Portrait by Tao Nguyen

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


What does Anna Chow do when she’s alone? When Wu is at work and their sons Dennis and William are at school what has she been up to? Recently, she’s become involved in a secret activity, something that gives her a feeling of satisfaction. It’s not that being a wife and mother aren’t rewarding in their own way. But Anna’s life had become too boring and routine; she needed something to do just for her—something to nurture her soul, something that took her beyond the mundane chores of mothering and laundry, preparing meals and doing dishes.

Her friends have often remarked (with envy) how great Wu is. He’s the whole package—handsome, successful, totally devoted to her and the boys, and sensitive to her emotional needs. Even so, it just wasn’t enough and something was lacking. After mulling this over for weeks with the need inside her growing to do something, anything, to shatter the boredom, she enrolled in a Tai Chi fan class. There, she met other women, wives and mothers who shared her feelings and understood where she was coming from. The class was an activity where they could spend time outside the house with newly formed friends, and get good exercise, too.

The Chinese dancing fan, Mai Ogi, dates back to the 7th century. Today, it’s an important cultural symbol originally introduced by Japan that became fashionable during the Ming dynasty (between 1368 and 1644). The folding fan, shànzi, consists of 10 slats made from bone, mica, mother of pearl, sandalwood or tortoise shell, covered with paper or fabric painted with a family crest. Fan dances tell stories and are visually beautiful. They look as graceful as a traditional ballet and like ballet, require skill, practice, strength and control.

Having a secret from Wu gives Anna’s life a little “something extra.” Someday she’ll share her secret with him when her dance troupe puts on a performance. She’ll want him and the boys to come but until then, if by chance you run into Wu at Good Fortune restaurant or perhaps strolling downtown while running errands, please don’t let on I told you what Anna’s been up to. Let’s keep that between us!

Leslie Bratspis, Author
Good Fortune


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