like that! I'm going to recite it when stress and worries kill my sleep.

There's nothing really "noble" about the volunteer work I'm interested in. It's just that it'll be my only chance to meet people from other places (including abroad) and talk about the nature of the hometown that I love very much.

Focusing on my new goal... It is not a selfishness, right? I think I know the answer. But often my feelings do not follow my brain...

I wish you a wonderful new year, too.

Wow!! Sooooo great to hear from you! :D You're not blogging now? Anyway I'm so happy to know that you are still around in the blogsphere and you still remember me. Thanks!

That's true. Caretaker and care provider... That's important.

I'm going to have to face many challenges in "balancing" a lot of things in 2010. Wish me luck. :)

Thank you. I was so worried and couldn't have confidence in any of my decisions... It's nice to know that someone thinks my decision is sensible.

Oh well, I'll just do my best for now and see how things turn out in three months.

Ganbari masu. Arigato. :)

Anonymous commenter;
Thanks for leaving a kind comment. I suppose it's much warmer there than it is here in Japan?
Parents issue is always not very easy anywhere. But, yeah, I'm trying to believe that things will fall in place somehow, someday. :)

Oh, and I don't have face book.

I wish you a merry Christmas and a very happy new year.

I'm not sure how adaptable I am, but I remember that when I took a personality test in the U.S. about a decade ago, my "flexibility" score was way over American average. (Not sure if I should take this as a compliment or not, though.)

Thanks for your support. :)

cecilia said...

Hello Obachan,

From time to time I visit your blog, which I find beautiful, sometimes moving. I can understand your feelings and worries.
I think it`s fine to think about yourself, to find a job, to get your own money, to pursue your dreams. You deserve all the best!
May you always find strength to cope with the situations in life.
Smile. Take care.


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