Sunday, April 12, 2009

spring number 4

This is our fourth spring in Beijing and, like the other three before it, Beijing has once again made my day(s) with a gift of flowers. I definitely love the changing of the seasons here in Beijing. In particular, my favourite moments are the cold, crisp days and blue skies at the end of Autumn, and the start of Spring with cherry blossoms, magnolias, tender green leaves growing from every tree...

These are pics of the flowers growing in our compound. I just couldn't resist going for my camera! The colours, the shapes, the smells... Whenever a flower's smell "catches my nose" and I almost unconsciously reach to smell it, I remember my mom, who had a very fine sense of smell and who would stop to enjoy the fragrance of flowers in her path. I did not inherit her fine nose, but apparently I did learn to forget all around me for some seconds and let my nose and eyes enjoy the beauty of a flower. Happy spring to you all!

Monday, April 06, 2009

open, crazy, alternative and organic San Francisco

About a month ago (March 6th) we went to San Francisco. The reason? I had to go to Mexico for stressful, work-related stuff, so I decided to turn the perspective around and view the trip as a holiday opportunity to go to San Francisco, with a side trip to Mexico to see family and, why not, since I would be there, work.

So, that's the technical why. And now the crux of the matter... San Pancho (our Mexican pet name for the city). San Francisco is one of those places where I feel so in tune I cannot but blindly praise it, and Elizabeth Barrett's oft used and abused poem felt as the way to express the barrage of images I have in my mind (may she and you forgive me for yet another slaughtering of her poem):

Oh San Francisco, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee for your openness and freedom and queerness.
For your body art and your tattoo artists,
I love thee for your gender-bending, organic, anarchist books,
for your Victorian houses, your relaxed pace, your hills, your bay.
I love thee for knowing that orphans need a loving home,
and your realising that love comes in guises many.
For your science and your lungfish and your lobe-fin fish,
for your Eagle Bar and Sunday afternoon beer busts,
for your Polynesian masks and your Warhols.
I love thee for your free ways, your accepting ways,
for vegan mudslide ice-cream, for J-horror and for latex kilts.
Above all, I love thee for your faith in the freedom
of the individuals to be true to themselves, in harmony and peace.

Or, more flatly put, the place rocks: there's a secular, progressive culture that celebrates diversity and where you can shed out-dated mores on race, sex, gender, age, religion etc. and live your right to self-expression. If that's not truely, totally and enviably awesome, I don't know what is.

The trip to Mexico was good, I spent a really nice time with amily as well as with some dear friends (alas, time was short, and I couldn't see many others). Also, on the flight back to Beijing, we had this beautiful view of Siberia (right next to Alaska). Can you see the blue tinge in some of them? That's lakes and rivers underneath. Life is good .