Showing posts from November, 2009


Lately I have fallen for music composed by the living artist Yann Tiersen, a Brit living in France.  He wrote the score for the movie Amelie, perhaps most famous for the piano piece Comptine d'un autre ete L'apres but I just love Sur le fil which is for viola, as well.  I love the emotional intensity in his work.  He has some other cool stuff, like Le Train and Rue de Cascades, which made me think about the meaning of the word 'cascades' as we have the Cascade mountain range in the western part of the U.S. and crossing them is a rite of passage for me, a wintery routine we must pray that the weather gives us passage through during the winter.  Cascades literally means "waterfalls."
First photo shows a bit of pollution at ground level a few days ago.  The second is looking out my window today.
On Nov 27 2009Air quality in BeijingShanghai is Good, index II (index max: V).
In AustriaBelgiumFranceHong KongMadridUKthe USA, same air would be considered as Bad, index 8 (index max :10).
This is not just my imagination...the air is BAD. 
I think we were in the Hankou area of Shanghai on a walking tour of the former Jewish ghetto, where thousands of Jews took refuge during the holocaust.  Then we moved on to a former slaughterhouse, now called "1933" which is trying to be a fashionable, upscale consumer destination for the rich and is well on its way to doing so.  Personally I felt horrible fengshui in it and I had to force myself to remain with my 8 friends when I felt like getting far away from there.  Ironically it's a hot spot for fashion and photo shoots but no amount of money and glitz is going to erase what that place once was.  

Later I went with another group of friends to have 'hot pot' in a restaurant that specializes in fish hot pot.  After we chose our ingredients and flavors, they showed me the fish.  I'd say it was about 8 pounds.  The taste was actually really delicious - only it was served with the bones in, like every Chinese restaurant.  Still I would return there because we…
It's like using an outhouse during the winter.  You get used to it.  Oh there is indoor plumbing alright.  But most bathrooms are NOT heated in China, including mine and my school's.  The ice water to wash your hands is even more exciting!  Well, I was commiserating with myself over this situation recently but got around to covering my toilet seat with a cushy, tacky, red but WARM soft cloth cover.  And it's hard to believe but my ayi (my wing's custodian lady) just now showed me there is a hot water heater to wash our hands with warm water on the fourth floor where I teach...TCB (That's China Baby) At home it's not that bad. I just turn on the heat lamps and leave them on for a while.  But I also turn them off.  Really, why do we waste so much energy on heating bathrooms in the west anyway when it's a room we hardly spend much time in overall! 
Oh, it is cooooooooold now.  Thirty three degrees F and a breeze makes it feel below freezing...this is brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr on a bike!!!! Glad for my hat and gloves and warm coat!  I knew I should have brought my ski goggles this time. 
I think prayer is not a hot, cool or sexy topic for most blogs.  Especially for most party-going Shanghaiers (which if you know me, is NOT me.)  But I think prayer is important and wanted to refresh my ideas about it.  So I looked at Guideposts' link and I particularly agree with number six--praying for someone who gives you trouble, who is in trouble, or is in some way a problem for you.  I also think it is not selfish to pray for yourself in this way when you are your own worst problem!  In a general sense I believe our nation and many nations need both prayer and action, starting in our own backyards.  In a personal sense I have neglected prayer somewhat but I am utterly thankful for the people and experiences that God graces my life with. This links to a story about the internet situation in Xinjiang, the huge northwestern province in China where there has been fighting that left about 200 dead in July.  Since then the internet has been shut down there.  Although on the page it says there are (0) comments, there are a lot of comments there if you click on comments.  It is an interesting time and situation which affects the rest of China and should be a question for the world at large when our so-called innocent social networking becomes a tool of darkness and terrorism.  It does make me rethink how important those online tools are in the bigger picture, though one would think that the government would be able to track the situation very readily following electronic footprints. 
On odd days I teach a lot of violin and some guitar.  On even days I teach piano, choir and guitar.  On really odd days I'm in charge of field trips like this one to the zoo.  If you go I suggest skipping the elephant pen but wander around everywhere else.  Just go to the elephant show and be prepared to get some serious exercise. If you have decent weather like we have during October, maybe even November, pack a lunch and have a picnic. 

Normally this is my favorite season, cool and dry.  Today the temperature is 71 degrees Farenheit or 22 degrees Celsius.  But with a strong wind off the sea it feels chilly!  I wore sunglasses, a fleece jacket, a windbreaker with my hood on, a 3/4 length overcoat and gloves and I was still a bit cold on the ride to work.  There were a few moments when I was pressing with all my weight on the pedals into a head wind and made only a little progress.

Bonny Buckley
Tel.  86 136 4194 6784 "I never painted dreams...I painted my own reality."   --Frida Khalo