Believe

To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.    ― Mahatma Gandhi

Last month and the month before, when everything was covered in blue and white or red and green and sparkles, some of you may have celebrated one holiday or another.  Maybe you celebrated American Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Human Rights Day… That one is December 10 in case you want to mark your calendar.  Some of you said “Merry Christmas”.  Some of you may have been upset that others said “Happy Holidays”.

Last month, someone I know who celebrates Christmas asked me a question.  They had recently learned that I am one who says “Happy Holidays”.  And the question was, “This time of year, what does someone like YOU believe?”  Keep in mind, this was not a question of sincere interest.  It was phrased with a derogatory tone.  I think they actually looked down their nose at me.  The stressed words in the question were “someone like you”.  She meant, someone who says “Happy Holidays”.  She meant, a heathen.

Last month and the month before, I loved, I laughed, I cried, I gave gifts, I was thankful, I celebrated, I hugged, I wished, I traveled, I fought, I stayed positive, I believed.  I believed in love, in human beings, in laughter, in friendship, giving and being thankful, celebrations, hugging and kissing, wishing and hoping, traveling and taking a journey.  I believed in me, and in you, and in those who say “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays” or any other greeting, regardless of whether they look down their noses at others or not.

I believe that, if more of us celebrated Human Rights Day, that we all could believe in anything we want to.

Last month, when I was asked what someone like ME believes in, I refrained from the profanity on the tip of my tongue.  I simply looked in the direction of my amazing Chinese students and said, “Well, to begin with, I believe in them.  Even if you don’t.”

 

Tis the Season

Happy Holidays.   Merry Christmas.   Joyeux Noël.   圣诞快乐.   Any way you say it, we wish you the very best this month and always.

T and I are wrapping up another year in Shenyang.  T continues his work for Michelin on a new plant in northeast China.  This is a plant to supply the Chinese market – so many cars and trucks equals a lot of tires.  He likes his work and his colleagues, and is looking forward to seeing the rest of the plan become a reality over the next year or so.  I stay busy in my fourth year volunteering at the Shenyang Yuanjian School.  I dearly love those little kiddos and the teachers in our Chinese school.  I watch them grow and change and do amazing things every day.

Another winter has set in and the year has been good to us.  There were trips and travels, and many normal days in and around Shenyang.  There were trips to the market, the golf course, the vet.  There were dinners and friends, laughs and cries, work and volunteering, movies and tv, music and more music, oatmeal on Sunday mornings, searches for good cups of coffee, and discovering the recipe for the best ever chocolate cake.   Normal days living the simple adventure.

Be well, friends and family and blog readers.  Do good things because it’s the right thing to do.  Help people.  Tell the truth.  Give back.  Make good choices.  Respect others.  Love, and may you be loved.

Another Year’s Gone By

Merry Christmas!  Happy Hanukkah!  Joyous Boxing Day!  Greetings for the Winter Solstice!  Happy New Year!  Happy Holidays!  Yes, it’s okay for us to use any of these good wishes during the season.  It’s the genuine wish that’s important.  So when I bid you Happy Holidays, or when it says that on our December mailing, I mean it sincerely, regardless of what day(s) you choose to make special.

2012 is nearly over.  Time seems to have slowed this year.  There were a few weeks back in March that felt like an entire season.  And now winter has come early and we are bundling up for December and the long winter’s night.  We hope that you are well and that you will enjoy this month and this season.  Here are some photos and stories of our year.

January 1, 2012
January 1, 2012
Chinese New Year 2012
Chinese New Year 2012
Roooaaaarrrrr!
Roooaaaarrrrr!
Not a good day/week/month
Not a good day/week/month
Learning stairs again
Learning stairs again
Working the rice
Working the rice
Old Shanghai
Old Shanghai
Mission Hills
Mission Hills
Pan
Pan
The red beach
The red beach
Om
Om
My new friends in Chitwan National Park
My new friends in Chitwan National Park
Octoberfest
Octoberfest
To Market, To Market
To Market, To Market
Nice hat
Nice hat
New statue at the library
New statue at the library
Just a little rain
Just a little rain
Quick Fix
Quick Fix
Some days
Some days
Sunset in late November 2012
Sunset in late November 2012
Taking their donkey to the dealership for a tune-up
Taking their donkey to the dealership for a tune-up
A Morning Walk in the City
A Morning Walk in the City