Years ago, I posted about my daily walk in Shenyang. I made that walk so often going to Chinese class and the gym. My view is different now that we’re back in South Carolina. I still think of that vined archway that isn’t there anymore, the guitarist playing for small bills in the tunnel under Qingnian Dajie, and the way the buildings tower above. I miss it.
Within a week back in the US, my friend D told me that I would grow tired of the question, “Are you glad to be back?” Well, of course we are. We’re glad to be back in a country where we can read everything and understand. We’re more capable of navigating the politics and bullshit. But people don’t ask that question in the same way we answer it. People ask as though it’s a comparison. “Glad” to be back here rather than still in Shenyang, as though the last five and a half years were tragic somehow. A hardship. And being back is better. It’s difficult to be with people who don’t think about or appreciate our life there, and that we miss it from time to time. But at least some people ask something.
This is part of culture shock. Or maybe it’s just part of every day life. Folks go on about their business. Maybe they ask questions so they can answer it themselves. Or they ask questions about only that which they know. Many just live their lives in a state of comparison.
I’d rather live this life than that life. I’d rather be a country mouse than a city mouse. I’d rather be like me than be like her. Well, you know what? I’d rather Daniel Craig acknowledge that he is my secret boyfriend. I’d rather peanut M&M’s were actually good for you. I’d rather be sure that Glenn is still alive.
So, yes, I am glad to be in the United States, where life in Smalltown, America is pretty darn good. I am glad that my morning walks are highlighted by blue skies and red brick. I am happy to drive my little car down highway 29 every morning, saying hello to the cows on my way to work.
But I would be happy there too. It isn’t a question of rather.
Blue and Red
Old and Red
Sign on the Door
On the Corner
Yeah that sky
Ace is the place
For my first post since moving back to South Carolina, I take to the outdoors. We had heard a lot about the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, and I took a field trip to check it out.
I started at the grocery-cafe near Old Buncombe Road and walked in a northerly direction to Sulphur Springs Road. This is about two miles one-way. I saw plenty of other walkers, runners and bikers on a beautiful morning under a perfectly blue sky. I would imagine that Saturdays and Sundays are busy on the trail, but on this morning, it was calm and quiet. There were times when I couldn’t see anyone in front of or behind me. And it is a beautiful place to be alone with your running, your breath and your thoughts.
I think this trail is a year round spot for those interested. That includes me. It is a beautiful location in Upstate, South Carolina. Enjoy.
Bikes and Light
Swamp Rabbit Skyscrapers
Look Both Ways
Swamp Rabbit Station
Hello hello h e l l o
A Bit of History
A Bridge Not So Far
Stop and Smell
To take a look at how the Swamp Rabbit Trail meanders along the Reedy River in Greenville SC, just GoogleMap “Swamp Rabbit Trail”.
Greenville County PRT has a good bit of information too, including maps, descriptions and photos. Click the link to visit their website. Take a look at the info on TrailLink too.
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.
And that yellow
Those little people
I love a blue sky. On a recent trip to Beijing, we were lucky enough to have a few days, including one on the Great Wall. Living in China, or anywhere, one must appreciate the blue sky when you’ve got it. #gooutside Enjoy.
A Few More
That blue sky
The Great Wall
Haircut, two bits
Check this or this to see how pollution is effecting China. For a different perspective on Blue Sky, check out this from South Carolina.
– Nice hotel close to NanLuoGuXiang – Beijing Traditional View Hotel. Also try the Indian restaurant and visit Pottery Workshop just steps away.
Twenty five minutes from Shenyang city is a place the taxi drivers know as Hunhe zang. Our school building is there. On sunny afternoons, when elementary noises have settled, I look out the window at snowy fields and small, brick houses. A few weeks ago, I took a walk down the lane. So close to a city of 7.5 million people, there are many little villages living their own way. And they live in this lovely winter afternoon light.
Old and New
Tiny little one
Out the window
Formerly something else
Down the road
Fall is a beautiful time of year. Is it that so everywhere in the world?
This fall, we saw Indiana and many family and friends. I wish we could have packed the blue sky to bring it home. Enjoy.
Rosedale Covered Bridge
Must Take That
Down the Tracks
Apples for Mom
Pumpkins in the apple orchard
When the glaring white fills too many skies of our Shenyang and China days, we learn to fully appreciate the blue. Stand at the window and stare. See skyline details you’ve never seen before. Take your pink bike or sneaks out for a spin.
Do not forget that THIS is Shenyang too.
It is not just the staring, the spitting, the crazy, the chaos, the failure to understand and be understood. It is different, and that is okay. It is China, and we have accepted the privilege to live here for a time.
Shenyang is also the river, parks and greenery, locals out for the day, “hello” said from a distance, those enjoying the sunshine and shade. It is the kids who laugh, the workers who work, the riders who ride, and, yes, sometimes, even the skies that shine.
This is Shenyang too.
These are pictures of our last few days in Hawaii. In the depths of winter, I will look at these and wish.
Summer afternoon—summer afternoon;
to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
And more dolphins
We walked there
We went there
We did that
You know those questions some people ask at dinners and parties – “If money was no object, what if?”. I recently went to dinner where the conversation questions included “what superpower would you have”, “what would your everyday car be”, and “where would your primary home be”. And though there was an attempt to ridicule each of my answers, I would still want to have C3PO’s communication ability, any car that didn’t use a lot of gas, and my primary home would be somewhere in the beautiful, blue-skied, BBQ-infused Carolinas.
Maybe my everyday home could be in Hawaii. Yes, it would be a serious investment in sunscreen, but maybe I could become a test subject for Neutrogena. I’d take a place on the ocean, in the mountains, or a place near Twin Falls on Maui where we took this hike. My flower shots will come later, but until then, enjoy.
Blue or Blue
Oh the light
Sun – Shadow
Back to the blue sky
Sunset at Sea
References: Hike Maui http://www.hikemaui.com/ When our awesome guide said, “This is the kind of hike where you keep your camera out the entire time,” I knew I was in the right place. Hike Maui did a great job!