Twelve Months. Twelve Days. Twelve Moments.

To wrap up my year, I decided to choose¬†one picture from each month of my phone’s 2015 camera roll. ¬†When I actually sat down to do it, it wasn’t so easy. ¬†Do you choose your favorite picture, or a picture of your favorite day, or a shot of something you still laugh about now, months later? ¬†¬†And it’s different choosing a picture now versus what I may have chosen months ago. ¬†Our memories change. ¬†Our emotions change.

These twelve pictures were clicks on my phone. ¬†So fast. ¬†They were simple and memorable and perfect in their own way. ¬†That’s what moments are. ¬†They add up to the hours of our days, and the days of our months and years. ¬†Sartre compared moments to little diamonds. ¬†Aren’t they though? ¬†Some small, some big, some you’ll never have … some brilliant, some rough, all perfect in their own way.

It’s good to look back as we set intentions for the new year. ¬†There are important people and important things that happen in our lives every single day. ¬†It is about those big goals we set in front of us, and it’s about the little things too. ¬†The lovely perfect and not-so-perfect things. ¬†It is about the things we looked forward to, and those we never intended on, never planned on, never knew would come. ¬†It is about the every day, and how we live each moment.


‚ÄúShe smiled and said with an ecstatic air: “It shines like a little diamond”,
“What does?”
“This moment. It is round, it hangs in empty space like a little diamond; I am eternal.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē Jean-Paul Sartre, The Age of Reason


“If the whole world I once could see
On free soil stand, with the people free
Then to the moment might I say,
Linger awhile. . .so fair thou art.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust: First Part


A Morning Walk

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.