Reviewed: No Chopsticks Required

No Chopsticks RequiredNo Chopsticks Required by Katrina Beikoff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book completely surprised me and left me a bit shocked. It is the account of the authors year in Shanghai and what she experienced.

I thought it was a great read to get an idea on life in China has a foreigner and the roadblocks that can get in the way. It made me really a bit scared of ever gong or living there. Everything is so strict and children appear to be treated like robots.

One disappointment was the author, I got more and more frustrated that she lived there a year and didn’t appear to try and pick up the language. Her kids (2 and 4) were needed to translate for her! I just feel like if you’re going to live in a country where you don’t speak the language you need to actually give it a try instead of complaining about the language barrier every 5 pages.

It could have been more interesting and I think it might have been if they were able to integrate with the locals more but overall it was quite an enjoyable read.

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Reviewed: Jane Eyre

Jane EyreJane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the style of this book. I was concerned that given the time period it was written in it would be hard to understand and I’d have to read each page 5 times to understand what was happening. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do that… although Jane did tend to ramble on occasion and I felt like skipping parts.

I loved the beginning of this book, of learning about Jane and all the trials she had to get through but eventually everything started getting a bit unreal. I found myself enjoying the book but finding it a little too unbelievable. Some of the events were so unlikely that I couldn’t imagine even one of them happening to someone let alone someone having all of them happen to her.

I would definitely read this again but I won’t take it as seriously.

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I don’t feel guilty

My Mum still hasn’t talked to me since the Memorial issue. She emailed me a few days ago about a car she bought me (when I told her I specifically didn’t want it) but nothing further. I’m not really sure what she wants from me and right now I really don’t care. I don’t feel guilty at all. I did what was right for me in the situation.

In fact, I’m a little angry. It is somewhat unrelated and old news but I have been thinking about my childhood and her (and my Dad’s) input. It all started with overhearing someones conversation on the bus one morning. These parents did everything for their kids. They scheduled all their sports (3 kids per parent) and drove them each week. Not only that, but they volunteered for these organisations and teams. One of the kids really wanted to join the scouts but the Dad was concerned about the reputation scouts had at the time but rather than saying no to her instead he joined the scouts to as a leader!

I look back at my childhood and I only recall my parents doing these types of things very rarely. I don’t ever remember them volunteering for anything (especially if it was on a weekend) or encouraging me to try new sports and hobbies. In fact, most of my weekends I’d leave the house at 8am to go play with my friends and usually be fed breakfast by their parents because mine wouldn’t get out of bed for another 3 or 4 hours and even then, would have been severely hung over. Overall, they were too absorbed in themselves.

It makes me wonder what my life could have been like and what would have happened differently. Where would I be now if my parents encouraged me to play soccer, or do athletics or gymnastics at the age of 6. What if they took more interest in my school life and helped me out with assignments and homework? What if they took the time to push me?

I recall a time when my Mum did help me with assignments but it was limited to a few years in primary school. There was a time when they joined me up for scouts and let me join the school band but this spanned over about 2 or 3 years and no more. 19 years I lived with them and the only time I recall them taking an active interest in me was between the ages of 10 and 12.

I feel like they made me miss out on experiences in life that may have changed who I am completely. Maybe I would have had more friends, maybe I wouldn’t be overweight, maybe I’d be more active. Who knows? No one, but it would have been nice if they had actually made the effort to learn more about me.