On the Trail

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.

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.

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.

Giving Back

I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.”  – Kahlil Gibran

I love to volunteer.  And I love volunteers.  I have met some great ones in Shenyang.  Two years ago, I met Dorothy.  While living in Thailand, she had helped refugees from Burma.  At the same time, I also met Kazumi.  She is Japanese and has lived in Shenyang for more than 15 years.  I don’t know where she finds the time to do all that she does.  When we plan activities for the Dream Home orphanage (http://chinadreamhome.org/index.html), Kazumi organizes our bell choir, puppet shows, skits and more.  This year, other friends from the International Club, Tricia, Karina and Ortrud visit the orphanage every week.  They sit with the children, play with them, help feed them, love them.   And a new friend, Sue, volunteered in the orphanage and nursing homes with an organization called LIGHT (http://lightshenyang.org/).  It is an honor to know these people and hear about their time and effort to make some difference in another’s life.  It inspires me.

So here are some recent photos of my volunteer experiences in China, and some of the people who inspire me.