It’s no surprise that I consider myself a pre-cursor to a Fangirl.** And I say “pre-cursor” because I certainly am not one that is completely obsessed with my favorite characters or actors; Johnny Depp notwithstanding (of course). And I certainly don’t “role-play” like some fangirls and fanboys do. Call it being a product of growing up as an adolescent and teenager in the early 80’s … but I consider myself more a Pop Culture enthusiast, than a Fangirl. I know more Pop Culture trivia and particular TV shows/movies than I know anything about Manga or RPG characters in the latest PS3 game.
Or as Cee Lo Green might say, “I guess (s)he’s more XBox. And I’m more Atari.”
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that, last night I was on the couch watching Spiderman 2 in HD and reading the Wolverine & Jubilee*** comic at the same time. After all, my number one Fanboy (aka Hubby) was also on the couch next to me reading his entire pile of comics and was the one responsible for choosing our TV selection.
An unexpected trip to Chicago this past weekend had Hubby & me enjoying the nice warm weather mostly in the comforts of our car. But that was okay, since we had good tunes to listen to … and even better conversations.
Oh, and not to mention, a great dinner in Bucktown Saturday night followed by some delicious Dim Sum in Chinatown the next morning as we left the city.
The weekend wrapped up with a movie; a perfect way to keep cool on an unseasonably warm Spring Day. I had wanted to see something uplifting and inspirational, so Hubby & I decided to go see “Soul Surfer.”
Okay, so the inspirational part was more secondary to the fact that I just really wanted to see surfing. And Hawaii. I just love any movies with Hawaii as the backdrop. And it’s all because it brings back some incredible Honeymoon memories, oh so long ago. So yeah, a movie filmed in Hawaii would make a very happy Emily.
So yeah, uplifting and inspirational. And boy … did I get both.
For those that haven’t seen trailers or haven’t heard about this movie, it’s based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton. If the name doesn’t sound familiar, then this probably will: Bethany was the 13-year old girl who, in 2003 was bit by a shark while surfing in Hawaii. She had lost her arm to the shark, but had gone on to continue to surf even after that incident.
I won’t give much of the movie away here, but what I will say is that within 15-minutes of the movie I was crying. And I continued to cry (intermittently, that is) throughout the entire movie. It was that good.**
One particular part of the movie had seriously gotten under my skin. After sustaining her injury, Bethany obviously began to question herself; question what her bigger picture in life was. After all, surfing was her life … and what could she do now that she no longer could do it well enough to successfully compete? She had gone to her church’s youth group leader, Sarah Hill (played by Carrie Underwood, BTW) and asked her, “Why?” If she had been given this incredible gift, why would God do this to her?
In the midst of crying, Sarah told her exactly what I thought she would her: That there must be a bigger plan out there for her. And that only God knows what that plan is.
Yes, I can see all my IF friends rolling their eyes and saying, “Yep. Heard that one before.”
And I can tell you that, in the midst of tears, even *I* rolled my eyes. But it’s what Sarah said afterwards that had me crying even more:
First, she said “I don’t know what that plan is.” This always gets bonus points for me, since my experience with the “God must have a bigger plan” statement has always ended with just that one phrase.
If only one time, I could’ve heard the added phrase, “I don’t know what the plan is” from any well-intentioned family or friends … that would’ve lessened the burden in which I felt *I* had to carry this burden on my own. That one added piece would have given me the comfort of knowing that I wasn’t crazy for being so angry and so confused over something that no one (not even an IF Doctor) had control over.
Then Sarah goes on to say, “I don’t know why terrible things happen to us sometimes. But I have to believe that something good is gonna come out of this.” And that’s the statement that had me weeping.
See … that’s the one thing that had been missing once Hubby and I stopped all treatments for Infertility: The belief that there’s something better waiting around the corner for me. That there was something else I could look forward to.
In the midst of deciding what Hubby & my next steps would be after stopping treatments, I was too close – too involved – with the smaller picture, that I couldn’t see what the bigger picture was for me and Hubby. At first I couldn’t see past the anger and pain of being barren to see what else was in my “bigger picture.” But eventually, as the storm clouds pummeled through and the dust finally settled, we both took a step back and decided that living child-free was part of that bigger picture.
But now, almost two years later … I feel like I’m lost once again. If I can’t be a Mom, then what will I be? What can I do? How am I now going to be able to measure my “successes” in life … especially since other women and couples can measure there’s by the success of their children? ***
It’s no mystery that I’ve been experiencing an ongoing identity crisis. And that Infertility has played the biggest part into questioning who I am … or who I could become. I know that, as this movie portrays, I should have faith that God knows what my bigger plan is for my life. I just wish I had the strength and conviction that Bethany – despite being so young – has that something … anything good will come out of something like infertility.
I just wish I could, at the very least, get a glimpse of that big picture.
