Inside the Diamond

My friend, Iris, has given me three incredibly memorable Shenyang experiences.  First and foremost, in 2010, she introduced me to a new school full of amazing Chinese people.  Five years later, I am still volunteering there.  Second, she invited me to visit her friend’s tea shop where I learned more about tea in two hours than at any other point in my life.  Most recently, Iris told me about a photo contest going on at what is affectionately called the Diamond building.  For one afternoon, they opened up the Shengjing Grand Theatre for photos inside.  The promotion for the contest was exclusively in Chinese.  Being an educated illiterate in this country, I would have never known about it if Iris didn’t encourage me to go.

Many times, I’d seen the sun and skyline reflected in the mirrored facade.  I had never thought about what it would be like, feel like, inside.  It took my breath away how the light and shadow came alive, like we were breathing them in. Oh, and the design, the architecture, the consistency of it all … there were facets and angles everywhere.

Yes, it had some odd design elements, as one might expect in China, but many diamonds have flaws.  They remain beautiful and unique.  Shenyang’s diamond is just that.  Enjoy.

Pack It Up, Pack It In, Let Me Begin

It isn’t a beginning, just a bonne continuation!  After more than five years in Shenyang, we will soon be packing it up and in, and moving on to the next part of our simple adventure.  In August, we will be making our lives in South Carolina again.

In honor of the sorting, saving, tossing and packing that will happen over the next couple of months, we present some images, and their informative, somewhat sarcastic descriptions, of the Shenyang moving methods.  Enjoy these not so random photos that we’ve seen over the years in this big city.  Not to worry – I’m sure Asian Tigers will take our move in a slightly different direction.

There will be other posts/diatribes about the move and our experiences, perhaps to include a short synopsis of ordering rabies vaccine on Taobao because the government vet office wouldn’t give us the vial label for the health certificates, and a list of possible reasons why T insists on keeping said rabies in our refrigerator long after their labels have been put to use.  I think you can also expect to read a list of what we will miss (i.e., so many beautiful people) and will not miss (i.e., why does my bathroom always smell like cabbage?).

Change is not a bad thing, just difficult sometimes.  I am comforted knowing there are smiling faces and beautiful places all over the world.  We are lucky to know so many.  See you on the flip side.

For our original 2011 post on the incredible ways they move stuff in Shenyang, check out Push, Pedal, Pull.

To revisit the Irish heritage in rap music’s 1992 hit, “Jump Around” by House of Pain, click here.

Chicago

Last month, I was back in the U.S. for about a week.  I spent time with my independent eighty-six year old Mom.  I saw friends I’ve loved for more than twenty years.  I lit piles of stuff on fire with my brother.  I enjoyed blue skies and a warm afternoon stop at the local dairy bar.  And I had the privilege to travel to the fabulous city of Chicago with three teenagers (two nieces and a nephew).

We made a museum tour, tried some excellent pizza (at my favorite, Gino’s East), ate plenty of other great food, enjoyed that gorgeous skyline and the bluest skies, and learned a little more about each other.  Such a lovely trip.  Enjoy some pictures.

Take Five

This time of year, I usually write a post about the changes on our familiar skyline.  The beautiful diamond building showing progress year to year.  That diamond now plays host to concerts and shows, a far cry from the hole in the ground it was a few years ago.

Last May, we moved from that south & east facing apartment with the diamond view.  We got a new outlook on life and on Shenyang.  My favorite daily view is the Ke Pu Science Park.  It is a wonder, a living thing that moves and changes every hour of every day.  Tai qi, basketball, ping pong, balloons, pond life, walkers and exercisers, kite flyers, dancing clubs and walking clubs, bird statues that light up at night …  Public parks all over China are a wonder.

Here are some recent shots of our views in Shenyang, plus one more recent sunrise in the Instagram feed to the left.  Enjoy.

 

 

Beijing, again and again

There was a trip to Beijing in March.  In addition to our spectacular morning at Panjiayuan, we also ventured to 798 Art District, Lama Temple, and the Drum Tower.  Wow!  I love an exhausting day of walking and discovering in a big city.

Enjoy.

Oh, You Are Lovely

Panjiayuan is a fantastic spot in Beijing.  I love it.  I love looking and talking and not understanding half the conversation.  I love it when they courteously compliment my negotiating skills when they still have made money off this foreigner.  I love not knowing what everything is, like a lot of places I go in China.  This visit to Panjiayuan, I thoroughly enjoyed with a fellow pottery/porcelain/curiosity lover.  We looked – we asked – we wondered – we loved – we bought – we love.  Thank you, S, for a morning memory I will carry with me a very long time.  Enjoy.

So Many Things

I’ve written about Luyuan Market before.  It is always such an interesting experience, with so many things to see.  I love asking, “what is that?” and not knowing the answer.  I love thinking of those people long ago who belonged to those shoes, that jacket, that bowl.  We think of who wrote that scroll and who read it.  Who will read it still?  We think of who will buy that tiny wooden cage for a cricket.  I don’t suppose I shall ever know.

I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair

I sit beside the fire and think
Of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring
That I shall ever see

For still there are so many things
That I have never seen
In every wood in every spring
There is a different green

I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago
And people that will see a world
That I shall never know

But all the while I sit and think
Of times there were before
I listen for returning feet
And voices at the door

J.R.R. Tolkien

Thank you, Tolkien.  Enjoy.