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


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.