Not too bad

If you talk to me even semi-regularly, if you read this blog, if you’ve ever live in our part of the world, you’ve heard me (and others) whine about the weather and the pollution.

This is not a post about that.

Earlier this week, Michael and I and some friends took a get-away to another part of our city, one outside and above the smog. Our destination, although only three or four hours away, had blue skies, dry air, and crisp mountain temperatures. It was lovely, and we were thankful to get away for a few days.

This couple was just in front of us along the path for much of the way. Americans, I think, are weird about photos compared to the rest of the world. Because Asians loooove to cheese it up for their close-ups. We’ve see our fair share of Europeans on this side of the world, too, and Asians have nothing on them when it comes to staged photos (hello, awkward SI style beach photo shoots in Thailand!). I just don’t get it. But I guess I don’t have to.

With my friend Cat, who I’m so thankful to have in my life this year!

Some years ago, a kung fu epic was filmed here, so this spot is famous in this part of the world. I mean, I’d make a kung fu movie here–it sure looks the part.

As happens everywhere we go, little Noah attracted quite the crowd. American babies are probably more loved, admired, and photographed than movie stars over here. It’s sweet and kind and says a lot about the value that this culture places on children. It also makes you sympathetic for actual movie stars who have to deal with paparazzi and thronging crowds. Being the center of this much attention is exhausting!

Thankfully, Noah was distracted from his stardom by downing (almost) a whole can of Pringles. Get it!

Requisite family photo!

Some pretty fabulous feet…

…and some pretty fabulous friends!  (Excuse my artsiness, I was just really excited about the above photo.)

Thankful for beauty which refreshes my soul.

And thankful for this guy to enjoy it with!


Definitely not PC

I mentioned awhile back that, almost beyond belief, we got a movie theater just down the street from our apartment. Michael and I (and most of our American friends, let’s be honest) have been stalking the theater recently, waiting anxiously for Hunger Games to please, please open somewhere in this country. So far, no luck, but Titanic in 3D minus Rose’s nude scene (edited out nationwide! didn’t know they could do that) is sweeping the country. While we were asking (yet again) at the movie theater last week, I finally snapped a few pictures of the promotional posters which line the main hallway.

These actors and actresses seem a bit random. Yes, Audrey Hepburn is one of the greats, but Pierce Brosnan? Who knew he would be one of the elite featured. (The other actors with posters were Asian and I don’t think they are well-known in the States so I left them out.)

Anyway, here they are, with a few highlighted selections from their awesome bios. As always, translation is really complicated and whoever wrote these posters might not have gotten it exactly right, but was doing pretty good already to be able to (somewhat) handle the complicated English language. Heaven knows I wouldn’t want the reverse responsibility.

…The childhood passed in lonely. The life whets makes him permature to start maturely, had one kind of young person who acts old the bearing.

….[Remington] Steele, his mature performing skill and the natural demeanor make the large audience to fall for it.

…But the better self died enables him to have in very long period of time to be unable the normal work, in 2001 had found a tranquil harbor finally, got married with Kelly.

On June 1, 1926 the Marilyn Monroe augherty married, but after soon, because of war, in her 20 years old time finished this section of marriages…

…”The Seven-Year Itch” and so on, establishes her silver screen sexy goddess the image.

…she not only leapt into the first-class star, and has become the Hollywood greatest myth.

…this made her to become famous overnight in Hollywood, and has opened gate of the American for her.

…Her performance plain is rich in the fervor.

….Hepburn last time faced the camera, was “Always” acts one in Steven Spielberg Director to wear the white long gown’s delicate angel.

Unfortunately this picture is blurred. Spielberg’s bio opens:

Steven Spielberg (Steven Alan Spielberg) was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jewish descent.

Because that information, friends, is what you really needed to know. Ohhhhhh goodness.


At last

“ Every spring is the only spring—a perpetual astonishment.”

Ellis Peters

Finally! It’s spring in Asia, and we are grateful. These pictures, mostly, are straight off of Instagram (my new favorite–you should all get it!).

A morning in the old town.

Tulips, my favorite flower, on campus.

Just around and about in the rain and mud. 🙂

Sweet little girl (who looks like she is possibly picking her nose?? missed that!) and her balloons.

Decorating Easter-ish sugar cookies with friends.


Swallowed Up in Victory

Not too many thoughts, deep or otherwise, this Monday afternoon.

Just a few photos of our Sunday.

Michael and me, outside glamming it up for photos post-brunch.

And while our pupster couldn’t make it down for the photo shoot, we took some pictures upstairs with him on our porch before we headed out. (This photo is really awkward, though… ooops?) Anyone have any thoughts on Albus’s new do? I think it makes him look like a deep South youth group leader. Or a professor at Oxford, which sounds more sophisticated.

I didn’t take many photos at all, but am really grateful for these two friends who came in for Easter. They have been helping me stay (sort of) sane this semester. So thankful for them!

And here’s most of the people we celebrated with. Good looking group if I do say so! (But maybe I can’t really tell what’s “good-looking” anymore and am just blinded because we were all so dressed up? A rare sight, let me tell you.) This is stolen off of Facebook, btw, because I was too lazy to ask someone to use my camera for the shot.

Hope that your Easter was lovely, restful, and most of all, joyous.

P.S. It was fun, but we (por supuesto) missed our families. And these guys, Qingers not least among them. Love to all!


Desperation

Do you have moments when you feel like this?

Wide-eyed with desperation, bearing an aching gut and hoping for what you know almost certainly can’t be real, the faint belief that this nightmare is indeed just a nightmare. That “joy comes in the morning,” that the streaming purple and gold light on the horizon really do tell of hope and truth and life, glorious, radiant, unbelievable life.

I recently came across this painting, Eugene Burnand’s “The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection,” for the first time–on my Pinterest, where else?–and this painting has been lodged in my mind ever since. Perhaps it’s Peter’s eyes, wild and scared. Or John’s clasped hands and anxious, leaning body as he hurries to the tomb. All I know is that I so often feel the same way: terrified and uncertain and just barely beginning to hope, a little bit way deep down, that the hope I cling to is real.

I feel this way every year, I think, with the slow and temperamental wearing-out of winter as I ache for spring, for warmth and beauty. I am thankful, this year as every year, for the rhythms of the church calendar which remind me anew each season of the oldest and best story there is. The story spelled out so beautifully in this art: that because of Him, death leads to life and our rancid hurts can bloom beautiful with life. That our deepest fears, even the fears which are real, are not the deepest and most real thing.

The most real thing, that which is stronger even than death, is life which flows from and through the Son.

He is risen!

He is risen indeed.