This Summer – a recall on blue

I took my summer Sperrys out for a walk yesterday, wishing for sunshine. I searched for colors, saw two things I had never seen before, got rained on a little, and shared an overhang with a woman and her gorgeous handbag. While I take a few days to sort photos from our recent travels, I thought I’d share some sights of a Shenyang summer.

I choose not to include one of the dismal sky, preferring to remember the beautiful spring we experienced this year.  This year’s summer sky is one described best by Barbara Kingsolver in Flight Behavior.  She wrote, “Whoever was in charge of weather had put a recall on blue and nailed up this mess of dirty white sky like a lousy drywall job.”  Yes, just like that.

I will keep wishing for sunshine and searching for beautiful things.  Enjoy.

More summer shots on Instagram @thesimpleadventure, including a short clip from a local noodle shop.  This post is ipod pictures only.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gu Gong

Where was an Emperor to live with his Empress and 14 concubines during the Qing Dynasty?  A little place in the middle of Shenyang did nicely.

The Shenyang Imperial Palace (Gu Gong  沈阳故宫) is more than 60,000 square meters, 300 rooms, and home to 40,000 relics from the Qing Dynasty and other royal families.  The main buildings were constructed in 1625 when Nurhachi was in power.  The site was completed in 1644 under his son, Hong Taiji (also referred to as Huang Taiji).   Shortly after, the capital moved to Beijing, though Qing emperors spent some time in Shenyang every year.  Qianlong expanded the palace in 1780.  It has been well-preserved and was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2004 as an extension of the much larger and only other existing palace in China, the Forbidden City in Beijing.

On a recent visit, I was fortunate enough to see the dragon robes on display, learn more about the external chimneys as a part of the advanced heating system of the time, and see a performance of the royal wedding of Hong Taiji to his favorite concubine, Harjol.

“Actually, a pretty nice little Saturday.”

Short videos of the wedding performance show can be seen here. http://youtu.be/wv5ARlFCeTQ  For more details, click on the photos.

 

My Heart is Here

Last week, it was time for our annual cupcake decorating day at school.  This is a day when I bring in 5 dozen cupcakes, perfect frosting, and so many sugary decorations that the children either squeal or stop in their tracks when they see the options.  Then the delicate construction process begins.  The next day was our last day of school, and I never know how many will be back in the fall.  So I cherished every moment, and then, wait and see.

Four years volunteering in the same school, watching children grow up and mature right before my eyes, it is unbelievable.  I am so lucky they are a part of my simple adventure in life.

A piece of my heart will always be here, and here, and there, and with each and every one of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Outlook

After 4 years in 10D, we have a new view.  The diamond is slightly obstructed now, but look what we get in return.  A different skyline.  The 72 story Maoye building.  The gorgeous Kepu Park.  The tai qi ladies in their blue and red silks making their moves at 6am.  Kites flying in the library field.  At night, we can see the K lit up on the Kempinski Hotel 3km up Qingnian.  And 2km past that, that circle building with cranes sticking out the top.  So despite a new upstairs neighbor who wears high heels at home, and the feline issues with shifts in sunlight, all is well.

Call it a cultural experience.  When a couple gets married in China, it is the husband’s family that is responsible for a place to live, maybe a car, the wedding, etc.  More than a year ago, our landlord’s son got married.  With their baby on the way, the landlord will give our old apartment to his son and daughter in law, and the soon-to-be grandchild.   They were apologetic and appreciated our care of the old place.  They wished us well, and were happy to know we would stay in the neighborhood.  In fact, we now live in the same building as the landlord’s mother.  Maybe she is one of those tai qi ladies?

A new view or a new outlook are sometimes forced upon us.  Sometimes, we have to find a new place to sleep in the sun.  We could look at it as a pain the ass, or we can just accept it, deal with it, do it.  And who knows what we might get in return.

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Luyuan

The auction lot.  The Red Barn.  The Jockey Lot.  Salins.  Gambetta.  The one on US1.  Panjiayuan.  That street leading from one temple to another in Bangkok.  And Luyuan.  These are some of the lovely flea markets I’ve had the pleasure of perusing over the years.  I don’t think I’m going to find the missing Renior or a priceless coin.  I like to look.

I can’t remember if I ever bought anything at the ones when I was a kid.  Any coins my sister and I had were always spent at the snack booth.

The Jockey Lot is like an immersion course in southern culture.

At Salins, we wandered, but the only thing I remember buying those Sundays were the roast chickens on the way home.  Mmmm, 20 roasting chickens with the juices dripping all over the potatoes along the bottom of the rack.  Nirvana.

At US1, I bought one of those blue glass insulators that used to connect power lines.  I put it on my window sill in Lexington and smiled when the sun shined through it.

I will visit Panjiayuan again at some point.  Where else am I going to buy my giant Happy Buddha?  Maybe along that street near Wat Pho.

And at Luyuan in Shenyang, I have purchased very few things, a lucky pig and a slingshot among them.  I go to wander, to look, to see, to wonder, to laugh.  We go and are stared at, talked about, asked questions of, wondered about, laughed at.  Come to think of it, I think they did that at the Jockey Lot too.

Enjoy the pictures from the ipod – a little grainy in the enlarged version, but enlightening just the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Thousand Elephants

There is a shopping mall in Shenyang called Wan Xiang Cheng.  The wan xiang means 10,000 Elephants … No wonder I like the place.  They are currently displaying gorgeous and decorative little hati.  It is a promotion for all the stores in the mall.  Mont Blanc on an elephant is a beautiful thing.  Big smiles and lots of photos.  Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Pink Bike has Mud Flaps

Is it mudflaps or mud flaps?  Either way, my new pink bike has them.  And I took them out for a spin along the Hun River when spring was showing its first beautiful signs a couple of weeks ago.  When we experience days like this, we must take advantage!

The Hun He (Hun River), previously known as the Shen River, gave the city its name.  Before urban sprawl, the city was on the north side of the river, the yang side, hence Shenyang.   (I wonder what they would have considered urban sprawl 7,200 years ago when the first residents came to this spot.)  Though there is much talk about the river’s pollution from industrial run-off, the government has done a great job making a green beltway as a hub for many recreational activities.  This includes my 12 km mudflap test ride.  Enjoy some pics and a moment of zen.  http://youtu.be/VSHov1z2Uyk

Celebrations

All over the world, people love to celebrate with food.  So that is how we welcomed the Year of the Horse in China.  We are so thankful for old friends and new ones for making this Spring Festival festive and delicious.  May the food be plentiful, the red envelopes be full, and the fireworks and red colors drive the evil nian monster away.

Guo Nian Hao!

Since moving to China, we have seen the Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, and now, the Horse.  Next year, the Sheep.  And we may have to visit in 2019 for our birth animal, the lucky Pig.  To learn about the year you were born, check out this link:  http://www.chinesenewyears.info/chinese-new-year-calendar.php