The next list brings me to the topic of a thoughtful gift I’ve received. This was a fairly easy topic to write about, but I had to decide between two thoughtful gifts I’ve received in my life that each hold extremely special meaning. Should I rehash my sentimental story about the white handkerchief (named Tom Hanks-erchief) my dad gave me again? Or should I tell you all about my other sentimental object that also has significant meaning & value in my heart/life? Let’s talk about the latter item, shall we?
Let me begin this blog with a little background information about myself. I’m not much of a jewelry wearing type of person. That’s not to say I don’t wear jewelry at all, but I’m just not the type of person who has to wear jewelry every single day, or have sets of jewelry to match my outfits. I do, though, have a couple of pieces of jewelry that I wear on formal/special occasions, like weddings & dressed-up parties.
I do have a few select pieces of jewelry that I wear on a daily basis, like the platinum & diamond ring Jian gave me for that finger on my left hand, & my grandma’s personal (& custom made) jade bracelet, which has now become too small/tight on my fat wrist. Hey, it was already a challenge to get the bracelet on in the first place. I had two bruises on my hand after I had the bracelet put on, & I’ve gained a bit of weight since I have matured from my early twenties (where I used to be able to wear extra small sized clothing & eat whatever junk I wanted with no immediate consequences).
The one piece of jewelry, however, that holds the most significant meaning in my life. I have a necklace that I wear on a nearly daily basis (except when I’m wearing formal jewelry). I have had this necklace since I was a little girl, approximately 9 or 10 years old. It was given to me by my maternal grandmother, whom I was extremely close to. (Side note: I have kept nearly every gift my grandmother has given me throughout my life.)
My maternal grandma was one of the most badass persons I have ever personally known, with an Elizabeth Taylor-esque jewelry collection, of course. Like Mz. Taylor herself, my grandmother had a lot of her personal jewelry custom made. I vividly recall one of my most memorable trips with my grandmother was when she took my mom & I on a special trip to Hong Kong. We were there to visit old family friends & former colleagues of my grandmother’s, but we were also there to pick up some custom made jewelry she had purchased, & while we were waiting at the jewelry shop, she casually asked me to pick out a little trinket/charm to put on a necklace chain.
I remember thinking to myself that I shouldn’t pick anything too outrageous, & I was too shy in accepting my grandmother’s enormous generosity. So I ended up choosing a simple gold key. I’m not sure why or how this key stood out amongst all of the other pretty charms, but it was the first design to catch my attention. Of course, my grandma
not-so playfully laughed at my overly-simplistic choice (she would’ve chosen something more flashy/substantial for herself), but she bought it for me anyway. I was so incredibly grateful that my grandma would go out of her way to gift me this beautiful, albeit tiny, piece of jewelry. Since that day, I’ve taken considerable care of this charm, cherishing it as well as the memory forever tied to it.
A couple of years later since that special day in Hong Kong, my mom surprised me with another charm to add to my necklace. She had just finished going on an outing in our city’s Chinatown with her dad, my maternal grandfather (who had long since been divorced from my grandmother). She passed by a local jeweler who was having a flash sale at his jewelry stand, so she decided to pick out a few items, & she stumbled upon a pretty jade charm that she thought would match well on my necklace.
The jade charm doesn’t really have a distinct carved design. Many have studied it, but could not decipher what it’s supposed to look like. I’ve come to the conclusion that the charm is supposed to resemble a rock with clouds swirling around the top & a flower with a single leaf at the bottom corner. With all of the swirled carvings around the majority of the jade, you can’t really tell what the main shape is supposed to be, but you can distinctly see the carved flower at the bottom left corner.
Whoever carved this charm was extremely clever in choosing to carve the flower in the lone green spot on the piece of jade they used to make this charm. Chinese mythology/superstition believes that as your good fortune/good luck increases, the green part of your jade jewelry will become brighter. I don’t think this superstition has any factual merit behind it, but it’s a fun anecdote to pass around & share with your friends for a bit of good humor.
Lastly, I have one more charm left to talk about on my necklace. This charm holds the most significant meaning to me because my second brother gifted this to me on my & Jian’s special day. My brother is not the type of person to gift someone such a personal & extravagant gift such as this, except for immediate family members (i.e. my mom, my sister, & my sister’s kids) & one of our younger cousins who has a unique brother-sister relationship with my brother…since she doesn’t have any brothers of her own, only sisters.
Ever since I was a little kid, my brother always got me super cool presents for my birthday & Christmas. He always knew what I liked & got me all of the fun stuff, like the newest toys I wanted, or the latest fashion trend. My brother, although he was so much older than me, always cared for me & treated me like I was his favorite little sister (even though he had one
annoying middle sister, & another even younger half-sister from his dad’s side of the family).
I was extremely touched when he gifted me this incredible Oriental red envelope charm on my big special day. To be honest, I didn’t even know these types of necklace charms existed outside of Asian jewelry shops. It was absolutely fitting to receive such an item on that special day, a day where red envelopes are the most appropriate gift to give. Plus, I thought it was so clever & funny to show off how “Asian” our family really are.
This necklace charm that my brother got for me came from Tiffany’s. It’s well detailed, right down to the envelope flaps on the back of the charm, & the front has the simplified Chinese character for the word “lucky” (?). All in all, it’s a very simple, yet meaningful charm. This charm originally came on an existing necklace chain that was too tight fitting for my neck. At first, I didn’t even think to transfer the charm to my other necklace with the jade & key charms, so I had carefully stored this charm away in my jewelry box.
It wasn’t until this past Lunar New Year’s celebration that I finally decided to take out this charm & wear it on my necklace. In our household, my mom has convinced us all to follow the Chinese mythology/superstition that one must wear something red on their body everyday for the entire year if that year coincides with their Chinese zodiac animal.
With this superstition/myth, it is said that if the new year coincides with one’s zodiac animal, then that person may either face a very difficult year or a very prosperous year. However, if you wear something red every day during that year (i.e. bracelet, nail polish, article of clothing), it will help to ward of any negative energy/bad mojo…but the item has to either be completely red or mostly red. Also according to this superstition/myth, red underwear is the best defense against negative energies/bad mojo. I’m not kidding. I had to wear red underwear everyday for a year once. It’s not as hard to do as one might think. Just head over to your nearest Target or TJ Maxx & snap up a six-pack of cheap red skivvies.
This year just happens to coincide with Jian’s Chinese zodiac animal. So far, everyday he’s been wearing a red bracelet along with the many pairs of red “manties” (a.k.a. man panties) I got him from UNIQLO for Christmas. Although this isn’t my zodiac animal’s year, I have also decided to wear something red, alas my red envelope necklace charm, for the whole year, just to keep any negative energies away.
So far, things have been looking good this year, & both of us are going to continue on this path of warding off any bad mojo as best as we can. We shall see how the remainder of the year plays out for us. So, until the next blog…cheers!
Today’s song of the day: