Rainy Days Reading

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China / Lijiang
Lijiang coffee shop

With all the rainy days, I’ve had a lot of good reading. There are plenty of nice spots in Lijiang to sit and drink Yunnan coffee and read my Kindle.

July was busy with our big move, getting settled and then starting school. So I didn’t read as many books as normal. The list for July:

Songs of Willow Frost – Jamie Ford
White Oleander – Janet Fitch
State of Wonder – Ann Patchet
The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
The Circle – Dave Eggers
The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien
The Tiger’s Wife – Tea Obreht
Winter’s Tale – Mark Helprin

I’m currently reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan. First up for August will be The Secret History by Donna Tartt. What are you currently reading or finished lately that you’d recommend?

in season

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China / Lijiang
mangosteen
In season right now: 山竹 shān zhú, mangosteen. I think they are lovely. Wade thinks they are tasty. We thought they were supposed to be quite healthy for us, but now it seems that isn’t really true. Still, it’s lovely having a bowl of the “queen of fruit” on the table to enjoy.

adorable

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China / Lijiang
tiny kitten with big blue eyes Today, this little guy sat on my foot for most of lunch at the pizza place across from Jade Spring Park. The waitress said they found him on the street a week or so ago, and adopted him. Poor little guy was so flee bitten and mangy. But still so adorable. I’d love to adopt a kitten of my own, but I’m pretty sure I’d have to chose between the kitten and Wade. No contest. Kittens are cute, but not as cute as Wade. And they don’t do dishes or give back rubs, or listen to me, or buy me chocolate, or take me butterflying, or…save my life.

the silver lining

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China / Lijiang

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, 玉龙雪山 (Yùlóngxuě Shān)Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, 玉龙雪山 (Yùlóngxuě Shān) Lijiang, China – the southernmost glacier in the Northern Hemisphere

It’s pretty dang tough being a blogger when you live behind the Great Firewall. This Spring has been the worst so far. I finally just gave up altogether, and quit trying. You can only bang your head against the Wall for so long before you end up with a headache. And you can waste an awful lot of time waiting, waiting, waiting…only to get “connection timed out” which is code for, the Wall wins, you lose! So I stopped waiting and got busy with life.Since I last posted, we’ve been to Bali for two weeks, made a trip to Lijiang and rented a new apartment, packed up everything we own here in Chengdu, and arranged all the details for a move to a different province! The train picks our stuff up Tuesday morning and we follow it shortly thereafter. I am so excited! I love Lijiang. I can hardly wait to introduce you all to our magical new home. The photo above is our new view. I think it’s a big improvement from the view here in Chengdu. What do you think?

But there was one other benefit I rediscovered while the internet was beyond my grasp. Being offline gives you a gift of more time to read. I also discovered another wonderful thing: I can borrow books from my local library in Washington through Overdrive, and have them delivered to my Kindle for FREE!! Free books is the best thing since sliced bread. I had missed the library so much. Now the library goes with me wherever I go! What a fantastic innovation!

So far this Spring I’ve read:
The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
The Sense of An Ending – Julian Barnes
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark
The Great Santini – Pat Conroy
I Capture The Castle – Dodie Smith
The Book Theif – Marcus Zusak
The Cooked Seed: A Memoir – Anchee Min
The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
Red Seas Under Red Skies – Scott Lynch
The Republic of Thieves – Scott Lynch
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Room With a View – EM Forster
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoevsky
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer
Death Comes to Pemberly – P.D. James
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
The Aviator’s Wife – Melanie Benjamin
The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel – Neil Gaiman
The Cookbook Collector – Allegra Goodman
Bel Canto – Ann Patchett
A Visit from the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan
The Dinner – Herman Koch
The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
All That Is – James Salter
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
I’ve already downloaded books for the long train ride South:
The Circle – Dave Eggers
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
White Oleander – Janet Fitch
The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien
Winter’s Tale – Mark Helprin

Our last train trip to LJ, I read 8 books, so if you have a suggestion, I’d love to have it quick! Or check out my Reading List and give me your recommendations or reviews. The to read section is still fairly healthy, but now that I’m on Overdrive, I’m whittling it down at a pretty good clip. And hopefully, the Wall will be less formidable in our new home and I’ll be back in the blogging business just as soon as I’ve unpacked all these boxes and settled in. I missed that too.

Lost and Found

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Maolin / Taiwan
a photo of a purple bracelet with Chinese Characters

I found this bracelet on a bridge in the middle of nowhere. I’m so curious what the story is. How did it get there? Did someone leave it there on purpose? Or did they lose it and whoever found it leave it where it might be seen and reclaimed? I’ll never know, but I can’t help wondering. But I’m grateful to whoever thought it belonged in just this spot. The purple on the yellow background just makes me happy.

Rukai Wedding: The Headdresses

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Maolin / Taiwan
The previous post was all about the Ruikai wedding and the dancing. But I thought the headdresses deserved a post of their own. I found them so interesting. For me, there is an obvious similarity to the headdresses from my home. These are familiar and yet totally different. I find that so often in Chinese minority cultures…I always feel quite at home, but at the same time intrigued by the differences.

Girl at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, TaiwanHeaddress at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Man at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Headdress at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Headdress at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Headdress at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Elders at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Headdress at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Dancing at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Rukai Wedding

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Maolin / Taiwan
Bride and Groom dancing at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

We attended a Rukai Wedding in WanShan. A Rukai wedding is pretty much like any other wedding you’ve been to…just a whole lot better. First there’s a ceremony, then a banquet, and finally dancing. Lots of dancing. The only difference is Rukai are just way cooler than you and me.

Prayer at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Feast at  Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Dancing at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Dancing at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Dancing at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Dancing at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Dancing at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Dancing at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Dancing at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Dancing at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Dancing at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Dancing at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Dancing at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Dancing at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Dancing at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Dancing at Rukai Wedding, Wan Shan Village, Taiwan

Simply Irresistible

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Maolin / Taiwan
a photo of a feild of Cosmos flowers
There is something truly magical about a field of flowers. I find it totally irresistible. I must get in the field and photograph it. We saw so many of these fields of Cosmos in Taiwan.

Field of Cosmos Flowers, near Maolin, Taiwan

Cosmos

Cosmos

Cosmos

Cosmos

Cosmos

Cosmos is one of my all time favorite flowers. I think they are so photogenic. And butterflies love them too. I think the thing that has surprised me the most is how many different varieties there are in Asia that I never saw anywhere else.