So with that said … go see “Soul Surfer.” Not only will you see beautiful shots of Hawaii (Kauai, in fact … my favorite of the islands we’ve visted) … but you will see an incredible story of a girl who overcame her fears to do something that was within her soul.
** Okay, so the acting wasn’t exactly stellar, but the story was.
*** And when I mean success, I mean those milestones in their kids’ lives. First word, first step, first day of school, first date … it can go on and on and on. Graduation, wedding, grandchildren … need I go on more?
Almost a week without a post. Yes, I’m trying to get better at writing at least one post a week here. At least thats my goal.
As it turns out, I’m on a train heading back to Detroit from Chicago. Hubby and I drove back to Chicago in mid-March, but he had to get back to Detroit before I returned from my Boston work trip this past week. Anyway, this just means that I have a little window of opportunity to sit and write without being distracted.
Being a “Road Warrior” for work has given me the opportunity to spend more time listening to music on my digital library. After all, many times I find myself in airports for just enough time to check my email, but not enough time respond to them. Or else I’m literally on the road driving to a location hours away from where I started. Either way, music is my constant companion at these times.
It’s refreshing for me, because music has always been part of my life. One that only recently re-entered at full force after years of focusing on a career. Or trying to get pregnant.
My parents always had music on in the house and in the car. In fact, many of those road trips we’d take as a family involved worn out cassette tapes or — gasp! — old 8-tracks.
One of my favorite memories is my first trip to Disneyworld at the age of 6. My parents packed my brother, my cousin (who would later be known as LJC) & me in our tan wood-paneled station wagon along with our two grandmothers and an uncle and drove down from Detroit to Orlando. During that trip, I believe my parents only took a handful of 8-tracks; ones that we would constantly repeat, only because we couldn’t get any radio reception when driving through the mountains.
Let’s just say that by the end of our trip, the three kids knew all the words to every Neil Sedaka song, as well as all the singing parts to the Grease soundtrack. And it’s apparently a memory that keeps on giving, because Hubby can attest that I was recently able to identify a Neil Sedaka tune!
Another 8-track that was in the wagon during that trip was one of many Beatles compilations that my Dad threw together. It was from that home-made “playlist” (created circa 1978) that I learned the words to most of the Beatles songs. And to this day, every time I hear “Ticket To Ride” I have this incredible urge to belt out the song.
It’s one of those childhood memories I keep stored close to my heart. And one that usually surfaces whenever I hear any song that reminds me of road trips and spontaneous singing.
For instance: Today on the train, “Tiny Dancer” came up in “shuffle-mode.” The first image that came to mind was my favorite scene in “Almost Famous.”
Or the other day I thought of “Harold & Kumar” when hearing Wilson Phillips “Hold On” on the radio.
Regardless of the song, each one brought me back to my own road trip memories and how much fun they were when music was thrown into the mix. And hearing each song certainly gave me the urge to break out into spontaneous singing. Loudly. And at the top of my lungs.
And, in the midst of the chaos that my life has become of late … It made me happy.
So even though I might not be an American Idol contestant, I think I might just sing aloud. At least in the privacy of my own home. Or car. Or shower.
Your turn, oh Internets … What song makes you think of road trips? Or what song makes you break out your singing voice?
Hubby & I have always said that we’re old souls; ones that have lived and loved before … and are currently in our next life together. It’s in the way we work hard in our careers; it’s the weight of responsibility that we feel for ourselves and for our parents and families. It’s been in our desire to have a biological child of our own.
In the same aspect, I like to think that we’re extremely young at heart; love to tease one another and love to be playful. We know (or rather Hubby knows) when we should let loose and relax.
The latter is probably the reason why we love to see movies. And specifically, the reason we absolutely love watching animated movies at an actual movie theater, rather than at home in front of our television. It reminds me of the times when my parents would take me to see movies when I was a kid.
I will never forget the day that the two of us saw Disney’s “Aladdin.” Hubby & I were still dating and in college. We had seen an evening show at a 1940’s theater in downtown Royal Oak; the theater packed with parents and their young charges. In the midst of the movie, when Aladdin backs out of freeing Genie because he feels the need to use his third wish on himself in order to keep Princess Jasmine … one lone child in the theater, in her loudest voice said, “Mommy, why doesn’t Aladdin just tell the truth?”
While the entire audience let out a collective, “Awwww …,” I can recall Future-Hubby squeezing my hand just a little tighter as we smiled at one another. And that was one of the first times I can recall thinking that Future-Hubby would make an excellent father.
Now, flash forward to early 2009. Hubby & I had been married for 13-plus years by this time and we’d been through the ringer with Infertility. We had gone to see a movie one evening and saw the trailer for the movie “Up.” Both of us knew that this was one of those animated films we’d want to see … regardless of whether our nephew (or any of our younger, school-aged cousins) wanted to come with us or not.
What Hubby & I didn’t expect, when “Up” came out last summer, was the infertility aspect of the movie. Well, okay … we did have a bit of a hint from reading other blog posts about the movie. But what I didn’t expect was how much it would affect us; not just in the beginning scenes of the movie … but throughout the whole film, as Carl interacts with Russell.
