5 Nice Things

Kottke just linked to this post titled An Easy Way To Practise Gratitude which is about a game where you simply name 5 nice things in your life. The rules are ‘don’t overthink it, and be specific.’

It ties in nicely for me with something I do about noticing nice things in my life, which I got from this Kurt Vonnegut quote

Anyway, here are mine…

  1. The security guard at school said good morning in English to me yesterday. Normally they would greet us in Chinese but he’s obviously been practising. Even though I had my headphones in it made me smile. Going against my normal programming I shared it in a school chat group and it turns out other people had noticed too. It made me feel a little more connected with people at school/work and I’m glad I shared it.

  2. A teacher’s friend is doing takeaway food from his flat. Yesterday he did bbq chicken with chips, peas and coldslaw and it was amazing. We ate it with a few friends and I had a couple of drinks and didn’t even get too annoyed with the kids!

  3. It’s the weekend and Lyra and I are going on a date tonight while the grandparents babysit. Curry and cocktails. I think I might get my hair cut today aswell. “My hair is long because I haven’t had the time to have it cut.”

  4. It’s the morning, Lyra and Yumo are asleep. I’m having coffee and Elise is getting some screentime. No one is crying or angry and it’s a very pleasant start to Saturday morning.

  5. The Apple photo widget has such a noticeable, positive impact on my life. Opening my phone to old photos of my wife, kids and family is just THE BEST.

Today

  • Time alone with coffee, a notebook and a book
  • Lunch with Lyra
  • Afternoon beers with friends
  • 1 minute late to pick up the kids, I didn’t have a mask so couldn’t go in but met them just outside the school

If this isn’t nice!

People.

Reset

The few hours Lyra and I just had were just what I needed. A chance to reset my mindset and for me to start again.

I’ve found it difficult when I’m either with my own children before and after work and other people’s children between 6am and 9pm. Much as love my own children and I do enjoy my teaching other people’s.

It’s one of those things about teaching that, when you’re working, yes you’re in charge but your time is very much not your own. You can’t leave the room to go to the toilet or go speak to someone, you can’t sit and have a think. While we do get some ‘free’ time during the time, it’s incredibly difficult to switch off. When you’re teaching them there’s a million other things to do.

Anyway. I feel very much better for the evening off of parenting and teaching.

Best thing you can do for your children sometimes, is to be away from them!

We tried to lie in but it’s tricky with small children climbing on you.

One of things I find hard as a parent is the weekends.

What’s a good weekend?
What do I want/need? What do I feel I should do (with the kids)?

Today, we’ve been up since 7 and didn’t stop till 11. We went to a book shop, had a nice lunch, went swimming and had dinner with friends.

It’s been full on. Just being with the kids is a lot. As well, we’re working hard with our eldest on choices and her dealing with things she doesn’t like or want to do.

So, it’s been good in some respects. We’re working on things that are important. I’m spending time with my family.

And yet, I’m aware that work on Monday is looming and needs preparing for and that just makes me anxious.

exercise plans

In theory it made sense.

I want to exercise more regularly but I’m also aware that when I exercised straight after work it impacted on the kids and my wife. Since I was getting home late. I didn’t like it and always felt guilty for working out so it never felt like ‘quality time’ and, honestly, it wasn’t enjoyable as a result.

Over the summer, we joined a gym and while the equipment selection was dire it was better than nothing.

So the idea was that I could go to the gym after the kids went to bed in the evening. I could come home straight from work and spend more time with them and help with cooking dinner etc.

In theory it made sense.

Except, unsuprisingly, after being at work all day and then coming home and dealing with that stuff, picking myself up to go to the gym and work out is proving tricky/difficult/impossible.

I did it once last week.

And today is the same.

I like the time I get with the kids but I also would like to exercise - for my emotional and physical health. I don’t know, I don’t have answers honestly. Just lots of questions. Should I put myself first more often? What about my wife? Or is always that my children come first?

Do. Not. Know.

The Home Office

This story of a British lawyer being refused a visa he didn’t apply for always gets me as I imagine us in that situation, trying to navigate the UK Home Office to get Lyra a visa. It’s not a simple process.

exercising

Workout today was supposed to be 3 X 1000m row but I was forced to run instead. First time I’ve run in quite a while. I realised:

  • Sometimes I like running - it felt pretty good
  • But I don’t like treadmills as I could maybe have gone faster but wasn’t quite brave enough.
  • I’m not confident about my Airpods Pros staying in.

After I did some farmer’s carry’s and then some side plank. Lyra and I have been exercising more regularly than I have in the longest time and I feel so much better for doing it. Would love to continue but how I fit that into my schedule when I go back to work is to be decided.

Adventures.

Our youngest likes to see the light rail trains.

We always point them out when we see them. Yet, we don’t ever take them even though the station is only 5 minutes walk from our flat. It’s easier to drive or take a Didi (Chinese Uber). So this afternoon we took the kid on it. Lyra found a restaurant near* a stop that’s 6 stops away. So we donned our masks since it’s one of the few places that you still have to wear them and we went.

It was nice. It felt like an adventure.

We walked (and walked). We saw things. We explored a new area a little. It made us realise we didn’t do this much. We drive and and we go to the same places a lot. We said, we should do this again soon. Admittedly we also said it would be easier when the kids are bigger too!

Then we found the place, a Korean bbq restaurant, that was busier then we expected but was worth the wait. We’d bought some baozi (steamed buns) for the kids on the way to keep the kids occupied a little. I had a couple of beers, Lyra and I shared some plum wine too. The place was busy in a good way. I started to feel a little drunk, in the best kind of way.

Here’s to next time.

*It wasn’t near.

Holidays.

We travel a fair bit. Partly, I think because of our location - which makes Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam relatively short flights away but mostly because of our global family. We travel a lot to see family. The joke is that we couldn’t be further apart. We’re in China, Mum and Dad are in Mauritius, sister is on the West Coast of America and my brother is in the UK. Mum and dad buy round-the-world tickets to visit us all.

When we had just had our eldest we travelled a fair bit with her because 2:1 is a decent ratio for childcare but we’re finding that with a second child that ratio ain’t so grand. It’s a holiday, but not as you know it.

We’ve just got back from 6 days in Sanya on the island of Hainan on the south coast of China. I realise we are lucky to have gotten away in the current situation.

It was very up and down. The pools were lovely, obviously hotel breakfast is great but the much smaller space of a hotel room made things more difficult sometimes and stressful.

I am glad we did it though. I am back and feeling a little calmer about things generally. Now to start put my computer down a little more, spend a little more time with the kids and wife, exercise a little more and read a little more.

Lyra has taken the kids out to a friend’s for a few hours! So, I’m obviously, struggling to make the most of it. Which, obviously, means I’m not relaxed at all. With that in mind, I’m starting with some meditation and then some exercise.

A morning routine Darling children all around Everyday a storm

Having small children awake from 5:30 when work is stressful is the worst way to do a morning routine.

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