My mother-in-law died last Sunday, age 92. She had a good life, rich in family and friends, though not without its sorrows. Marijke was widowed at the age of 39 and left to raise 5 children under the age of 12. She did it all on her own and she did a pretty good job. None of her children went to jail. All of them graduated from college, started careers and had families of their own.
Marijke was the heart of every family meal and there were lots of them. Christmas, Easter, birthdays and anniversaries. A six-course meal was not uncommon. She cooked it all herself, refusing to accept any help in the kitchen (I tried) and could hardly sit still long enough to finish her own plate.
My kids called her Omi. They loved staying with her. There was the garden where this Madonna once hung, board games for rainy days and an endless supply of gum drops. My children were lucky to know their grandmother when she was still willing to kick a soccer ball.
From the very start, she accepted me - a Chinese-American lawyer from Los Angeles - as her daughter-in-law. She convinced me that Holland could be my home. Rest in peace.
In other news:
For those of you stuck on the other side of the pond, I have consolation of sorts for you. This week's blog post, #RiceBunny, has nothing to do with Easter in Shanghai. It's a phenomenon of the Chinese web though it may not be for much longer.
- Since the publication of my article The Low Countries on Global Voices, it's been translated and republished in Chinese (traditional and simplified), Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Malagasay and Spanish!
- Starting April 10, you can also find me at Authors Electric where I am now a regular contributor. There you'll find my craft essays.
- If you want to see me live, come to the Spring Reading of the International Writers' Collective on April 20. The reading is here in Amsterdam at Boekhandel van Rossum at 8pm where you'll hear students and faculty read new work.