Tuesday, October 11, 2011

No School in Pittsburgh

This series of blogposts is meant to document the Lim's family's memory of the time we spent in Pittsburgh. In this blogpost, I asked my boys of the things that etched in their memory.

The boys were in unison on "no school in Pittsburgh". I supposed for me, it was "no work in Pittsburgh". Hmm, so what did we do there?

The Elite Fly Swat

My elder boy remembered the time when we became the elite fly swat team. We were staying at a rental house at Wellesley Road near Highland Park. It was the lodging sourced by my hubby who arrived at Pittsburgh two months or so earlier. During that time, he had also bought a second-hand car, Chervolet 3.0-litre, silver salon.

A house near our rented place at Wellesley Road

We arrived in Pittsburgh in around May/June of the year. It was the sweltering summer. The curosity act on the part of my elder boy who swung open the back door a tad too long created the perfect opportunity for the gigantic summer fly into the house. The unwelcomed guest was buzzing around my head ever so often.

Armed with a folded newspaper, P and I sat in the middle of the living room and waited patiently to strike at the fly. Alas, the fly while big and dense, was swift. After a few unsuccessful attempts, I decided to close the partition door that would subdivide the living room into two. It would reduce the area which the fly could maneuvor. And voila, the fly was squashed.

This was my first and most unforgetable job as a stay-at-home mother. In a sense, count P in as well as this incident was on the top of his mind.

The Little Snow Man

My younger boy, R was barely two when he was in Pittsburgh. Understandably, his memory was hazy and became more concrete towards the latter part of our stay. He remembered our first snow man.

For the uninitiated, the first day of snow was not suitable to make snow man. It took a few days before the snow became more compact and dough-like. This was the snow that one could play with.

Winter in Pittsburgh

We made our little snow ball by cupping two snow balls - the big one as the body and the small one was the head. The eyes were made of fallen black seeds and the twigs formed the nose and hands. Before all things eco became trendy, we were already embracing it. I supposed you could say that we were trendsetters.

Oh yes, another thing about snow which I learnt was salt could melt ice. I would see my landlord dusting salt on sidwalks. There is the logic. The salt works by lowering the melting or freezing point of water. The effect is termed 'freezing point depression'. So add salt with water to snow, it will become more difficult for the snow to re-freeze with salt. That's textbook science coming alive for us.

Learning without School

On the whole, while there was no school or work in Pittsburgh, we were still learning as long as we opened our eyes, our ears and most importantly our minds. At times, I would be reading my hubby's postgraduate notes with thoughts racing through my mind. There were many others who might have gone through university to learn only to forget after the university. To them, the degree is the end. But learning should be a life journey.

The things that I learnt in Pittsburgh are more precious than what I have learnt in my former school years. It is not about knowing more things but about being inquisitive. Does that mean I will be rich? No in terms of material wealth, but a resounding yes, in terms of happiness and yes, living my life, my way.

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