I love this photo. It’s not that I did a great job taking the shot. I didn’t and it could be alot better. But what I like about it is that it shows so much of China. The bike, the 3 wheeled electric wagon, the bus, the stoplight, the restaurants in the background. Describing China can be difficult and much of it is not tangible. But I think this shot captures a bit of it.
We take buses just about every day. Most of the time we’re taking a charter bus to the school. But sometimes we take the public bus to go shopping. The buses here are really nice. They’re temperature controlled and many of them are electric. A public bus can get pretty full. It’s always a site to see the morning bus get so full that people are literally smashed between people as they stand on the bus. It’s even more of a challenge to get off the bus when we’ve reached the destination. One of my worries is that one of our kids will be left on the bus because he or she wasn’t able to get out. I always do a headcount when we get off and so far we’ve never left anybody behind.
Ever heard of “Bird Throwing”? Yeah, me neither. “What is it”, you ask? Well, it’s quite literally throwing a bird. Seriously. It’s like Angry Birds without the pigs…or the walls…or dazed birds. Ok, it’s not that similar to Angry Birds, but it is interesting.
Everyday on my home from work, I see two groups of people out in an empty lot of grass. And each day I see a bird rack with several birds on it and what appears to be people throwing birds into the air. At first I thought they were shooting them down because I’d see a guy point a rifle-looking thing at the bird and it would come straight down, but that didn’t make any sense. First of all, “shooting stuff down” isn’t a thing here. And the Chinese have a general respect of birds. So I had to go and see what it was all about.
Walking up to the group, I quickly confirmed that they were indeed throwing birds up into the air. They gripped the bird in their hand and whipped it straight up in the air and then the bird would come straight back like a boomerang. As I got even closer I could see that the man throwing the bird was also throwing some food pellets up at the same time, giving something for the birds to go after. And the man who looked like he was shooting them down, well, he was using his rifle-looking stick thing to throw an additional food pellet up near the bird in the air so it would also go after it. After the bird got the second pellet, it would then return to the man who threw him.
I asked one of the guys what the purpose of this was and he said it was just a hobby. And the birds seemed to like it as well. They weren’t being hurt or anything. After some time one of the birds didn’t want to go after the food any more, and they guy said, “He doesn’t want to play any more”. He put the bird back on the stand and gave it some water and moved on to the next bird that “wanted to play”.
I tried doing a Google search on this, but wasn’t able to find anything. I really have no idea where this hobby came from. If you know more about this hobby, comment below!
It looks like a lot of fun.
Normally, I only post one photo a day, but this one was just a cool thing, I’ve decided to break my rule and post some more. I hope you don’t mind!
When you think of the phrase, “hole in the wall restaurant” in China, this is what comes to mind. The man smoking a cigarette, with his subservient mongrel dog next to him. The mini-kitchen with a wok on the burner and a calendar with a buddhist image on the wall. The size of the entire room is 130ft². I haven’t eaten at this particular take-out place, but I guarantee it’s some of the best Chinese food around.
Lucas, once settled from other distractions, has an uncanny ability to remain focused on something for a long time. Of course, when we’re trying to get out the door and he’s focused on something not related to getting out the door, it can be frustrating. But it also means he can immerse himself in a task completely and enjoy the moment.
My daughter, Anna, is my second guest poster in this series. It’s an interesting shot and it got me thinking of how my children will view me when they are off on their own.
When they think back at the important moments of their childhood, will the memory of me be positive?
Or will it just be blurry?