It’s seeing that “old soul” in Carl open his heart up to a young boy that broke my heart. It’s knowing that Carl probably closed his heart to children after he saw how it hurt Ellie that they couldn’t have children. It’s seeing how much Carl loved Ellie and their life together; and how he’d do anything for Ellie … even after she passes away. It’s seeing what Carl does throughout the movie to protect Russell and make sure he’s okay.
It’s like seeing how Hubby, and his “old soul” would probably be in years to come, if (or when) I pass before he does. It’s knowing that, just like Ellie, I’d want Hubby to be happy and to know that my greatest adventure in life was with him.
Hubby turned the characters from “Up” into an Asian version of us …
BTW, like my new header?
I cried in the theater that day. And I cry now, even as I write it; because that is a fear that I have, growing old without anyone to take care of us except ourselves. And if, G*d forbid, one of us dies before the other … not knowing exactly how we’d be able to go on without the other.
But I suppose that since Hubby & I have already established that we’re currently on our next life together as a couple … it only makes sense that our next next life together will follow shortly after.
And that’s the only consolation I can even begin to fathom at this time.
When Dr. Bro was about 12 years old, he took up Tae Kwon Do. Part of it was to learn self-defense; another reason was to gain confidence. I’d watch his classes from time to time; fascinated by the discipline needed to practice this martial art.
Of course, a year after he started practicing Tae Kwon Do, the original “Karate Kid” movie came out. It was definitely a movie that both of us had wanted to see. Dr. Bro, because of the reference to learning martial arts. And me, because I wanted to see Ralph Macchio again after seeing him in “The Outsiders“. Of course, both of us just loved the film; as did every 10-14 year old that saw the film with us. It was quite evident, especially during the scenes during the tournament, when every kid cheered for Daniel Larusso to win.
This past Friday, Hubby & I went to an early evening show at the movies; something we haven’t done in awhile since finding myself unemployed. And of course we went to see the new version the “Karate Kid” … not only because we wanted to see how Jackie Chan could fill the role of Pat Morita, but because we were wanted to see how the story would translate now that it was set in China. We were not disappointed.
I must warn you, if you’re looking for a completely different spin on the original movie, you won’t find it here. The story line, from the cute classmate to the bully, down to the some of the sayings “Strike first! Strike hard! No mercy!” are the same. Except with this version, there seems to be some sort of twist to each element we see in the original film.
The first (and obvious) twist to the story is that instead of being taught Karate, Jaden Smith’s character (Dre) is taught Kung Fu. So, as a good friend pointed out … why not call it “The Kung Fu Kid” instead? Well, after a little research I did manage to find out that the film is, indeed called “The Kung Fu Kid” internationally.**
Another twist is in how Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) teaches martial arts to Dre. In the original movie, Mr. Miyagi’s method of teaching Karate ranges from from waxing a car to painting a fence. This version does not have Dre being Mr. Han’s chore boy. Nope … instead, Mr Han teaches Kung Fu by having Dre take his jacket on and off.
I admit that when initially seeing the whole “Jacket On/Jacket Off” technique (as opposed “Wax On/Wax Off”), it appeared pretty lame, for lack of better words. But when put into context with the rest of the film, this method of teaching not only taught Dre Kung Fu, but it end up teaching him about respect.
Being a first generation Asian-American, that is the aspect of the film that spoke to me most. It was watching a kid from the new “Western World” try to integrate his life in the old “Eastern World.” There are many moments where we see Dre act like a typical American teenager; brash and arrogant, unaware of his surroundings. This attitude obviously would not be acceptable in China where tradition and elders (as evident by the multiple scenes of senior citizens exercising) are revered.
Mr. Han does an excellent job, albeit reluctantly, teaching Dre about the importance of respect in the Eastern World. He does it in the method in which he trains Dre in Kung Fu; because as Mr. Han says:
Kung Fu is in everything we do. It’s in the way we put on a jacket. It’s in how we treat people. Everything is Kung Fu.
In other words (or at least what I get out of it), if you respect everybody … everything in your surroundings … you, too could be a master of Kung Fu. You, too would be able to find balance between mind and body.
What I hope that most kids (and let’s face it, adults as well) get out of this movie is that there needs to be respect for everything; that we must treat people with the same respect that we would want in return. Whether it has to do with other cultures or religions … or with Mother Nature and our own planet … we should find that balance within ourselves.
When reaching the last few minutes in the movie, I couldn’t help but cheer Dre on as he moved through the tournament. And that last scene … otherwise known as “the crane kick” in the original movie? Well, listening to those 10-14 year old kids around us clap and cheer … it reminded me of that day, some 26 years ago, when Dr. Bro and I watched the original.
** And while I was at it, I managed to find that there was actually a Philippine TV show called “Kung Fu Kids“. Hmm … talk about coming around full circle!