It is amazing the amount of influence the sun has on our emotions. Everything glows in the sun, the water twinkles, the trees are brighter, the flowers are more colorful and the faces of people are painted with smiles. And it makes sense. It is a huge burning star that supports us, that gives us warmth, light, a sense of security when we know that no matter what, it will be coming around every day like a clock. And when the clouds hide our view of it, we are clouded by a sense of melancholy until the great fireball comes back and burns the blankets of gloom away. Today the sun was shining after too many days of constant rain in Shanghai, so we all smiled :)
To know no worry, to carry no grudge, to feel no hate, to plan no revenge, to awaken with inspiration, to live with joy, to sleep with contentment of a day lived to the full, to be weightless,
photo: Lea dancing by the window on yet another rainy day in Shanghai
It has been said that all creatures that have eyes, have a soul. Maybe that is why we don’t think twice about cutting flowers and eating plants, but we flinch each time we see any little animal or human being butchered, well at least most of us do. And the eyes radiate the truth. How often do you hear someone saying “look into my eyes and tell me again that you don’t love me” or something to that effect. The eyes are able to convey what the face is trying to hide. So many times we see smiling faces with sad eyes, or little children with ‘old soul’ eyes. And yes, the eyes can radiate and we feel it especially if strong emotions are being expressed, like love or even hate, and that is when we say ‘eyes can kill’. The eyes, another human mystery…
photo is of the beautiful blue eyes of Valerie, my daughter’s friend who agreed to model in exchange for some sweets :)
The sticky fly in warm weather is perhaps the most annoying of all insects I used to think. It just comes to land on your skin and keeps coming back no matter how many times you ‘shu shu shu’ it. When growing up in Lebanon we children were told that the fly was an invention of the beautiful Egyptian queen Nefertiti as she was bored one day and needed to entertain herself. So I used to walk around cursing queen Nefertiti and her boredom each time a fly woke me up early in the morning.
Today, I was exploring during a brief pause in the persistent Shanghai rain showers, so while Lea was looking for snails, I was photographing little bugs. And it made me think of how incredibly diverse our planet is, how amazing, complex, beautiful, colorful and completely different each living thing is. What an incredible garden of plenty, with so much to see, meet and discover. If you look closely, all is amazing, stunning, beyond belief, even the fly!
Something in us seems to have a great fascination with the past. We are very curious about people who lived before us, about their stories, her-story, his-tory. Yes, history is fascinating to most. There is a great nostalgia that we feel when we walk by an antique; we try to imagine who used it, what they were like, what they felt, what their secrets were. The past did happen and is concrete, so the discovery of its events is thrilling. Whereas the future is a daunting unknown that we tend to shy away from and to relegate to the realms of the unexplained and the out of reach. Maybe this is part of the reason we hang on to antiques, collect them and treasure them and look forward to the stories that they may tell.
photo taken in Dong Tai Lu antique street ~ Shanghai
It is quite amazing being around teenagers and observing how they live their lives. It is as if they live in a world that is inside a bubble, a bubble that is quite misty and full of phantasy. In that bubble they seem to only see what is very close to them, what is in their immediate environment and what affects them directly. The rest of the world is a field where they can roll around and giggle. There is a joy and a love of life and a lot of living in the moment. Being around teenagers every day this last week, I could see that the best way to be with them is to observe, offer advice only when asked and to try and join in their effervescence, to jump into the mist! Of course this is easily done when they are not your own children :)
photo: The beautiful Sasha with a blue umbrella in a cloud of steam on a Shanghai street.
Lea arrived to Shanghai in 2006 when she was just 2 years old. Since then China has been a new home to her. I often think about the influence that this move will have later on her life as an adult, growing up multilingual, mixing with different cultures, being a foreigner away from home; how will all of this play a part in shaping who she will become? In many ways, children find themselves in places and situations created by their parents and with very little choice on their part, at least at that very early age. And we as parents always hope that we are making choices that are for the best of our children. Somehow, China will always be an important stage of the forming of Lea’s life.
Today I had a photo shoot with an adorable 3 week old baby girl, little Juliette! She has tiny little feet and the cutest little hands, and a face with a million changing expressions. Babies have the power to draw a smile from almost everyone who sees them. They are miracles, each single one of them and they are so innocent, clear, uncorrupted, reactive, connected, simple and yet very complex. To think of the amazing power that is with them to allow them to grow and multiply in size at an exponential speed! They heal much faster, they have during their growth a hundred times the energy we adults have and they can learn and absorb at stunning rate. Miracles!
To believe in fairies
To imagine what their tiny wings look like
To dream about seeing them one day
To struggle with patience
To make them offerings
To promise to be kind
To be respectful of nature and its helpers
To have a mind sparkling with the wonder of mysteries unsolved
Is the charmed and magical world of a child
It is given by gentlemen to their lady friend as a gift, it used to be gifted to other governments as a sign of friendship, it is used in folk dances, it comes in different sizes, shapes, folding, fixed, small, large, painted, carved… and it is very beautiful.
It has been a staple in China’s culture for over 3 thousand years, the fan. It’s original purpose was for creating a breeze in warm days, and it was made from a wide variety of materials like bamboo, feathers, silk, sunflowers, paper among several other materials. It is one of the delicate things that say ‘China’ and a certain part of the culture that is still very much alive and held on to and celebrated. I love watching the lady dancers with their fans every morning in the streets of Shanghai who move with so much grace and charm!