This is my first guest photo on this #aphotoaday series. It was taken by my wife. I was discussing with her my frustration over framing this picture…that I couldn’t get it right with the available background. And the fact that Eloise was asleep meant I couldn’t reposition her. So, Jacquelyn took the camera, took the shot, and said, “there…that’s it”. And there, indeed, it was. She framed it perfectly. I’m still not super happy that this is a guest photo post, but it really was the best shot, so I couldn’t argue and I couldn’t recreate it since Eloise had since shifted positions. If there’s any props to give myself, it’s that it was still me that edited the photo. But Jacquelyn definitely gets the prize for the photo of the day. Great job, dear! 🙂
The words “Eloise” and “falling asleep” don’t usually have positive connotations with it. She, as most children (at least my children), don’t like to go to bed. Eloise rarely is able to fall asleep in the middle of day. So, when we saw this scene, it was a “quick, get the camera!” moment. She’s a cutie, but sometimes we feel a bit like Frank and the triplets on this clip of Friends.
Milk tea is a thing here. And we’re really into it. This is from our favorite milk tea place called, Coco. Actually, I decided to take this milk tea home and save it for another day because I was really full from dinner. I put it in the refrigerator. Apparently, though, when my wife saw it in there she thought it was over two weeks old and THREW IT AWAY! WHAT! Have no fear, I sent her some Bitmoji’s (here and here) letting her I was upset about it. But just yesterday she bought me another one to make up for it. So, now she gets this and this one.
Also, when did my child become an adult?
Our city gets a bad wrap because it’s known for being polluted…and it’s true. We do have alot of pollution. But over the Christmas break, in the midst of some pretty low pollution days, I realized that our city is a nice place to live. It really has all we could want. Historical stuff, Western stuff, relatively low traffic congestion, and lots of places to hang out. And on some days, when the blue of the sky can be seen, we see it really is a beautiful place.
Christmas trees remind of us Jacquelyn’s mom. She loved decorating for Christmas. We’ve had a hard time taking the tree down this year. It’s been on Jacquelyn’s todo list for a couple of weeks now, but she can’t quite bring herself to take it down. I think we’ll just keep it up for a little while longer.
I also thought this would be a good time to take a selfie. How do I look?
In coming back to China, one of things we really wanted to see was our children continue learning violin. Over the past couple of years we’ve tried local Chinese teachers, and even had some good success with an online teacher living in the Netherlands. But lately Jacquelyn has been helping them. We’ve had ups and downs in consistency, but Jacquelyn has worked really hard at working with the kids and getting them to practice.
Outside my office, in the otherwise sprawling surroundings of educational facilities that make up an international school and a university, sits this shack. It’s right in front of a manmade fishing pond. Between the shore and shack it’s not uncommon to see a fisherman fishing or a man singing and/or shouting over the water. It’s quite the contrast to an otherwise modern look at China.
I work with a pretty incredible group of peers. The people that have similar positions to me are in different cities within our company. We see each other in person only several times a year. And I’m always impressed at the camaraderie and fun that we have together. I also super appreciate the focus that each one brings into better supporting our people.
In my daily interactions with my children I don’t typically think about the fact that my children look like me. It’s not that I don’t think they do, I just don’t think about it. But when I saw this picture, it immediately reminded me of the photos of my childhood. It was like looking into a mirror of the past.
When I was offered a chance to move back overseas, I came with the condition that I would need someone to train me on the job. And since being here, we’ve encountered some pretty big storms. I’m not sure that I would have been able to navigate them by myself. In fact, I’m quite sure I would have missed the boat the completely. I’m thankful for having a mentor to continue to show me the ropes.
My wife and I have an “on again off again” relationship with running. Currently, we are “on again”. Each Saturday a friend of ours organizes a 5K around our housing complex.
One of the best parts of the 5K is when it is over and we a mini breakfast party. These are a couple of our new friends from this weekly tradition.
Living overseas means constant changes. Friendship is no exception. But it only makes them even more highly valued. This is one of my friends. He also teaches my children in school. I’m glad he’s here.
This is what my wife looks like in the morning.
I know, right? Even in the morning she glows.
But more than what she looks like, my wife is pretty incredible. She works hard and cares deeply. She loves me and makes efforts to show me. You can’t get better than that.
She’s stronger than me.
And she’s better than me.
And I really like her.