I love putting together these little digital souvenirs of my travels. Enjoy!
I saw the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” the other day. Bravo! It was so powerful to see an all-asian cast for the first time on the big screen. I applaud the movie– so fun, poignant and engaging! Plus, the soundtrack was just plain awesome.
At one point near the end of the movie, Eleanor Young, the mother and matriarch of the family, says something that struck me. She is from Singapore, and she is speaking to her son’s girlfriend Rachel, a Chinese woman who was born and raised in America. She says, “All Americans think about is their own happiness. It is an illusion.”
This moment demonstrates the huge difference between the two women’s cultures. Eleanor believes one must put family above all else– career, romance, etc. Happiness is not the top priority on that list. She does not believe the young Rachel will ever be able to make those sacrifices because she was born and raised in a culture that preaches happiness above all else.
What do you think? I am reminded of this quote by Hugh MacKay:
I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that—I don’t mind people being happy—but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down three things that made you happy today before you go to sleep” and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position. It’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say, “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness.” Ask yourself, “Is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.
—Hugh MacKay, author of The Good Life
I don’t know about you, but my darkest days taught me more than all my happiest days combines. And while I am tempted to say I am happy right now in life, perhaps I should really say I am feeling whole right now.
I’m curious, what is your take on this topic?
P.s. Photo from here
Here’s a little video I made of my Osterferien, or Easter Break. I return home to Germany in a few days, so I wanted to capture these sweet memories. Enjoy!
I stalked everyone like a crazy paparazzi this break, which resulted in this little Thanksgiving film! Even though they were probably annoyed with my incessant filming, I think they are ultimately grateful to have these special moments captured in perpetuity. I hope you enjoy!
When the new Disney animated movie Zootopia first came out, I shrugged it off as another mindless kids movie I had no desire to spend money on. Besides, I was still recovering from the “Frozen” craze that swept the nation. But when my eighteen year old brother came home saying it was one of the best movies he’d seen in ages and that it empowered him to achieve his dreams, I decided I needed to give it a chance. It isn’t every day you hear a teenage boy talk about anything with enthusiasm, let alone an animated movie!
Zootopia is set in a world where animals have transcended their predator-prey dichotomy and now live together in relative harmony. Judy Hopps is an intrepid rabbit with dreams of becoming a cop, a profession no bunny has ever entered because of their small size and prey-status. She longs to trade in her small town farm life for that of the big city. After much struggle and hard work, Judy proves the nay-sayers wrong and graduates from the police academy at the top of her class. She soon starts work on the force in the sprawling metropolis of Zootopia, but experiences still more prejudice when she is assigned to parking-ticket duty instead of a real case.
While writing tickets, Judy meets the sly fox Nick, a notorious hustler and world-weary cynic. She coerces him into helping her crack the case of the fourteen missing mammals, despite her boss’s protests. Together with his street smarts and her detective skills, they are led on a wild goose chase to discover the truth and wind up becoming unlikely friends in the process.
Though this plot line sounds simple enough, it is actually chalk full of deeper meaning from beginning to end. By now, we’ve seen so many animal movies that we are familiar with each animal’s ‘stereotype’– the slow sloth, the fierce lion, the dumb sheep. Makers of “Zootopia” wanted to both play into these stereotypes and break them at the same time. According to film director Rich Moore in a recent LA Times review, “So maybe in the world of Zootopia it should be that sometimes they are cliche, sometimes they aren’t. That gives us that gray that better reflects our world. It makes Judy’s struggle and journey more authentic. Are we just who we’re born to be or do we have control over our destiny?” The message is clear: although you may be born a certain way or viewed by the world in a certain light, you can overcome anything to achieve your dreams.
When Judy and Nick eventually discover the missing mammals, they find that they’ve all ‘gone savage.’ They have seemingly returned to their predatory nature and are now unsafe to be around. Judy jumps to false conclusions, announcing that they were simply reverting to their biological instincts. In reality, the politicians injected them with a savage serum in order to spread fear among the public and maintain their political power.
At a time when society is grappling with huge issues like discrimination, racism, sexism, and pervasive mistrust (to name a few) this movie spoke directly to my heart. It was a reminder that no one deserves to be judged prematurely and that kindness is always a better alternative to fear or hatred. Everyone needs to see Zootopia, regardless of their age. Not only will you enjoy it, what with its colorful sets and incredibly relevant humor, but you will leave thinking about the big, important questions it raises. Plus, who doesn’t find bunnies adorable this time of year?!
Hey friends! It’s been too long.
How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was one for the books. My immediate family and I flew to Nashville last Saturday to spend the week with my extended family. Our clan is spread out through all ages, but right now we have six little kids under the age of five! As you can guess, this makes for ample amounts of fun and equal amounts of chaos. I adore spending quality time with them and watching them grow up year by year. I was blown away by the difference one year can make. It is truly a special experience. This year, we decided to dress the little girls up as pilgrims, straight off the Mayflower. America is in good hands with them! Be sure to watch this little film I made above to see their cuteness in real time.
Have a good one friends, and if you find yourself stressed out, just remember that Christmas is right around the corner.
P.s. More Nashville Thanksgiving posts to follow soon.