Today we had a little scare that Lea’s little finger was fractured. It was a close one, but luckily she escaped the worst. We spent some time after that looking at the X-Rays together and we were fascinated by the look of the human bone structure. It is incredible to see how much amazing engineering goes into the mechanics of the human complex, starting with the very foundation of our physical strength, our bones. And then one small accident and we can fracture that strength and spend weeks recovering. I remember breaking my arm 3 times as a child before reaching my daughters age (she is 10), and each time it felt somewhat heroic to go through the whole ordeal. And of course there was the white cast for everyone to sign 🙂
Photo taken of Lea through the X-Ray of her hand.
Have you ever been lost in the process of your art? Have you ever visited that place where time stands still and you are transported on the wings of creativity? So much peace attends this state and it is a wonderful gift to be in the presence of its happening.
In a world of texting, emailing, and ‘elf yourself’ video cards sent around for Christmas, it is so amazingly soothing to go back to basic crafts and to spend hours cutting, coloring, gluing and handwriting Christmas cards for loved ones. I suspect that as we speed into the future, taking the time to be invested in hand-made craft projects will be a thing of the past, when most things as we know them would be mass-produced and the charm of uniqueness lost forever. The last two days, we took the time, we played Christmas songs, created cards, ate cookies and had lovely long conversations. Another memory for the treasure box.
The old alleys of Shanghai with their unique way of life, tradition and charm are slowly disappearing to give way to the fast invading modernism of this great metropolis. This little boy and I had a brief staring contest, and he won.
As my little girl grows up, I watch with quiet desperation how her innocence begins to recede to the background. The old simple jokes that made her laugh again and again are now silly, the complete freedom with which she skipped all over the world and its problems is beginning to allow bits of worry into her magical world. Questions about the state of the world arise causing a frown to form on her previously every radiant and smiling face. Nothing prepares a parent for the inevitable letting go of their child’s innocence. We hold on to it desperately, we pray that the hugs will last longer, that the laughter will ring louder and that worry will keep its fangs away from our babies.
In Qibao, and old area of Shanghai, is a neighborhood(if you can call it that) of green lanes. Confronting realities wait there behind each door and in front of some where young women prepare to sell themselves for a living. As much as this practice is as old as civilization itself, it remains heartbreaking to witness people’s daughters going through this to survive. And most painful of all was seeing a little girl forced to grow up in that strange world of green lanes.
Every year our little family waits for Halloween to step out of the ordinary into a little something extraordinary; because life is just that; extraordinary; until we forget. I find so much joy in planning events since my daughter was born 9 years ago and together we plot and plan and create. Last year we had the idea to create Halloween characters with her and her friends making studio portraits with them in costume and this year we will do that again. Here are a few of our favorite portraits from last year.
Ask me where I am from, where home is, and I find myself thinking before I answer you. This is the case for so many of us these days. We come from mixed race marriages, we leave our home countries, we live in a new place, we move again, we marry from yet another country and our children are left with a number of origins to choose from and call home. Recently someone asked my 7 year old niece where she was from, and she answered: “I am a Swiss/Lebanese/New Zealander and I live in UAE”, whereas my 9 year old daughter is a German/American/Lebanese who lives in China. Is this the face of new world citizenship and the age of planetary close connections and integration? I wonder…
As the west prepares to launch a missile attack on Syria in the coming days, the innocent children find themselves caught in the games of warring adults having no say as to where their life will be taking them next. More than 4000 Syrians are seeking refuge daily in Lebanon, where they make a staggering 35% of the Lebanese population today. A ticking bomb in a fragile zone, heart breaking and unfair in so many ways. If the children are the hope for our future, why are we endangering that chance?