It is so endearing in Asia to see how grandparents create a living womb for their grandchildren and how they care for them tirelessly, carrying them on their old backs, feeding them, singing hymns to them, and carrying them into adulthood on a fluffy cloud of love.
How strengthening it must be for the children and how infusing with confidence.
Italy is one of those countries where you find yourself humming while you eat. Some places are just like that. In fact it is a place where you instantly decide you want to live if you had any choice in the matter. As soon as we arrived there, my 8 year old daughter asked me to help her buy a postcard. She then asked me for the address of her new teacher back in Shanghai and went on to write her a nice paragraph letting her know that she will unfortunately not be attending her class this year as she now lives in Italy. Italy captures the heart of children too 🙂
To survive on this planet, all humans must eat. we seem to celebrate this fact by coming together socially when we eat. All over the world food seems to accompany celebrations and social gatherings. In Asia this is even more extreme. Street food is a thriving and very colorful affair that draws people together at different times of the day. Even religious holidays are now connected to food and drink. It makes sense to celebrate that which allows us life and to want to share it with others.
Photo taken: Man at a table on a Hanoi street with chopsticks and duck
Those who have little often are the ones who give selflessly…
This is so true of nomadic people all over the world. Hospitality is part of who they are as people and they are known to welcome their guest by offering them the best of the little that they have. It is an insult to reject their hospitality perhaps because that would suggest hostility towards the host. The Kyrgus people of lake Karakol are no different and their soup is a most delicious offering to a traveler in the high mountains. Dare mention how good the food is and you are sure to be force-fed a second portion!
photo taken: a grandmother hostess in her yurt offering soup to one of my fellow travelers.
got milk~ the reality edition~ girl Rwanda refugee in Goma
Each time I hear parents trying to convince their children in our western world to eat more, to drink more milk, to eat just another bite; my mind goes back to the children I met in Congo. A glass of milk can have the power to transform a desperate little face into a bright smiling one, the milk she drank out of utter need, no room for luxury in her world of fighting for survival.
I find myself showing my 7 year old daughter these photographs repeatedly while telling her stories to put more perspective into her life in my attempt to tip the scales away from materialism and towards a consciousness and humanity about other less fortunate humans we share this planet with.
I can only hope that this awareness will make a difference in her future life. The first step to actively helping is consciously knowing.
I am starting this series with faces of children because this is what impacted me the most. The innocence, the vulnerability, the undying hope in their eyes and the strong will to survive is where this story begins.
A main and very appealing element in the intricate canvas representing Shanghai streets is the abundance of street sellers and food stalls. These stalls are interwoven into the fabric of the alleys, streets and neighborhoods of this enigmatic city. You see them everywhere you look and you can smell their fried dumplings, their noodles, their scallion pancakes and their deep fried stinky tofu (it really is called stinky because it is quite overwhelming). Despite efforts from the safety food commission to ban these stalls in the city and force them to adhere to licensing and specific locations and schedules, luckily they continue to mushroom throughout the city adding to the character and charm of this massive metropolis.
I do hope they stay, because forcing something so integral out of a society’s daily life is almost like ripping its essence out and leaving it bare and colorless.
Wild life conservation is a hot topic. I normally avoid hot topics, but today I will make a small exception. This very kind looking man(a contradiction in itself) stands on our street daily trying to sell wild turtles to passersby, so I was intrigued an moved to look it up. It seems that these turtles are thought traditionally in China to prolong life when eaten, that they are now on the growing endangered species list. Despite government efforts to curb their consumption and raise awareness, these creatures are captured daily and sold on the city streets in an effort to make a buck or a renimbi. Like all hot topics, the first step is to gather the facts, so that’s what I have started doing and I am only barely scratching the surface. No point making a hot topic even hotter.