Friday, March 28, 2008

Q&A Session

I have 3 questions, and I am going to go ahead and answer them.

Anonymous asked: Can you explain what a OHGWQ is?
A: OHGWQ stands for One Hundred Good Wishes Quilt. The best (and somewhat backed up) explanation for it I have found is this from here:
Many families adopting internationally from China create 100 Good Wishes Quilts, or Bai Jia Bei, for their children. In Mandarin, it's 百家被, which literally means 100 Family Quilt, or a quilt united by 100 families. The tradition originated in the northern part of China in Tianjin, which sits within China's Hebei Province, just south of Beijing. There are some reports that this custom is also fairly common within Hunan Province.
This provincial custom involves asking friends and family to contribute a patch of cloth with a wish for the baby. It's unclear as to whether the wish itself is symbolic or an actual physical note in China; however, the wishes are always written down within the China adoption community. Most of the patch of cloth goes into the quilt (bai jia bei) or a quilted coat (bai jia yi) for the baby. These patches are square, diamond or triangular in shape. A small section of the cloth patch goes into a memory book or chest, with the wish for the child written on paper and placed with the cloth square. The friend or family member will attach these two pieces together so that the child can later identify who gifted them with the cloth, and what the cloth represents to the giver. The quilt or coat contains the luck, energy and good wishes from all the families and friends who contributed pieces of fabric. The quilt is then passed down from generation to generation.
Some believe that the custom is rooted in attitudes resulting from the teachings of this proverb: "The more sufferings one endures, the better a person one becomes." Therefore, giving a child the newly-sewn but threadbare-in-appearance bai jia bei or bai jia yi expresses the notion that sufficient poverty, suffering and hard times have gone before, leaving this newcomer rightfully entitled to long life, prosperity and a generally easier go at things in life. The Chinese have long associated a mother's sewing or embroidery with love and good wishes, most probably because of the eighth century "
Poem of a Wandering Son" by Meng Jiao.
To learn more about this custom among the Chinese adoption community, check out the Yahoo! group
OHGWQ, "One Hundred Good Wishes Quilt," the quilting book "100 Good Wishes" by Tracy Sharpton and Elaina Fiedler, or the children's book "A Quilt of Wishes" by Teresa Orem Werner. You can also find a reference to this custom in the fictional book "Imperial Women" by Pearl S. Buck: "From the head of each of the highest one hundred families in the Empire, she required a bolt of the finest silk. From the silks she commanded the palace tailors to cut one hundred small pieces & from these make a robe for her child. Thus he belonged, by symbol, to 100 strong and noble families, and under their shelter, the gods would fear to harm him."

Stacey asked: What do you see yourself doing in ten years?
A: Hmm...toughie, as what I want my college major to be changes week by week. LOL. For a while now though, it has been photography/photojournalism. Honestly, I would love to work for National Geographic as a photojournalist. I just love being behind a camera. This week, I plan on majoring in anthropology, maybe double majoring with Classics or Journalism. In ten years, I hope to have a good job doing what I love, maybe working on graduate studies in something. I've also thought of social work. Maybe, ten years from now, when I'm 27, I'll have a kid. I don't know. I know I want kids, via adoption, but I don't know when. I do know I fully plan on being out of college with a bachelor's and having a good job before I even think of having kids.

Stacey's daughter asked: Which cat is your favorite and why?
A: Honestly, this is unanswerable. My cats are like my kids, for lack of a better anecdote, but that may be the best one. I love them all, equally. Yes, there are days where I wish they'd do something different, or weren't such a pain, or didn't have such bad habits. But I think that about Reese, too. They're all my favorites for different reasons. Chen Le is my "first born", born in our laundry room on Tax Day of 2004. She's distinctly my cat/"child", and honestly, we share a lot of the same traits, whether that's genetics, her being an "only child" for 2.5 years, or just because I was there from day 1. She's my baby, she has bad habits, which we're working on, but I wouldn't trade her for anything. She's the sweetest thing to me, although she generally dislikes Reese. She's a one-person cat, for the most part, but when she wants to be cuddly and lovey, she is, and it's wonderful. Elsie is a favorite because she's very cuddly. She knows when you don't feel well, and she'll snuggle with you. She also plays fetch. I say I have a calico retriever. She's just an all-around fun cat. Yeah, she does some things weird that I wish she wouldn't do, but hey, you can't expect perfection, even from a cat. She always sleeps with me. There's an Elsie-shaped spot on my pillow furthest from the wall. Chi-Chi is our saint-cat. She's a favorite because she's so sweet and tolerating. Reese can do nearly anything to her, and the most she'll get out of her is a displeased meow. Reese says she's "her Chi-Chi". I love the way Chi-Chi looks. She's so petite and has a little teardrop around her left eye. She likes to hide under the covers, and she is very rambunctious. Her and Elsie get along great, as they're sisters, I suppose. Chi-Chi really will tolerate just about anything Reese can do to her, and, as the smallest cat, is the easiest for Reese to tote around, which she does fairly often. Her bad habit is that you would swear she is still teething. She bites everything, but is particularly fond of anyone's fingers, but Reese's, thank God. So, they're all favorites, just for different reasons. I love them all, I want to strangle them all at times, but they're mine. And that's really matters.

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