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

How Do You Spell “Monstrosity”?

Having just returned from an epic American road trip, and having traveled to Beijing and Shanghai in June, I can’t seem to write about anything but the building under construction out my window. ¬†This enormous curiosity has boggled my mind for months now. ¬†At this point, it seems a blemish on the skyline, and it certainly distorts my view of the river. ¬†But every day I watch with fascination. ¬†I¬†see the massive cranes, the gigantic metal tubes, the tiny ant workers walking precariously to and fro. ¬†And when they weld into the nighttime hours, it’s like a fireworks show.

Pan told me that it will be a business center, for offices, etc. ¬†I tried to spread a rumor that it was an amusement park, or maybe I should tell people it is the Birds Nest II. ¬†Oooh, our very own Water Cube. ¬†I’m trying to imagine what the facade will be. ¬†Or maybe that is the facade and now they’ll construct the building inside. ¬†Stay tuned.

As I write this, I can see someone welding while protecting himself from the typhoon rains with a blue tarp. ¬†That’s nothing new though. ¬†Another Shenyang expat posted a picture a couple of weeks ago of a welder protecting himself from rain with a cardboard box.

Maybe I’m mislabeling by calling it a monstrosity. ¬†Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. ¬†But it is abnormal, an oddity, a bit of a freak in its own right. ¬†That’s probably why I like it.