Acts of kindness | Ann Mah

« | Home | »

Kindnesses and links to love

By Ann | December 20, 2012


Earlier this week, I had dinner with a friend who is a teacher. It was Monday, the first day of school after the Connecticut tragedy, and we talked a little bit about how the news had affected her class of sixth graders. She told us about the project she’d assigned: to perform 28 acts of kindness — one for each person lost — to record them on a list. As she talked, I realized that was something I, too, wanted to do, to honor life by spreading kindness, to keep a list to remember. Dear friends, will you join me? It can be the smallest gesture, like giving up your seat on the metro to someone who’s carrying a lot of bags, or holding the door for a dad pushing a stroller. It can be anonymous, like treating the person in line behind you at the coffee shop. It will probably take a few weeks to complete. I’ve already started my list and while I don’t plan on posting it here, I find myself thinking about it when I’m out, searching for opportunities to brighten someone else’s day.

Chers amis, I wish you a restful, peaceful week. And, if your holiday allows for some relaxing internet surfing, here are a few links to explore…

–Are you guys watching the TV soap, Nashville? This fall, I’ve fallen for its big hair, flashy costumes, whirlpool melodrama — and catchy country music. Even the New York Times agrees that the songs are “showstoppers.” All the performers are great, but the two real-life sisters who play Connie Britton’s young kids are amazing. They’re called Lennon and Maisy and they sing and play all their own music, like in this song from the show, or this awesome acapella and percussion number from their Youtube channel.

–As an avid reader of books about France written in English, I’m excited to learn about a new literary prize sponsored by the American Library in Paris.

–Have you ever wondered what book editors and publicists REALLY do?

–The Obamas’ dog, Bo, admires the White House Christmas decorations in this adorable video. Also, I loved watching the White House pastry chefs recreate the structure in white chocolate (though Bo is strangely absent…).

–I loved reading about the holiday traditions of Asian-American families in this blog post from Pat Tanumihardja, author of The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook. In my Chinese-American family, we always make sticky rice stuffing with chasiu, boiled peanuts and chestnuts. Yum!

–Speaking of  Pat and her blog, I was thrilled to chat with her about my first book, Kitchen Chinese, and share a recipe in this interview.

–And finally — one year (but not this year) I would like to make a bûche de Noël, the traditional French Christmas dessert. If you’re feeling up to the task, Saveur offers a step-by-step guide to creating a cake that resembles a log, decorated with meringue mushrooms. Or, if you’re lazy (like me) here are some pretty photos to admire.

As for me, I’m off to California tomorrow to spend Christmas with my family. I’ll check in while I’m there, but in the meantime I’m sending you wishes for love and peace.


Topics: In the news, Uncategorized | 13 Comments »

13 Responses to “Kindnesses and links to love”

  1. CK Says:
    December 20th, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Excellent idea on the 28 acts of kindness! Where is the top picture from?

  2. Kristin Says:
    December 20th, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Wonderful idea. Thinking up little (or big) kindnesses has the added advantage of taking the mind off one’s own worries. It’s good all around. Have a lovely time in CA, Ann, and may many kindnesses meet you along the way.

  3. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write) Says:
    December 20th, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    What a lovely post! Have a wonderful Christmas and I look forward to following along your adventures in 2013. I hope our paths cross again soon too! XO

  4. Bobbi Says:
    December 20th, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Merci Ann. We can all use more kindness whenever and wherever we can find it. I’m in. Peace to you and yours.

  5. Lindy Says:
    December 20th, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    thank you Ann, I think the 28 is a very thoughtful idea. We are far away but the whole world can be affected by such an evil act. I find myself smiling and greeting people in the street as I pass a bit more often (not a universally reciprocated act) and I’ve already started on my 28. One was to give a bottle of Gigondas and two pots of home made jam to our favourite Eurostar employee who is gracious and kind beyond the call of duty. That’s a start. Cherish your family this Christmas. And your lovely CK. Love Lindy

  6. Debbie Says:
    December 20th, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    LOVE the idea of acts of kindness – sad that our school here didn’t even talk about it much with the kids. Maybe I’ll suggest this as something to do on our own.
    Please say hello to my home state of California! Wish we were heading there also, but we’re staying here & spending Christmas in Paris this year…Happy Holidays!

  7. Lindsey Says:
    December 20th, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Really lovely idea, Ann! Enjoy your time with the family. Thinking of you!

  8. Emma Says:
    December 21st, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Wonderful idea for 28 kind acts! Such a sweet post Ann.

    I hope for a lovely Christmas to you and yours and all the lovely people who comment on here, I really enjoy visiting this site.

  9. Voie de Vie Says:
    December 21st, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    @CK – it’s definitely a French location – Notre Dame, peut-etre?

    I applaud your lunchtime conversation, Ann, as well as your resolve. My wish and hope is that we all start thinking more about kindness and let it become our default response, and less about other, unsavory acts. You do a pretty good job of that here on your blog.

    Have a great holiday!

  10. Sweet Freak Says:
    December 27th, 2012 at 4:40 am

    Yes, yes! I am joining the (secret) acts of kindness movement. I love that idea – thank you for sharing it and inspiring me.

    From California to Paris, I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season! xo

  11. Ann Says:
    December 28th, 2012 at 11:18 am

    CK — Thank you! The photo is from Notre-Dame de la Garde in Marseille.

    Kristi — I loved the post on your blog about your good-deed-doing. Happy new year to you and your sweet family, m’dear!

    Mardi — I’ve loved following your blog in 2012 and look forward to reading about your cooking and travel adventures in the New Year. Starting with SE Asia! :)

    Bobbi — And peace to YOU and yours. Especially in your new apartment!

    Lindy — Oh, I love your act of kindness — what a thoughtful gesture! Happy new year to you and your sweet husband and Arthur.

  12. Ann Says:
    December 28th, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Debbie — California missed you — it has been rainy and grey this holiday season — I think Paris got more sunshine!

    Lindsey — Thinking of you, m’dear, and hoping your visit home is lovely!

    Emma — I’ve loved discovering your site this year and look forward to more of your posts in 2013. Happiest of sunny new years to you!

    Voie de Vie — Aw, that is so sweet of you to say. I think you do a pretty good job yourself of spreading kind thoughts and acts around. Happy new year!

    Sweet Freak — Thanks, m’dear! I’m wishing you a sweet new year. xo

  13. thyme (sarah) Says:
    December 29th, 2012 at 4:16 am

    Have a wonderful time visiting with your family in California. I’ll go and read the article about the Asian/American Christmas traditions…that sounds so intriguing! See you in the new year Ann!

« | Home | »