I take secret pleasure in personality studies and character analysis. My tool is conversation. I delight in intellectual discussions. Especially the kind that delves into deep thought about ideas and ideals. Generally, the talk revolves around abstracts. Not sure exactly if that’s a pattern chosen to stay on the safe side of deliberations. But when the shift turns to exploring one’s inner self and attitudes, revelatory of one’s inclinations and preferences, it sparks wonder and amazement at how much lies behind a face, a behavior and actions – whether of one’s self or someone else’s. At this stage of the casual discourse, the likelihood of jumping into specifics is hard to ignore, and a dynamic shift occurs in the intellectual exercise.
Animated conversation stirs up energy in any gathering. The party in my home last Sunday was full of zest, not to mention two 4-year-old girls and one 2-year-old boy romping up and down the stairs and dodging between chairs. It was a lovely chaos, the kind that makes you feel you’re in a fiesta or a rigorous birthday celebration without a singular celebrant. We were all celebrants, loudly exchanging notes on how we cooked our potluck dish, and urging everyone to pick a portion of our delicacy on to their plate. The buffet spread was enormous and impressive, and before anyone could touch any of the items on the food line, cameras busily clicked. I still am waiting for copies to be sent to me.
Four languages were represented in this gathering: Chinese, Japanese, Tagalog and English. I didn’t mind at all that Chinese was predominant in conversations. After all, majority were Chinese. And being usually active in the exchange and interaction, this Lola often steered the conversation to English which to a few, was a bit of a struggle. For those few, cell phones clicked open for English words to complete the sentences. Funny, the English speakers were saintly patient. We wanted to hear those full sentences. And ah — such victory when they were completed. Somehow, we all understood one another – but importantly, it was enough that everyone was clearly having a great time. Even the children were having a blast in their spontaneous squabbles.
A sumptuous musical treat right in my living room
Right now, I’m listening to a Japanese friend practicing with her friend Schubert Serenade, a piano-violin duet. Lovely! Brings back memories of my father singing the lyrics in his rich baritone voice. Though I’ve heard this music practiced for the nth time, I don’t tire of it. I can almost picture the flats and sharps on the music score. But what I particularly appreciate is noting the blossoming of expression in their collaborative musical interpretation. What I look forward to is their playing in full length Elgar’s Salut d’Amour which the two musicians have been learning the past weeks. Since they practice in my living room, I get to be the all-too-willing audience. And as they grow in their familiarity with the piece, I grow in my appreciation of the musicians’ pain (or occasional frustration) as they struggle to perfect a classic meant only to be performed with utmost sensitivity and skill.