Friday, June 05, 2009

Life is good

I woke up at 5:30 yesterday morning to a bright sunny day, headed out the door and down the canal that is a block away. It's lined on both sides with sloping green grass, and a white marble fence keeps you from falling in. There were men fishing (using empty yakult bottles as buoys) and people running and walking along the 2 miles I traveled out and then back. At one point I ran past a group of men climbing out of the canal after a morning swim. They seemed a little surprised to see a foreign girl, but not at all embarrassed that they were standing there in their dripping bikini underwear.

On Thursday we went over to our new place and my friend Jen and I schemed about how I could transform the backyard. Currently there is a lot of bamboo, some filthy brick tiling, and a gigantic empty fish pond. My plan is to cut back a lot of the bamboo, lay down more (not filthy) brick to make a space for a table and chairs, and fill in the fish pond with dirt to make a vegetable and herb garden. Now if only my green thumbed dad were here to show me exactly how to do that well. I emphasize the word "well." Any idiot can throw dirt in a hole and put seeds in it, but only someone like my dad knows how to make it grow.

Everywhere I turn here, everywhere I go, I am finding little joys. Seeing our kids outside at 7 a.m. playing with friends, being able to teach them bits of Chinese in situations where they actually need it (and having them speak it back to me!), breathing in cool fresh air in the morning, finding products they didn't used to have here, settling back into old friendships, looking out my window and seeing the Summer Palace against the foothills, living in a place with more green than I knew could exist in China - joys everywhere.

I think we always have expectations about how something will be in life, whether we realize it or not. I know that I had expectations about life here, in many ways how it was going to be "better" than our life in Singapore. So far, it's even better than what I expected - that doesn't usually happen to me because I have HIGH expectations! So rejoice with me. Life is good.

This is the view from the apartment where we are staying - they are on the 15th floor so they can see over to the foothills. If you click on the picture and look at the hill toward to the right side of the picture, you'll see the Summer Palace.
This is the courtyard below where we are staying. We are two buildings over with a similar coutyard. There's so much green here compared to other parts of the city! And that lower building across the street is where the gym and pool are.

This is the view looking west. You can see the park that runs along our complex, and the rollerblading rink that's there. There's also tennis and basketball courts, and a playground over there. The canal I run on is on the other side of the park.

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